Monday, February 8, 2010

Will Americans Really Learn Chinese?

Will Americans Really Learn Chinese? NYTimes "Room for Debare"
Is the boom in Mandarin classes a fad or a cultural turning point?

"The Times recently reported on the rise of Chinese-language instruction in American schools, a push supported by aid from the Chinese government. While language fads come and go — there was Russian during the cold war, then Japanese in the 1980’s, then Arabic after 9/11 — thousands of public schools have stopped teaching foreign languages in the last decade. Is the boom in Chinese language education going to last?

There’s a long tradition of bemoaning Americans’ inadequacy in foreign languages. But what specifically should the nation do to improve its citizens’ knowledge of other languages? What are the impediments?"

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