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Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
10-17-2009, 05:40 PM,
#1
Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister

http://www.thelocal.se/22714/20091017/

[Image: 22714.jpg]

A review of language learning in schools is required to meet the demands of the global market climate says Sweden’s education minister Jan Björklund who is advocating Chinese lessons for college students.

* Sweden set for stricter teacher credentials (24 Sep 09)
* Government reported for English email use (29 Jul 09)
* Swedish becomes official 'main language' (1 Jul 09)

Liberal Party leader Björklund adds that children in Sweden should start learning English at a earlier age, in the first grade rather than the third or fourth grade as it is today.

Speaking to Sveriges Radio news, he proposes a language learning reform to be introduced in the next election period and points towards bringing Chinese into the classroom.

“Economic relations with this huge country are going to become more and more important,” he said. “I think it would be advantageous if we have a number of young people who learned Chinese.”

A lack of Chinese teachers means it could take up to 15 years before the language is as widespread as French, German and Spanish in the education system.

The proposal has yet to be approved by parties in the coalition government but Björklund does not foresee any opposition on the matter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se/08 656 6518)

Quote:Your comments about this article:
#1
11:06 October 17, 2009 by Ayesha07
Excellent idea to take up Chinesee in the schools. I think that English should be introduced in the Kindergartens (swedish Dagis)more "for fun", not proper teaching with books. By listening to english songs, loud reading of english kids books, watching video with some english kids program. Learning few daily sentences and small words and counting. I feel that kids as they are young, don´t think

in terms "learning", but the languages just enter in their minds in a natural way. I feel that the more languages you know, the better it is both ín your working life as for private traveling. You get more out of your traveling if you can communicate with the people in their own language. Myself love languages and have picked up some 10 languages up to now. Still wish to learn Chinese and Japanese. And to learn more Arabic. And why not refresh my Turkish and more than my now 80 words of Thai.
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#2
11:32 October 17, 2009 by kerry777
A lack of chinese teachers is not a problem if the government really want to support this proposal.China is developing fast if you can not catch their steps as soon as possible, sweden will be behide other EU countries. In china, there are hundred thousands graduated students whose major are teaching Chinese laguage to foriegner. The easyest way is bring some of them to come just like South Korea and Singapore.
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#3
11:59 October 17, 2009 by staffan
Very good initiative! But, let's hope teachers are not sent by Chinese gov't...
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#4
12:48 October 17, 2009 by barryberry
As a Chinese in Hong Kong, I'm glad to hear Swedish government is trying to introduce Chinese to schools in Sweden. China and Europe have many finanical and economic cooperation and therefore more and more people in Europe want to learn Chinese.

I'm a native speaker of Cantonese, which is an important dialect in Southern China. I hope Swedish government will not only promote Mandarin, but also Cantonese in Sweden. It would be great if Swedish government introduced both Mandarin and Cantonese. I've been learning Swedish for a year. I hope to have an exchange programme to Sweden!
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#5
14:44 October 17, 2009 by Gwrhyr
I spent time living in Taiwan where I learned Chinese. It's a fun language to learn, but then again I was in Taiwan, not China, where the political situation is different, and most people will probably be making their contacts in China.

I agree with Staffan, it wouldn't be the best situation for Sweden to open up so-called "Confucius Institutes" to promote Chinese culture from the view of the mainland Chinese government, a government that spent 60 years trying to wipe-out Chinese culture, and only now tries to use Chinese culture to sell its political message abroad.

And Barryberry, I think Cantonese is a wonderful dialect as well, but I don't think Cantonese will be promoted anywhere these days. Beijing is trying to promote Mandarin in the Cantonese-speaking regions, not the other way around, so I think their goal is to eliminate Cantonese altogether, sadly.
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#6
17:43 October 17, 2009 by Kaethar
Yeah, that would be cool. I would have chosen to study Mandarin as a third language in school instead of Spanish, French or German. They should have a choice for Arabic too, if the demand is high enough, so all the world's/Europe's main languages are covered. That gives students more possibilities.:)
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05-09-2010, 12:50 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-09-2010, 12:54 PM by AlexLibman.)
#2
RE: Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
As someone who's actually studied Chinese, let me tell you - it's one of the worst languages you can waste your time trying to learn!

First of all, you must understand that there isn't one "Chinese language" - learning the official dialect (which is also the easiest) will be of very limited use in the most economically prosperous Chinese-speaking cities: Hong Kong, Shanghai, and even Singapore. Reading simplified characters will also also leave you quite short of literacy in Hong Kong and Taipei.

The pronunciation and tones are so difficult that unless you commit yourself to several years of daily practice there's no way any Chinese speaker will be able to understand you, and it's a language you forget very quickly if you stop reviewing every single day. The writing system is horrendously inefficient, which is why the actual functional literacy of people in Chinese-speaking countries is quite low by Western standards. You could master all major Latin (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian) and Germanic languages with the same amount of time you take to learn and retain Chinese, and it will help with your English vocabulary too!

Most importantly of all - China's relative economic power will peak around 2030 but then begin to decline, just as its population will age and decline as well. Playing catch-up is easy while you have plenty of cheap labor, but that will only get you so far economically. The 21st century will end with 4-5 billion people in this world speaking English, and only about 0.8 billion speaking Mandarin (the more intelligent of whom will also speak English). Other languages that will surpass Mandarin will be Arabic (definitely) and Hindustani.

English will remain the greatest language, economically and culturally as well (until something like Lojban can gradually replace it someday, but that's looking way too far ahead). I haven't utilized my native Russian in ages - there's simply no reason to! If a Russian person doesn't speak English then he probably isn't worth talking to, and the same will soon apply to Chinese as well. Of the 5 greatest Russian-born authors of the 20th century, 3 wrote in English, and 1 wrote while in exile in New England!

The time your children will waste learning a foreign language is the time they don't spend learning math and science instead!

And it's very fitting that the language of the most economically free large countries in the world become its lingua franca, as has always been the case throughout history. Those are the countries that had the greatest contribution to the advancement of trade, science, telecommunications, and all of the other things that have made the modern world what it is!
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05-09-2010, 01:05 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-09-2010, 01:11 PM by ---.)
#3
RE: Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
Monoglottism isn't a predictor for lack of intelligence.
I agree that China will decline again.
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05-09-2010, 01:17 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-09-2010, 01:21 PM by AlexLibman.)
#4
RE: Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
You might be right - people born in English-speaking countries being the exception. Being able to afford the time and effort to learn a language other than English may correlate with intelligence, but it's not very beneficial economically, nor (IMHO) culturally. There are many other things you could study instead, which will enhance your knowledge of new subjects. Being able to say the same thing in many languages without using a smart-phone translator app (which will achieve near-perfect instant translation quality very soon) gains you relatively little.


EDIT: bah, I wrote the above thinking you said "monoglottism is a predictor for lack of intelligence" - my bad. Too much trolling, not enough sleep... Wink
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05-18-2010, 03:34 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-19-2010, 09:05 AM by jeanlerymc.)
#5
RE: Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
Swedish government had proposed a big idea to allow Chinese lessons in Sweden for further development of the country. The interaction between having different skills in languages may help to encourage people in all nations socially speaking. In fact, there was already a prediction that the future language will be Chinese, that's why many countries are now evaluating Chinese language in some schools, unfortunately.
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05-18-2010, 09:29 AM,
#6
RE: Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
why would a future language be chinese, there is no indication that would be the case. If anything english will become more dominant.
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05-18-2010, 12:46 PM,
#7
RE: Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
You've got it backwards, sir. After a while, China will no longer have to buy up all the American debt to continue selling cheap exports because they have a rapidly growing middle class.
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05-18-2010, 06:50 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-18-2010, 06:51 PM by kevlar.)
#8
RE: Chinese should be taught in schools: education minister
Well obvious english will not become more dominant in china, china are 1billion and india are 1 billion, everywhere is 5 billion. The only reason the most common primary language is chinese is due to the population figures. English is definitely the most popular second language and close behind on the primary language per capita. So in some ways english has a dominance. English is also a far superior language.

If anything it should be accepted as the primary global language, not chinese. they write backwards ffs Big Grin
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