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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Learning Chinese - Why Learn Chinese

An article from Scotland, Language teaching 'lets down Scotland mentions a major reason on why to learn Chinese is economic reasons, which got me to thinking so I updated my list.

10 Reasons to Learn Chinese

1. China is emerging from a period of stagnation and again taking it's place as one of the great powers of the world. China currently has the second largest economy in the world. To take advantage of this huge economic shift and opportunities, learning to speak Chinese is a great way to give your children an advantage in the increasingly competitive business world. Not everyone in the world speaks English.

2. China has become the factory of the world and is moving up the technology food chain. Look at the balance of trade between the US and China. Per Nobel Prize Winner Robert Mundell China will become the factory of the world, in my opinion it already has. Now products are built, as well as designed in China.

3. Chinese culture is over 5000 years old. By learning the Chinese Language, Chinese you will learn another culture. Learning a language gives you a better understanding through the grammar and even how the words are derived of the culture behind them. There is a lot of Chinese Poetry that lose some meaning when translated.

4. China is a huge export market for the US. 1/5th of the world's population lives in China. Overseas Chinese dominate the economies of many countries in Asia, and speaking Mandarin gives you an edge in doing business with them. Countries with large overseas Chinese populations include Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. China has become one of the largest trading partners with the US. Over 16,000 US companies sell products in China. Trade is not only from China to the US, but also the other way. $41.8 Billion in 2006.

5. The world is becoming a global economy. Per a famous book, the world is becoming flat so communication, ideas, and goods are traveling faster and faster between countries including the US and China. Learning Chinese gives you the opportunity to take advantage of this change. It's a great ice breaker when working with people from China if you can say a few words in Chinese. This helps especially when dealing with business people on the other side of the world via conference call.

6. Learning another language gives you another viewpoint. The word he uses, that is ll of meaning, is Kaleidoscope. It does seem to help mentally as you develop new areas of your brain. It also helps as people age. I once had a fun talk with a programmer explaining how learning a new computer language helped keep his mind fresh. It will also help you when ordering Chinese food.

7. Learning Chinese will give a student a competitive advantage. Chinese is the fastest growing Foreign Language being taught in US schools. I like Mayor Daly's quote: "We want to give our young people opportunities to advance ... and [Chinese] is a great opportunity to survive in today's economy."

8. Mandarin Chinese is the most taught foreign language after English in Japan. If the Japanese are learning it, shouldn't people in the US? Mandarin Chinese is the most used language on the Internet.

9. Chinese has become very useful in government. The Austrian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.. The US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner studied Chinese and attended Beijing University. The former Utah Governor, now Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman is fluent in Chinese (he learned it as a missionary in Taiwan and has an adopted child from China).

10. Family Reasons - If you have relatives who don't speak English, but only Chinese, it's so great to be able to speak with them in Chinese. I can't tell you how proud my wife is that my daughter got selected to be the announcer this year for her Chinese Choir!

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