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Will Westerners Be Forced to Learn Chinese?


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If the population growth in China keeps pace and enough immigrate to the Western world, will people need to learn Mandarin or other Chinese dialects? For example, will Mandarin ever be a third language like Spanish is in some states?

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Somehow I don't think that that will happen. Perhaps it might take over in the business sector where it will be an advantage to know Manadarin, but I can't really see it taking over on a every day basis or being taught in school as a second language. But then, who knows, perhaps in the near future it might be compulsory for aspiring company employees to speak Chinese if they want a job.

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I don't think that will actually happen because Chinese is way too hard to learn easily, Spanish is a reasonably easy language to pick up. It's not like Chinese is 100% needed unless you want a job in China, and they have enough of their own people to do that.

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I could definitely see that happening, I mean, over here I see more and more Chinese immigrants!  When I was in the Netherlands I also saw a lot Chinese immigrants, they are everywhere! So I believe soon most people will have to know at least a few basic words in mandarin Chinese! Because at this speed, I really think a good part of our population will be speaking Chinese!

I don't have any plans to start learning Chinese anytime soon tho ( I still have to learn Dutch!).  But if the time comes... well, there are school over here that are already teaching Chinese :P

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I do not believe that Chinese will become a globalized language.

China, although it has the economic capabilities, does not have enough social nor cultural influence in Western society.  English became globalized because the US and GB together were able to exert a huge amount of influence throughout many countries, even in Asia. 

I can see it happening in Asia though (which it has already happened in, as classical chinese was the lingua franca of the Far East), as many Asian societies have been heavily influenced by Western traditions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've noticed this kind confidence/arrogance with English speakers abroad that really, they should be able to find English services everywhere. I do not find that kind of expectation with Chinese speakers. The way people view languages is not necessarily based on sheer population. English has prestige, and is perceived as an international language. Even if China grows even more economically succesful, who's to say that that will lead to them demanding everyone speak their language? The Dutch, when economically succesful, didn't do that. The Sumerians didn't either. China has already invested so much capital in language learning institutions that I wonder at how easy it would be to counter that kind of intertia.

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I don't think we will be forced to learn Chinese like in some countries some have to learn Spanish because there isn't a massive immigration from the Chinese that make such big communities, but surely can be of our interest to learn Chinese to take advantage of some business opportunities.

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