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11/14/2005

mandarin as second language

some chinese singaporeans find this language very difficult to study. and some parents and their children suffered because of this and led to them migrating overseas. there are many reasons why the learning of this language is difficult to some and easy to others. i will just discuss on the economic usefulness of this language. in european countries, the goal is to acquire at least two or three languages for economic reasons. english, french, spanish or even mandarin. they called the language chinese language. for those who have an interest in a language, like a hobby, or for selfish economic interest, the learning of another language becomes that much easier. yes, learning chinese can also be easy for those who want to learn it. there are a few hundred thousand south koreans enrolled full time in chinese schools in china, in primary and secondary schools, just to be proficient in a language which they find it economically useful in the future. learning chinese, a foreign language is definitely not an emotinal choice but a practical one. in singapore, and strangely among some of the chinese, learning mandarin/chinese language, is also an emotional and painful one. the singapore chinese find it so difficult and tortuous, and not useful to learn the chinese language. some are contented and would like to stick to just knowing their dialects, which they deemed as good enough. and mandarin is a foreign language. the other races too did not want to learn chinese, could not see any need for it now or in the future, except for a very small minority. despite the strong encouragement from the govt and many years of govt policy to promote the study of the language, in a way, the study of the language is deemphasised to minimise the trauma of the children and their parents, and at a time when the economic advantage for those who wish to engage in china is getting more real. for the time being, learning mandarin is not attractive to some singapore chinese and to the other races, some for personal and emotional reasons. will there be a revival of interest to learn the language? though some statistics from the ministry of education have shown an increase among the chinese to take higher chinese, there is still no great influx of students for this subject. the reasons for learning a language are many, economic, personal, emotional, ethnic etc. whatever, it is a personal choice and decision to make. some will make a conscious decision based on their own assumptions and the value of the language. some will not think about it and let things happened. some will take a bet, some will hedge, some will just watch and would not play.

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