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About the Chinese Language

Research shows that Chinese is the most in-demand 2nd language in many countries. Here are some of the global and national findings:

  • CBS News, May 9, 2007
    Japanese was once the language most Americans thought their children should learn. But then Japan's economy faded, while China's economy keeps rising fast and the Chinese government believes that 100 million foreigners will soon be speaking their language ... including those in America's classrooms.
  • "It's a new language, and all the languages are kinda hard at first. But when you get used to it -- this is my second year at Chinese -- it's fun," said Chinese language student Craig Jones.

  • Science Daily, Northwestern University, March 13, 2007
    A newly published study by Northwestern University researchers suggests that Mom was right when she insisted that you continue music lessons. The findings indicate that experience with music at a young age in effect can "fine-tune" the brain's auditory system. This finding has broad implications because it applies to sound encoding skills involved not only in music but also in language.
  • "Increasing music experience appears to benefit all children -- whether musically exceptional or not -- in a wide range of learning activities," says Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory and senior author of the study. In tone languages, a single word can differ in meaning depending on pitch patterns called "tones." For example, the Mandarin word "mi" delivered in a level tone means "to squint," in a rising tone means "to bewilder," and in a dipping (falling then rising) tone means "rice." English, on the other hand, only uses pitch to reflect intonation (as when rising pitch is used in questions).

  • New York Magazine on March 12, 2007
    Milena Savova, Director of NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies, cited a 300% growth with the newly booming Mandarin (Chinese) language course in 2006.
  • BBC on January 9, 2007
    In London, the parents of most of the non-Chinese students studying Mandarin Chinese are from the financial industry because they want their children to be more versatile in terms of job prospects in the future.
  • BBC on January 9, 2007
    The belief is that China is not just a new rival, but a new provider, not just a UK phenomenon, but in the U.S. too, numbers of teenagers taking Chinese have rocketed. In 1998, just 6,000 students enrolled in Mandarin programs. That figure is now 50,000. "Students want to sign up for it; parents are asking for it; communities are asking for it," said Brett Lovejoy of the the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. In the UK, the number of students at colleges and universities taking Chinese as their main subject doubled between 2002 and 2005. Similar increases are reported in most Western nations.
  • The New York Times on September 30, 2006
    In affluent suburban areas from New York to San Diego, children are studying second and even third languages at ages when they are still learning English because parents want to prepare their children for a global future and give them a competitive advantage for jobs as adults.
  • Time Asia on June 19, 2006 -- Get Ahead, Learn Mandarin
    While English may be the only truly international language, millions of tongues are wagging over what is rapidly becoming the world's other lingua franca: Mandarin. Seen as a key skill for people hitching their futures to China's economic rise, Mandarin is becoming common currency, particularly in Asia where trade ties with the Middle Kingdom are supplanting those of the region's longtime primary partner, the U.S. Just as knowing English proved a key to getting ahead in the 20th century, learning Chinese will provide an edge in the 21st. Now, students who can put "fluent in Mandarin" on their resumes are seeing the payoff. In January, U.S. President George W. Bush announced plans to spend $114 million next year to boost the number of instructors and augment educational programs for "critical need" languages including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi and Farsi.
  • The New York Times on January 11, 2006
    Today, about 90,000 foreign students come to China every year to study the language, with 30 million more people around the world studying Chinese.
  • Chicago Tribune on September 27, 2005
    Chinese has become the new "it" language among students.
  • Science News on April 30, 2005
    Learning Chinese characters help develop the right brain regions involved in vision, and the right brain regions is not used when ready English. Learning to read Chinese stimulates spatial perception.
  • Science News on April 30, 2005
    According to the findings of researcher Andreas Demetriou of the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, children who read Chinese characters score better on IQ tests by an average of 5 points due in large to the fact that their picture symbol a much more powerful learning stimulus than that provided by an alphabet based language. According to Demetriou, "Our findings support the assumption that reading and writing systems are powerful methods influencing the development of mental abilities, and perhaps brain growth, in individuals and cultures.
  • Newsweek on May 9, 2005
    In Chicago public schools, enrollment in Chinese classes has skyrocketed from 500 students in 1999 to nearly 3,500 students this year, and most of these students are Caucasian, African-American or Hispanic. In the Santa Clara County, California, district enrollment has quadrupled during the same period. In 2007, when the College Board debuts advanced-placement language exams in Chinese and Italian, 2,400 high schools plan to offer AP Chinese, 10 times the number that plan to offer AP Italian.
  • San Francisco Magazine on February 1, 2005
    Chinese is experiencing a mini vogue among global-minded parents. Around the Bay, among some forward-thinking professionals, Mandarin is edging out ballet and French lessons as a preferred extracurricular for children. Parents cite several reasons for their interest in Mandarin. It is spoken by more people than any other language and is the Chinese business world's dialect. Studies show a correlation between learning the language and development of the brain's math and music centers. But it is China's growing economic power that prompts many to sign up for classes.
  • The Guardian Britain on November 18, 2004
    Scientists have discovered an unusual tip for parents who want their little darlings to grow up to be musical geniuses--teach them Mandarin Chinese.
  • New York Magazine on April 4, 2005
    To make their babies competitive in the global economy, parents are making them learn Chinese.
  • CNN on March 1, 2004
    Provide your child with a head start and competitive advantage in their future with an early introduction to Mandarin Chinese, the new "Must Learn" language.
  • Time Magazine and Today's Parent
    Studies have shown that the younger, the better for learning a foreign language. The ability to learn a 2nd language is highest between birth and age of 6.
  • University of Washington on February 17, 2003
    Brief exposure to Mandarin can help American infants learn Chinese. University of Washington neuroscientist Patricia Kuhl reported today that 9-month-old American infants who were exposed to Mandarin Chinese for less than 5 hours in a laboratory setting were able to distinguish phonetic elements of that language.


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