Chinese language is one of the fastest growing language around the world
Chinese language studies between 2002 and 2006 have spiked 51% and increasing as a popular second language for foreigners to learn according to the Modern Language Association. There is already a growing number of elementary and middle schools across the globe that are incorporating the Chinese language into their curriculum. In 2010 alone, around 750,000 people took the HSK test, the official Chinese proficiency test. For the benefit of understanding the Chinese culture better and help business opportunities in the long run.
China is the second largest economy in the world with strong ties with U.S., EU and other powerhouses that makes it important business men and women who seek opportunities in East Asia.
“Chinese isn’t the new French; it’s the new English” according to Robert Davis, director of the Chinese-language program in Chicago’s public-school system, which has 8,000 students studying Mandarin. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, says early figures suggest the number of students now studying Chinese is somewhere around 30,000 to 50,000.
Although there is a prejudice around the Chinese language being a difficult language which deters foreigners from trying to learn actually some students have said Chinese has a relatively uncomplicated grammar. Unlike French, German or English, Chinese has no verb conjugation and no noun declension; therefore once you build your base level of vocabulary, you can excel faster than other languages in comparison.
Are the Chinese learning foreign languages too?
Beijing Foreign Studies University, also known as Beiwai, offers 84 language majors which aim at teaching all the official languages of countries that China has diplomatic relations too.
In 2013, China announced a major economic development initiative, called the “One Belt One Road Initiative” a global trade network to connect Europe and Africa to Asia along five trade routes. China is investing in so many languages because along these routes live 63 percent of the global population, according to Chinese and many of them don’t speak western colonial languages. Even if those countries speak western colonial language such as English or French, the Chinese government is not using it to communicate. According to Sun Xiaomeng, the current dean of the School of Asian and African Studies at Beiwai, says using colonial languages “perpetuates hegemony” in a profile from the Beijing Review. When diplomats, business people, and aid workers who speak local languages are more engaged, in the long run – “help Africans preserve their heritage and retain their cultural values. In 2016, there were at least 500 Confucius Institutes around the world, which 46 of them were in Africa.
So if you ever decide to do business in China, they may know a bit of your language and culture, already.