Author: Caged

Why is English compulsory in China's public schools? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2015-5-26 17:46:09 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2015-5-26 12:36
I agree. That is why I think people are deluding themselves when they say they will enroll in so ...

This is just another reason to give more language choices. If English is compulsory, but the students would rather learn Russian, the school has no legal choice in the matter but to choose English, so the students will naturally study English to the test just to get it over with so that they can then move on to learning the language they really want to learn, whether because their parents do business with Russia, they have a Russian family member, or other reason.

As for French in English Canada, I'm a French Canadian myself but I can also look at the situation objectively. Second language learning is dismal on both sides of the language divide in Canada (and especially on the English side, which certainly does not motivate others to learn the language of a community that takes such pride in its unilingualism and just expects the world to learn its language because God forbid they should have to stoop so low as to demean themselves by having to learn any language but the Queen's English), and both sides seem to have developed a certain arrogance in wanting to impose their respective languages on everyone else.

I'd studied some Ojibwe, and remember the teacher teaching us traditional Ojibwe prayers, which was quite enjoyable. English language teaching on the other hand seems to separate the language from the culture in an attempt to present English as universal and ethnically neutral, stripped of all cultural particularities, making it quite a soulless language in the process, which might also explain the lack of inspiration in learning English. I'd found Esperanto to be like Ojibwe too, where the community is quite happy to express the cultural particularities of its language community. Another similarity was a certain openness in both the Ojibwe and Esperanto-speaking communities, even an expectation of bilingualism as a norm and a sign of respect for linguistic diversity, which I'd found to be quite refreshing when contrasted with both the French and especially English attitude of entitlement to unilingualism and an expectation that the government and others serve them in their languages, an arrogance I could not detect in the other cultures, or at least not nearly as much. For instance, a Quebec couple tried to sue Air Canada for not serving them a 7-Up in French . This attitude would be unimaginable among the Deaf, Ojibwe or Esperanto cultures.

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Post time 2015-5-26 17:47:39 |Display all floors
The English in Quebec often expect to be served on a silver platter too, which again is an attitude we do not find in these other linguistic cultures.

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Post time 2015-5-26 17:52:24 |Display all floors
fatdragon Post time: 2015-5-26 17:32
The English language is the world's language of choice for communication in business and politics. T ...

I agree that making Chinese the compulsory second language to fulfil high school graduation requirements would be ridiculous. Eurooean countries are generally freer than China and that is reflected in their second-language instruction policies. I think in this case China should follow their example and not the other way around. Let the language market decide in a free economy rather than have it imposed from on high as is done in China.

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Post time 2015-5-26 18:17:46 |Display all floors
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Post time 2015-5-26 18:25:40 |Display all floors
I think you might be confusing relative vs. absolute ease of learning. An English speaker might find German easier than Chinese due to its proximity to English. That is relative ease of learning.


A Swahili speaker would find spoken Chinese with pinyin easier than English due to its more rational grammar (few exceptions to the rules, more freely combinable elements, etc.). Even a Russian might. That is absolute ease of learning. A Chinese friend of mine had found Esperanto to be multiple times easier than Japanrse. Though he knew the meaning of the kanji, he still had to learn traditional characters and their Japanese pronunciation separately. He had to learn when to use katakana, hiragana, and kanji. He had to learn male and female synonyms, exceptions to the rules, etc. Esperanto, though far different than Japanese for a Chinese speaker, more than compensated for the relative ease of learning of Japanese for a Chinese speaker through its significant absolute ease of learning.

Of course a European will learn Esperanto more quickly than a non-Euopean will, but a non-European might still learn Esperanto faster than another non-European language. Esperanto is far than perfect,  but it's also easier to pick at its flaws than to propose an easier alternative.

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Post time 2015-5-26 18:32:32 |Display all floors
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Post time 2015-5-26 18:39:05 |Display all floors
Also, if you ask any linguist, he will tell you that all languages are artificial by definition. I think you're trying to contrast planned vs. ad hoc languages, yet even that sits along a spectrum. English is relatively ad hoc, yet the Royal Academy of Sciences consciously and systematically developed its scientific vocabulary in the 1700's and linguists at Oxford had begun to systematize it's spelling starting around the same time period. Inversely, though Esperanto is relatively quite planned, some new roots have entered the language in a somewhat more ad hoc fashion over the years, with the rules of grammar merely rationalizing it according to Esperanto's rules of grammar. So all languages are artificial, and most if not all contain some element of planning, and most if not all contain some ad hoc element.

Sign languages are mostly ad hoc, having been developed by the deaf communities themselves over the course of history and are quite independent of spoken languages. For instance, for historical reasons ASL is more similar to French Sign Language than British Sign Language. Add to that that many deaf speak a sign language as a mother tongue and sometimes their only language into adulthood (statistically, illiteracy is much more common among the deaf even in developed countries). Inuit Sign Language is also quite common even zmong hearing Inuit due to high rates of congenital deafness among the Inuit.

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