From the Readers

Why Americans don’t learn Chinese?

Updated: 2011-07-01 15:02


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Comment on “Learning more than just the language” (China Daily, June 24)

Many people automatically assume that Americans are to blame for not learning Chinese and imply that Chinese is too difficult for Americans to learn. However, this ignores the true issue. The reality is that there is no place in America where you can speak Chinese regularly, even if you were serious to learn it. It is almost never used in any mainstream media and even on TV is it completely nonexistent. Therefore, to practice or hear it every day is impossible.

To not learn Chinese does not mean that Americans feel they are too good or sophisticated, it’s just that the opportunity to learn was not offered in schools. This was of course mainly because China was not as open (socially or in business) as it is today. If you look at the school system in the US today, it has started to offer classes for children to learn Chinese, but for 20 or more years other languages have always been offered instead, such as Spanish, Japanese and German. It has only been in the last 15 to 20 years that China has become a more open society for business so of course now there is more of a reason to include the language in school curriculums.

To solve this problem, children should be encouraged to learn Chinese at school. Children of course find it easier to learn other languages, and if they can start at an earlier age, they will be more successful.

common sense, via China Daily website.

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