Infographic: The Importance Of Mandarin
The growth of Mandarin as a language of international note and importance has grown within the last decade mirroring the economic boom of China. As the second largest economy of the world and with one of the highest rates of growth, China is a major world player that will only continue to be more relevant and full of opportunity. China is projected to have the world’s largest economy by 2020 and as such will be an optimal choice for job expansion. Mandarin is even one of the official languages of the United Nations and is used as a language of trade and business.
Mandarin is one of the oldest continuously written languages in the world. While there are many spoken dialects and variations of the Chinese language, the written script is a unifying communication device. There are two main types: traditional and simplified. Simplified Mandarin is used mostly in Mainland China while traditional script is used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. Mandarin is also the most widely spoken language at an impressive 848,000,000 first language speakers, not even including the variety of dialects.
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With the growing demand for Mandarin language instruction, the Confucius Institutes developed as a network of institutions to help foster Chinese throughout the world. The Chinese Ministry of Education is loosely affiliated with these organizations and they partner to train Chinese language instructors. Begun in 2004, this organization has expanded to over 300 centers across the globe by 2013. By 2020, there should be 1,000 Confucius Institutes that will help to build up a thriving culture and community of Mandarin. In fact, currently there are more than 360 Confucius Institute classrooms that provide instruction to over 220,000 students.
Initiatives have also been launched in the UK to expand Chinese language instruction to provide individuals with the skills necessary to stand out in today’s competitive job market. The British Council has listed Mandarin as one of the top ten languages to know for the future based on economic dealings, trade, and the potential for further business growth, among other factors. Around 30 universities in Wales, Scotland, and England provide Mandarin language degrees.
Parents who are interested in providing their children with the potential for bilingual fluency may have the opportunity for their children to be enrolled in the Mandarin Chinese for Primary Schools, a five-year initiative that was funded by the HSBC Global Education Programme and promoted by the Institute of Education Confucius Institute for Schools. As of 2013, 5,600 students and teachers from 37 schools in England were able to experience a summer language program in China. A further 100 primary schools will be involved in further Mandarin language learning with an eventual five year goal of 120 primary schools. By 2019, the Confucius Institute hopes to increases the number of Mandarin instructors to 1,200. This plan is paired with a projected annual 4 to 8 percent growth in schools that offer Mandarin courses from 2014 onwards. With this continual growth and funding, opportunities for learning this complex language at a young age will continue to expand and develop throughout the next decade.
The “African Talents Program” was developed in 2012 with the express goal of educating 30,000 African individuals and young professionals in China. This program began running in 2013 and has continued through to 2015 with 18,000 participants awarded scholarships to study at Chinese universities. Numerous African universities that stem throughout the continent feature Chinese language programs and this trend will likely continue as a bond is further strengthened between these two regions.
No matter the industry nor the country of origin, numerous companies have developed strong footholds in China. These include contracts for factories, development, or individual ingredients, making China a ripe destination for those who are still caught in the recession recovery of the United States and other nations. Some famous company brands include Banana Republic, Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters, AT&T, Calrad Electric, Dannon Foods, and Haagen-Dazs, among many others. Individuals who are looking to start a career or change careers will find a rich field of opportunity to cultivate by first learning Mandarin through the numerous instructors, institutions, and courses at all levels.