Monday, September 18, 2006

China on an English Learning Spree

As reported by Global Broadcast News, Sept. 18, 2006

Beijing -- The Queen's language has now reached its final frontier more and more Chinese are learning to negotiate the intricacies of A B C D.

China is learning the language of the world - English. And all this is being done in the preparation of the 2008 Olympics."I am crazy about Olympics," says Wang Lee, a shopkeeper.

Lee, who is learning English in her spare time, is echoing the sentiments of her country that's embracing the world like never before.

Hundreds of schools teaching English have mushroomed across China and classes are being held everywhere for everyone.

There are many others like Lee -= cab drivers bus conductors’, waiters, all of who want to welcome you to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics and say their welcomes in English.

"I love Beijing because it's the host city for 2008 Olympics," Lee says.

But as 2008 approaches it's a race against time.

With the Government giving top priority to learning and teaching the language, English teachers and interpreters are in great demand.

"From school to university they teach us English," a young girl says. The issue is not about numbers but the quality of spoken English.

In China one can get his Big Mac burger. But the man selling it is likely to get lost in translation because even with the necessary qualifications on paper many just cannot string a sentence together.

But the country realises this deficit and that's why from transcripts, to books to IPODs it's all about learning English.

So from Mandarin, to Cantonese, to various dialects of Chinese and these days increasingly some badly spoken English, the multi-lingual nation is adding another dimension to itself.

Don't be surprised if you hear your cabbie say Hi instead of Ni Hao, the next time you are in China.