Chinese May Replace English as the Universal Language

March 29, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. overtake (v.)-  to move ahead something
Example: With his incredible strength and speed, the athlete overtook the defending champion.

2. domination (n.) – state of becoming the most known or most important
Example: With its rising economy, China continues its domination in the world market.

3. strenuous (adj.) – requiring much effort; difficult
ExampleStrenuous training is needed to become a judo expert.

4. phase out (phrasal verb) – to slowly bring or to come to an end
Example: Some machines are soon phased out with the release of better models.

5. resist (v.) – to fight against accepting or doing something
Example: The people are resisting the cultural influence brought by the foreigners.

Read the text below.

Because of China’s rising economic power, many people believe Mandarin Chinese will one day overtake English as the world’s most spoken language. However, the popularity of English is not slowing down just yet.

In Singapore, English is already a national language. But the business potential in China has made companies start looking for more Mandarin speakers rather than English speakers. The government has also been giving some financial support to students who want to study Mandarin.

But Mandarin’s global domination may take time.  Even in China’s neighboring Southeast Asian countries, like Malaysia and Vietnam, many would still prefer to study English.

In Malaysia, around 15,000 children from southern Johor take two-hour bus rides to Singapore every day, to go to a school where subjects are taught in English.

The strenuous travel is worth it, mothers say, as they feel the value of English in Malaysia has declined. Since the British left Malaysia in 1957, local schools that teach English have been phased out.

Vietnam, on the other hand, resists promoting Chinese languages for emotional reasons. The country’s history involves 2000 years of fighting against China’s invaders. They are learning English instead for the sake of economic progress, though they have not forgotten the scars left by the Vietnam War against the US.

While many argue on which language will be more successful, Manoj Vohra, Asia director at the Economist Intelligence Unit, says both languages will likely be equally important in the future.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, will Mandarin Chinese dominate English in the future?
·         If you were to choose between these two languages, which will you study? Why?

Discussion B
·         Which do you think determines the dominant language: culture or economics?
·         What do you think makes English the universal language?


March 29, 2012