Number learning Chinese soars
According to an article on the BBC, the number of people outside China learning Mandarin Chinese has soared to 30 million over the past five years. The report mentions that in London the majority of kids learning Mandarin have parents who work in finance industry – they perceive that a knowledge of Mandarin will be very useful for their offspring in the future.
In 1998, 6,000 students were studying Mandarin in the USA; there are now 50,000. The report goes on to claim that “It’s self-evident that children will be much better off economically and in job seeking if Chinese programmes are adopted.” I’m not convinced of this – knowledge of Chinese can be useful but isn’t necessarily sufficient to secure you a good job. Other skills and qualifications are needed as well.
The article speculates that Mandarin may replace English as the global language, and concludes that this probably won’t happen just yet, but could do within 100 years or so.
What do you think – could Mandarin take over from English as the most widely spoken language?