Myths About the Chinese Language

April 16, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Sophie Roell sat down with Chris Livaccari and discussed Chinese language and literature with him. Highlights include:

  • Students in the west who learn Chinese are misled about what it’s like to live in China. Dragons and the colour red are not as prominent as the textbooks suggest.
  • There are around 150,000 students in the United States learning Chinese, and the number is growing exponentially.
  • Students are learning Chinese because they believe it will improve their career prospects. A similar movement arose in the early 90s with students aggressively learning Japanese.
  • What we think of as Chinese – Mandarin – is actually an artificial construct that mashes together several different languages so that people from different regions in China could speak with one another. No one speaks true Mandarin as their native tongue.

To read more about why China faces challenges in becoming a global language, the Chinese author who wasn’t sure if he was a man dreaming that he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that he was a man, and who the Chinese equivalents of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are click here.

Source: The Browser

Via: Salon