Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Chinese-mandarin will change the status of English as a global language?

In just five years, the number of non-Chinese people learning Mandarin Chinese has soared to 30 million. What is fuelling this expansion, and will it change the status of English as a global language?

Shanghai-born lawyer Kylan Xu Lucas organises lessons in Mandarin, the main Chinese language, for pupils in London - and she is very busy.

She now co-ordinates lessons for 12 London schools. She believes that in most cases, having their children study the language is a career calculation made by the parents.

"Parents nowadays think that in 10-20 years' time, when their children are in adulthood, China will be even bigger - and so learning Chinese will be a very helpful tool," she told BBC World Service's Analysis programme.

"This will be a very useful, important language to learn."


In London, the parents of most of the non-Chinese students studying Mandarin Chinese are from the finance industry.

Ms Lucas said that in this industry, China is "a big thing."

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