Chinese language increasing in popularity in Liberia, United States, elsewhere

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Three quick links to share:

Overall this is a positive trend, as the world has a need for another linguistic deadlock for the idea of a simple and neutral world language to break through again as was the case in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also, the quickest way for Chinese to become a player on the linguistic world stage is to become spoken as a second language in more countries surrounding China itself, as the language right now is far too strongly concentrated in a single country, and one that is still on some unreliable footing (terrible environmental conditions, strife in the Uyghur-populated northwest). Be learned by a majority of people in nearby countries such as Mongolia and Vietnam though, and the language itself would be able to diversify in a way it never has been able to do before.

Ironically, the size of the country is actually a downside for the language. If China had remained a collection of smaller states instead of the gargantuan country it is now, Mandarin (or another variant) might have become the lingua franca of an entire region instead of a single country, one with a variety of countries and governmental systems. Also, since the eastern part of the country is by far the richest part, a smaller China more focused along the east would have had a higher GDP per capita and wouldn't have to concern itself with keeping track of what goes on in Central Asia.

Back to the main links: this is a good thing, though I still caution governments against enacting any nationwide programs for the study of Chinese considering 1) its lack of relation to any other languages nearby, and 2) the length of time it takes to learn it. What is more important to countries is the learning of the language of one's neighbour, such as this example of Zambia and Portuguese, or this example of the importance of Portuguese to the Spanish region of Extremadura.

9 comments:

lyzazel said...

I guess one of the major problems is going to be its writing system.

Perhaps they could simplify it and make an International language. Or make a writing-system pidgin. Would be kind of interesting.

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

You know, there already is a variety of Chinese that uses an alphabet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungan_language

Matt said...

Chinese nationalism/pride would never stand for a national language that uses anything but Chinese characters (unfortunately).

Anonymous said...

Maybe for an auxlang that accepts a few hanzis ?
http://sambahsa.pbworks.com/Khanjis-in-Sambahsa

Olivier

Brian Barker said...

A recent CNN television broadcast gave the impression that Esperanto aims to be a single global language. The comparison was with a global reserve currency, instead of the US dollar.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpC8mPk4QBM

May I put the record straight? Esperanto intends to be an auxiliary language, or a second language for all.

Please see http://www.lernu.net for confirmation.

Brian Barker said...

A recent CNN television broadcast gave the impression that Esperanto aims to be a single global language. The comparison was with a global reserve currency, instead of the US dollar.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpC8mPk4QBM

May I put the record straight? Esperanto intends to be an auxiliary language, or a second language for all.

Please see http://www.lernu.net for confirmation.

Matt said...

Chinese nationalism/pride would never stand for a national language that uses anything but Chinese characters (unfortunately).

lyzazel said...

I guess one of the major problems is going to be its writing system.

Perhaps they could simplify it and make an International language. Or make a writing-system pidgin. Would be kind of interesting.

Anonymous said...

Maybe for an auxlang that accepts a few hanzis ?
http://sambahsa.pbworks.com/Khanjis-in-Sambahsa

Olivier

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