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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Benefit of Learning

There are great benefit in learning. I read this before: learning is the greatest investment you ever made to yourself. But when it comes to Chinese, I heard some different stories. One of them is very convincing at first.

Quote: And don't you watch the news? According to CCTV, all foreigners want to learn Chinese. Well, you can't exactly believe what you see on CCTV. There are some people who wish to learn Chinese, but it's more for something to improve themselves rather than to help with their career or something. So, the people who want to learn Chinese are usually students. There are a lot of Russians up here in Harbin who want to learn Chinese to help them with their careers, and some Koreans and Japanese. But when you compare the number of Chinese people studying English to the number of foreigners studying Chinese, it's a miniscule percent. Usually western business men don't want to bother to learn Chinese. They figure Chinese should learn English to do business with them. And some people think that China will become the next economic powerhouse. Once the standard of living goes up in China and things start to become a little expensive, the foreign companies will pull out of China and find someone else who is cheaper to exploit, thus crushing the Chinese economy. Nope, I'm sorry to say this, but I doubt if there will ever be a large number of people who wish to learn Chinese. Mostly because the written language is too difficult and the tones make it an almost unpronounceable language.

So, if things really come true as my friend predicted, there will be vast number of people who will learn. Think if a Chinese person is the big boss of IBM, don't you think at least half of the company will learn his native language?

As the rate of Chinese company are buying foreign companies going, maybe in the next twenty years to forty years, speaking Chinese will be a ticket to get a job.

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