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Learning Mandarin Chinese Gives Students an Educational Edge on a Global Scale
- February 9, 2017
- Posted by: yorktown
- Category: Innovation in the Classroom
While learning a second language is an important endeavor in itself, there are enhanced educational and long-term opportunities to consider, too. Mandarin Chinese is fast becoming the most important second language throughout the world. Linguists refer to Mandarin Chinese as a tonal language and consider it one of the least complicated as tonal languages go, with four basic tones.
Learning new languages has many advantages such as fostering important relationships while simultaneously spurring domestic economic growth and preparing future leaders for careers in a globalized world. Breaking down language barriers strengthens ties with other cultures and other nations. Tonal language learning, in particular, is said to help neuro networking in younger kids. Overall, language learning is a vital resource in education and gives students a global competitive edge.
Currently Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over one billion people around the world, about one fifth of the global population. Each year more and more students around the world whose mother tongue is not Mandarin are studying it with enthusiasm and success. Educators are realizing the value of incorporating Mandarin Chinese into their curriculum. While some parents have questioned the connection to a Communist country, most feel the benefits outweigh the controversy.
With China’s presence as an influence on the world’s economy and ecology, Mandarin is quickly becoming the second language of choice. Besides being one of the world’s most common languages, Mandarin is quickly becoming the world’s most popular second language. Quality educators and schools have an obligation to provide its students the opportunity to learn and hopefully master Mandarin Chinese.
While China boasts more than 300 million English-language learners, there are only 200,000 Mandarin language learners here in the U.S. In China, English classes are mandatory for Chinese K-12 students, but less than 0.4 percent of American K-12 students are currently studying Mandarin.
Engaging students’ interest in language learning, especially Mandarin Chinese, is not a luxury but a necessity.
Among the world’s most musical, tonal languages, just one syllable in Mandarin Chinese spoken at different pitches can have seven or more different meanings. Most people don’t speak in a monotone. There’s usually some variation in pitch by emphasis on a word or phrase. Still, if someone speaks in a monotone in English, other English-speakers can easily understand. But in many languages, pitch is as important as consonants and vowels for distinguishing one word from another. It can be daunting to realize pitch can cause one word to have seven or eight different meanings. Students enjoy the musical inclinations of this language as well as the challenges. Yorktown Education teaches Mandarin Chinese to students ages 5 and up.