Less English, More Chinese for Gaokao College Entrance Exams

Chinese student at desk.

From Phoenix Online:

Beijing’s 2016 Gaokao College Entrance Examination: 100 points for English, 180 for Chinese

According to information from CCTV, the Beijing Educational Examinations Board has indicated that the point value of Chinese and will be increased and the point value for English decreased for the Gaokao College Entrance Examination, that the English test can be taken twice a year, and if you, for example, get 100 points in the first year of high school, then you can be exempted from English courses in the second and third years.

Beijing City Gaokao Reform — 2016 Beijing GaoKao: Point Value of the English Subject Reduced From 150 to 100 –The Beijing Municipal Education Committee revealed today the key points for the 2016 Gaokao reforms: 1. Chinese increased from 150 to 180 points; 2. English decreased from 150 to 100 points; 3. Arts and Sciences overall increased from 300 to 320 points; 4. Mathematics remains unchanged at 150 points. (CCTV reporter Zhang Weize)

Chinese student cram studying for the annual university entrance exam.

Below is a translation of the poll and results on Phoenix Online asking “What are your views on Beijing’s Gaokao reform?“. There were over 220k respondents at time of translation (screenshot).

1. Do you support Beijing’s 2016 gaokao reform plan?
  • Support. The emphasis on Chinese studies should be reflected in the proportion of points.
  • 82.82% 181,960 votes
  • Oppose. The trend towards internationalization requires possessing an education system with an international field of view, so English language education must not be relaxed.
  • 13.55% 29,7782 votes
  • Hard to say.
  • 3.63% 7,971 votes
    2. With the weighting of English decreased, will you have your children reduce or abandon learning English?
  • Yes. The gaokao is about comparing points, so energy should be distributed towards the subjects with more points.
  • 31.1% 66,846 votes
  • No. Learning English is for having another skill, not for points on the gaokao.
  • 63.77% 137,059 votes
  • Hard to say.
  • 5.13% 11,015 votes
    3. Do you support lowering the point value for English and increasing the point value for Chinese?
  • Support
  • 82.79% 152,400 votes
  • Oppose.
  • 13.17% 24,244 votes
  • Indifferent.
  • 4.03% 7,422 votes
    4. With regards to the subject of English, do you approve of the change from testing once to testing multiple times a year?
  • Approve.
  • 82.66% 151,825 votes
  • Disapprove.
  • 17.34% 31,860 votes
    5. Will the multiple testings of English per year increase the burden on exam takers?
  • Yes.
  • 35.62% 64,467 votes
  • No.
  • 64.38% 116,503 votes
    6. After this reform, will you continue to enroll your children in extracurricular tutoring?
  • Yes.
  • 47.11% 84,858 votes
  • No.
  • 52.89% 95,277 votes
    7. Do you think this gaokao reform will truly reduce the burden on students?
  • Yes.
  • 49.76% 90,870 votes
  • No.
  • 50.24% 91,763 votes

    Comments on Phoenix Online:

    凤凰网河北省网友:XIYANGYANGCHONG

    I think this kind of rigid decreasing the points of one subject and increasing the points of another subject is itself undesirable. Some people are naturally talented when it comes to languages, and the decrease in English will no doubt greatly affect them. Some people have no natural talent when it comes to literature or language, but are extremely talented in the sciences, and their weak subjects will undoubtedly split most of their energy/focus. Actually, since the beginning of history, those who are [considered] geniuses or who ultimately achieved great accomplishments, which one of them weren’t talented in a specific area? The blind pursuit of cultivating all-rounded talent ultimately results in the majority being mediocre. In all its years, China’s education system has rarely produced ground-breaking talent and “Chinese creativity/innovation” remains to this day a mere slogan. I think the form of the gaokao itself needs major changes, not just slight adjustments of the points.

    凤凰网福建省厦门市网友:basilea

    In addition: foreign languages themselves are tools for communication. Testing should be further divided into vocal interpretation and written translation.
    If more importance is attached to Chinese, please don’t go playing word games. Please take a look at our publications: how many are with depth and how many are worthy of collection?

    凤凰网安徽省合肥市网友:wjijun0551

    English education needs to be kept, so those who have long-term views and high ambitions are granted with learning opportunities at all times.
    The government’s thinking as it promotes vocational education is probably that the country needs more talent in high technology, but what it needs more at the moment are skilled workers of a certain level. The existence of English in the gaokao is throttling/blocking many people not good at English from moving forward [in their educations], and at present, the vast majority of people in China do not need or basically do not need to use English, so English has become an obstacle to the further education of students of the sciences.

    凤凰网山东省烟台市网友:一草根cao

    Parents spend large amounts of money just to have their children learn a language without much use, wasting large amounts of manpower and material resources, and wasting large amounts of children’s youths. The time spent learning English would be better spent letting them play more! No such emphasis is given to other foreign languages, but there’s never a lack of foreign language talent in our country, is there? English education just offers a money-making opportunity for certain social institutions and teachers. For everyone else, it’s really not of much use!

    凤凰网中国网友:男人四十1970

    Gaokao is an examination for basic subjects. How has mastering a foreign language (especially English) become a basic subject? Foreign languages can only be tested as technical skills in technical exams and obtained by technical training.

    凤凰网广东省东莞市网友:samtian

    This is a mistake. With gaokao reform, the more reforms, the worse it gets, never reforming the crux of the matter. The key point of gaokao reform lies in a thoroughly reforming the area of admissions. Everything else is bullshit.

    凤凰网四川省成都市网友 迷失的落日

    The shortcomings of Chinese education and the emphasis on foreign languages have no so-called causality. The shortcomings of Chinese education merely indicates a major failure of China’s education system. English education is of great importance. Some people say that after so many years of learning English, it is totally useless except when watching movies, but that simply shows you don’t use it well. Many translated documents inevitably carry the thoughts of the translators, and it is the original primary sources that best reflect the original thoughts. If you want to extend the width and depth of your knowledge, such reading ability is a must. In this respect, can you say English is useless?

    凤凰网广西南宁市网友:qianxunmeng

    Don’t waste some of our talented people just because of another country’s language.

    凤凰网广东省中山市网友:YALANDIANQI

    English in fact has no actual practical value for many people, because it’s never used except at work. Those who want to learn it can learn it, and if not, don’t. That would be better.

    凤凰网广东省广州市网友:总是要搜

    Promoting English is education for Chinese traitors!!!!

    凤凰网内蒙古兴安盟网友:科尔沁沙地的萤

    This should be carried out throughout the whole country. China’s education system is ultimately examination-oriented education. Beginning with elementary school, the students are extremely tired, the courses extremely difficult, and many of the things learned are simply useless in the future for their lives, work, and development. The English problems Chinese students have to learn can’t even be solved by British students, so sad.

    凤凰网北京市网友:实话实说456

    Having the entire county learn English is a strategic mistake, wasting valuable time that could be spent learning knowledge for students. In the USA and UK, science is highly developed, but English is not a science. If we want to learn their science and technology, we can use translations. There’s no need for each and everyone to learn English.

    凤凰网上海市网友:怦然心动后

    So funny. In a country where English has been a weakness, instead of thinking how to improve the teaching methods, so that the most widely used language in the world can be mastered by the general population, it instead think of this idea and gives it the pretty name of “reform”. Truly hilarious!

    凤凰网北京市网友:baicaibangzihao

    English can be reformed, but there’s no need to add more burden to the Chinese subject. No burdens alleviated after all!

    凤凰网湖南省娄底市网友:sftpzjh

    Without a scientific, systematic reform in the aspects of education and society, burden alleviation will just be the a beautiful lie for the umpteenth time. From the authorities responsible for the administration of education to Xinhua bookstores (state-owned bookstore) to the relevant interest groups, they obtain huge profits out of organizing exams, publishing reference books and assessment of academic titles. A reform of education must first of all touch upon the original interests that drive these interest groups.

    陕西省网友:逐鹿儿

    Let go of the conservative local protection policy [different tests for different areas], and have the entire country have a truly uniform/standardized national examination, with the same essay topics and the same admissions [criteria]! That’s the only right way to go!!!!

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    • Germandude

      And the best part of it: Not learning English will be beneficial because Chinese won’t be able to read foreign news sites that spread all those lies about China.

      And since China is not in need of doing international business, screw English and force Chinese studies on the rest of the world.

      Yeah, bright “Beijing Educational Examinations Board”.

      • xiaode

        You see.. Chinese do know sarcasm.. Hahaha…

        Btw: i think this one is the best: “Promoting English is education for Chinese traitors!!!!”

        • Germandude

          Well, you did get the sarcasm as well, didn’t you? (Rhetorical question here).

          That comment was great, I agree.

      • could it be that they are just trying to relax the English exam a little? they still have to take it on the first year but if they pass they no longer need to take it on 2nd and 3rd year. I think its not about blindfolding them but lessening the student’s stress. Its the same over here students have to keep taking English exam until they pass, but once they pass they no longer need to. Unless they want to take a class that requires exceptional use of English, like creative writing, then they have to retake to get a higher level and only then they will be able to enroll in that class. Its the same with the local language, Mandarin and Tamil.

        Another point that is possible is that, some students seems to perform bad in exam but the problem is not because they are dumb but because of the language, they are not good in English so they do not understand.

        I remember when I was still young the school conduct studies in our local language, but after a while the Education department decided to use English as medium of teaching and for exam. Many fail. When I reflect back, those questions were actually simple that i am sure if it was done in the local language, the results will not be bad. There was a dilemma about it, so they change it back to local language. Only when you want to enter University, you are required to be quite proficient in English.

        • Guang Xiang

          The problem seems to be the Gaokao being the major determining factor of which college you can get into. I agree that those who might not be inclined to learn a second language would feel cheated to have it weighed so heavily.

          In the other hand, it would be a shame if English proficiency for the average Chinese begins to deteriorate. IMO, one thing that the Chinese people have that other East Asians don’t, e.g. Japan, Taiwan, is better sounding English.

          • With the Chinese people I think it could be just the accent / pronounciation that gets in the way of people understanding them.(surprisingly people from Harbin that I talk to can speak with minimal accent almost as if they are a native speaker) Many mainlander I talk to have that accent that makes it difficult to understand them, and it may give them low self-esteem. But, when I see their writing, their English surpasses mine.

            Perhaps the difficulty is in the transition from the language with different phoneme / tone to another. Some Japanese and Korean also seem to have this problem.

            a study could be conducted… lets say…. does the communication form (characters / alphabet) mediate the relationship between learning another language (of different communication form) and proficiency in communication. Or change the mediator to pronounciation instead and see the relationship.

            Because East Asian uses characters and for Chinese especially there are different tones and pronounciation. To transfer the pronounciation / tones of characters into another form (alphabets) may prove difficult. Example, i find that many foreign students that learn my local language are unable to produce the ‘ng’ sound when it is located in the middle of a word (such as ‘jangan’)

          • Jack Yu

            >> IMO, one thing that the Chinese people have that other East Asians don’t, e.g. Japan, Taiwan, is better sounding English

            I have lived in China and Japan and visited Taiwan a few times and I can assure you that is not the case. The reason why everybody thinks their English sounds better than other people’s is because you don’t hear your own accent. In fact Chinese English spoken by someone with a comparable level sounds as shitty as anybody elses’s.

            In fact it could be much better than it is if it wasn’t taught as a language that you only read & write in many Chinese schools.

            • SonofSpermcube

              I’ve lived in Japan, China, and Korea. I am an American.

              Of the three, the Koreans, IMO, do best in pronunciation, the Japanese the worst; but the Chinese are still way better than most Japanese. Japanese people have a peculiar problem which only exists to a slight degree for Koreans and Chinese.

              Most Japanese people cannot think about pronunciation outside of the kana system. If it cannot be written in hiragana or katakana, and usually this means STANDARD hiragana or katakana, without any kludges for things like “v,” then most Japanese people cannot say it. At all.

              I knew THREE women in Japan who all spoke at least some English, and who all worked for import/export companies trading in wood. (And none of them worked together…it was a little weird.) None of them could actually SAY the word “wood.” It was always “oodo.” That’s the way it’s written in katakana. They have the W sound, but it doesn’t go with the long U (the closest vowel they have) in their writing system. There is no way to write it without introducing extra syllables.

              Then there was a TV station in Hokkaido, “STV.” On their station IDs, they pronounced it “ESSU TEE (sometimes CHEE) VOOEEE.” The way a V is hacked into katakana is to put a diacritic on the long U sound, and through ordinarily the subscripted long I sound would cancel out the vowel of the preceding character leaving just the consonant, I guess the announcer just wasn’t used to that character having a consonant at all.

              Hangeul, while it does still have the extra syllables problem to some extent, as some sounds cannot be placed on the end of a syllable and thus must get their own vowel, is much more flexible. Koreans are, even if they never transcend thinking about a foreign language through their native language, able to conceive of hundreds or thousands of possible syllables, compared to the hundred or so in Japanese. Chinese people are used to Pinyin, which is similarly flexible, more so even, though they are still somewhat limited by what combinations of sounds exist for hanzi, particularly for sounds occurring at the ends of syllables. They both still bring some baggage with them, but it’s nothing compared to what the Japanese have to deal with.

              Of course, once a Japanese person makes that leap, they can do as well as anyone else. It’s just harder for them.

              AND THAT IS WHY JAPANESE PEOPLE SPEAKING ENGLISH IS SO GODDAMN COMICAL.

      • Guest23

        To me, it’s the repetition exercises and the constant writing drills that bothers me with the English classes there, they have a thing against making a fool of yourself reciting a passage in front of the whole class or practicing with a partner and the result of mockery on your pronunciation and accent, lots of young students who either take English tutors, cram school or even go abroad to study, they need serious reforms on education or abolish the gaokao.

        • Germandude

          “they need serious reforms on the gaokao and education.”

          Yes, agreed. They should finally change the education system to a system that raises creativity, teaches the understanding of foreign countries and cultures, allows creativity and that allows critical thinking.

          Now we all know why that change is taking time. However, with the internet and the accessibility of information from all over the world available, this is slowly improving.

          I wouldn’t take those questionnaires results too serious, because I understand the results being focused on the connection to the gaokao. The question is not: “Do you think learning English is useful/useless?”.

          • Guest23

            The Gaokao has been pretty much a huge obstacle for the youth in China, it’s too much of a factory labelled production line on determining whether you’re good quality or crap going to the bottom.

            I’ve read samples of those questionnaires, the ones who made those must be having a fun time writing:

            1. China has four novels. Name them.
            2. ‘Western media coverage of China is biased’ Agree.
            3. Which Dynasty is the best dynasty?

            • David

              You know, for a country that has like 3000 years of testing history you would think they would be good at it by now. J/K sort of.

            • Guest23

              The Gaokao just replaced the long dead and exploited Imperial Examination during the Dynasty periods, they do little to combat the leaking of questions and the constant bribing to pass.

      • Dr Sun

        yes sort of right, but can I ask you something, how many students in your own country learn chinese in school,? after all why should you/they not be learning chinese to do business with the 2nd largest economy in the world ?

    • linette lee

      People who don’t want to learn other foreign languages or cultures will continue to live in ignorance.

      • ophiolater

        May I know if you have any connection with another girl on this site for long time? I guess you should know who she is.
        I need to know where she is.

        • linette lee

          Who? Why are you looking for her?

          • ophiolater

            Better i do not say her name here. The one always writes a lot nonsense make fun here.
            She is my wife, after argued then she left.

            • linette lee

              what??????? She ran away? I don’t know where she is. You lost your wife?

            • David

              Is it only me or does it seem strange to anybody else that a man is asking Linette where his wife is? Either he is trolling/joking/stalking and he should not be told or he is telling the truth and she ran away from him (in which case he should not be told even if I knew where E…umm the young lady is). Poor Linette, you always get the weird ones.

            • ophiolater

              So you know where she is?

            • markus peg

              She is in Wuxi with David as David and your wife have an adultery contract signed together.
              http://shanghaiist.com/2013/11/19/philandering_burecrats_adultery_con.php << contract

            • David

              They have contracts for that sort of thing now? Geez, suddenly I am feeling pretty old. lol

            • David

              lol 1) She does not even like talking to me. 2) I have no clue who she is in real life. 3) I did not know she was married. 4) She seems like a bit of loon to me but I still don’t like it when others make fun of her. 5) If I knew (which of course, I do not) I would not tell a man she ran away from. Don’t you think you are better off calling her family, instead of asking random people on the internet?

            • ophiolater

              I called, her father said no,he is nice to me all the time and i believe he does not lie.
              Because she spent quite some time here so i hope she knows someone here who can help me.
              Do not judge her by what she wrote, she likes to make fun all the time.It’s not serious.She is a cool wife and very smart and special.

            • David

              Well, glad to hear she is a cool smart wife. Good luck.

            • lonetrey / Dan

              What. o_o

          • Fibble_Squibble

            He’s talking about eattot.

            • Germandude

              Thanks for clarifying, Sherlock. hehe

      • harvz

        This is rich coming from you and your absolute hate rants you post about Koreans.

    • linette lee

      Look at American. They only know one language. If you speak another language in the public they call you rude even though you are just having a quiet conversation with your own friends and not them. They don’t want anyone speaking Spanish, Russian, Chinese..etc in the public. lol.

      If you speak only one language you are American. If you speak more than one language you are nobleman.

      • KamikaziPilot

        Oh god, Linette there you go again. First off I’ve never noticed people thinking someone was rude for speaking something other than English in public. Secondly, who cares if you only know one language, it doesn’t make you any better or worse than someone who knows multiple languages. Speaking more than one language doesn’t make you smarter or dumber. Also, native English speakers have less incentive to learn other languages because of the popularity of English throughout the world. Sometimes I think you’re really nuts.

        • linette lee

          I am just joking about that remark nobleman and american. lol

          I will have to say Spanish is just as popular or even more popular than English.

          • KamikaziPilot

            You mean Spanish is just as popular as English among people learning a second language around the world? No ways. I like your pic, but I still think you’re nutty in the head.

            • linette lee

              hmmm…..depends where. But you can’t deny English, Spanish, and Chinese is the most spoken language around the world.
              I like your pic too, but I don’t think it’s you. lol….

            • KamikaziPilot

              Maybe but Spanish isn’t really relevant in business, Chinese is more relevant but isn’t near as important as English. Look how many Chinese are learning English and compare them to the number of native English speakers learning Chinese. It’s not even close. The pic is my mother in law without makeup.

            • Germandude

              “The pic is my mother in law without makeup.”

              hahahaha, omg

            • linette lee

              The pic is my mother in law without makeup…….

              I am going to tell your chinese mother in law. lol….

              No way. Chinese is very important. The chinese language influenced the whole Asia. And Spanish also similar to Italian and portuguese. It would be dumb for Chinese to not learn or at least have some knowledge in English and Spanish in their public school system.

            • KamikaziPilot

              Chinese may be important in some cases but you can’t deny English is vastly more important than Chinese. It’s really the lingua franca, so even if you go to a non-English speaking country there’s a better chance of them knowing some English than Chinese.
              Yeah you can tell my mother in law, she already thinks I’m crazy.

            • David

              Well you sort of right for international business but for business inside the U.S. Spanish is much more useful. Lets be honest, most people do not do international business. Also, when I graduated from school everybody said it was important to learn Japanese for international business, then it was Korean and now for 10 years Chinese. In 10 more years I can go back to the business sector and use my Vietnamese again. lol

            • KamikaziPilot

              Well I don’t have personal experience using another language in business but seeing as how the Hispanic population in the U.S. isn’t exactly the most financially well off, I’d say Spanish has limited benefits in the business world. I guess Spanish would be more useful than Chinese in the U.S. as a whole (just due to the much larger population of Spanish speakers), but that really depends on your line of work too. Learn Japanese huh? I take it you graduated in the 80s right?

            • linette lee

              Japanese were very popular in the 80s when Japan economy was taking off.

            • David

              yep, 1981. Spanish is good for local retail business. I have friends who have opened up whole new markets for themselves (salesmen) because they were white and could speak Spanish. Not exactly international high finance but when you add 65% to your sales in a month because you started seeing Spanish customers, it really adds to the bottom line.

            • Washington Bullets

              I’m banking on German and Chinese as my secondary languages.

            • David

              Well, I think both will be profitable for the foreseeable future. If you could meld the German work ethic with the Chinese cheap labor, you would have a winner Oh wait, that was Japan 40 years ago and Korea 25 years ago. Of course now both places have much higher labor costs.

            • Kai

              i wouldn’t say that. There are plenty of places where big business is conducted in Spanish. Latin America? Arguably developing nations (like China) but plenty of money to be made.

            • KamikaziPilot

              Yes Spanish is I believe the 3rd most spoken language in the world but really, relatively speaking, English is far more important than Spanish in the business world as a whole.

            • Paulos

              Sorry to butt in, but the geography nerd in me has to ask… exactly where?

              I honestly can’t think of anyplace with a significant population where Spanish is a more popular choice as a second language than English. Even in Brazil, a country surrounded by a Spanish speaking continent, English is much more widely studied.

              http://www.ef.com/epi/archive/v2/south-america/brazil/

            • linette lee

              But Brazilian many can already speak Spanish no? Of course they will just study English. In USA public school I think Spanish is the most popular foreign language study and it’s a requirement in many middle and high school. They study like 2 or 3 years of foreign language. They like French too. Now I heard Chinese.

              All those Carribean islands are all spanish. Cuba, puerto rico, etc…Like hey..look at miss Universal pageants, 1/3 of them are spanish speaking or know spanish. So if you want to catch a hot chick better learn spanish. You have better chance. So many speak spanish.

            • Paulos

              Nope, Brazilians speak Portuguese.

              I agree, Spanish is a great language to learn. Gorgeous people, amazing music, and delicious cuisine are all wonderful perks. I was just curious as far as geography trivia goes.

            • David

              True, the only place Spanish is really the second most popular language in a country is in the U.S. (other possibilities would be Italy/France/Portugal because they are next door to Spain but I have no study to back that up).

            • Paulos

              I was thinking along the same lines, but even in Portugal, English is mandatory starting in primary school. Students don’t have the choice of learning a second foreign language until middle school.

              Of all the places I’ve looked into, it seems the French are the most ambivalent about learning English, but it’s still much more widely studied than Spanish. I was just curious in case it ever came up during trivia.

            • David

              OK, lets see a show of hands of people surprised that the French are ambivalent (reticent, reluctant, hostile lol) about learning English. :::looks around and sees no hands raised::::: Yea, thought so. Thanks for the information.

            • markus peg

              binary language its the worlds most spoken language and when robots take over everyone will have to adapt or die.. auguhhg!!!

            • David

              Yes, but I figured the Zombies and the robots would fight each other, leaving us alone (God help us if they work together).

            • Fibble_Squibble

              Well how much mandarin/cantonese is spoken by non-natives?

              Now compare that with the number of non-natives, like you, who speak English and Spanish. You cannot conflate chinese with English and Spanish.

              ps. do you like MY pic?

        • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

          Actually I find that learning a new language, at least specific types can expand your reasoning. I look at English and Chinese as a base

          In English, you use phonetic sounds and combine them to form words, and give names to these sounds in the form of letters. These letters can be interchanged so that the same number of letters arranged differently makes a whole new word. This sort of ‘atomistic’ thinking alongside other languages with a similar ‘phonetic letter’ system helped shape western critical thinking by breaking everything down to its base component and identifying each piece.

          Chinese is more ‘holistic’ in that their words are not shaped by the letters, but rather have specific sounds associated with a picture. These words do not have interchangeable letters, and only share basic similarities with other words that cannot be seen from a single glance. This has given rise to thinking about things as a whole entity instead of multiple components.

          Example: Early western medicine identified disease by looking at the various organs and body parts and comparing whether or not they were functioning as they were supposed to.

          Eastern medicine on the other hand has the infamous acupuncture, or pressure points, that treated the entire body as a single thing, manipulating the flow of ki to remedy troubles.

          • KamikaziPilot

            Yeah you bring up good points. Learning another language is just like learning any kind of new skill, it forces you to think and exercise your brain and hopefully broaden your horizons. It’s generally beneficial to learn a new language, if anything just because learning news things is usually good for your mental well being. I just read an article stating that those who learned more than one language had a later onset of dementia than mono-lingual people. Maybe learning more than one language keeps you mentally sharper.

            • m0l0k0

              you talk an awful lot of intelligence but the doctor says you need a brain for that.

      • moop

        20% of americans are at least bilingual, that number can go as high as 60% in larger cities, so i’m not sure what you’re talking about. how a nation of immigrants somehow would manage to be monolingual escapes me

        • Germandude

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/collegeprose/2012/08/27/americas-foreign-language-deficit/

          Not to bash America(ns), but it can’t be denied that Americans should learn at least 1 foreign language at school. To a respectable level such as having a decent conversation in that language. Preferably Spanish.

          However, I can totally understand that native English speakers think it’s not necessary “because everybody speaks English”. At least that’s what my British friends always say to excuse their lack of other language skills ;-)

          • moop

            Brits, Americans, and other native English speakers have an excuse, and its completely rational and acceptable. Many people learn other languages as a necessity, for example learning English to be competitive in international business. In English-speaking countries speaking a foreign language fall more into the category of personal interests and hobbies. think of how many hours it takes to learn a language. if i dont need to learn another language because my native language happens to be the current lingua franca, then why should I waste my time if I don’t have the interest? I could use those hours to learn computer programming or something else. I don’t think its a bad thing. just hitting the geographical lottery

            • Germandude

              No, not that you misunderstand me. I totally understand why the thought of “Everybody speaks English, so I, as a native speaker, am fine” is rational.
              However, I still think it’s beneficial to learn at least a second language. It still widens your horizon and is a major advantage.

            • moop

              i think its beneficial as well, I became fluent in Chinese after I came to China and spoke decent Spanish before I left the States (its terrible now though). I just don’t think it is something that should be mandated in schools.

            • Germandude

              I think it should be mandated in schools. Learning another language also teaches about other countries and cultures and may raise interest in travelling abroad.
              Travelling = the way of educating yourself while having fun

              Plus, the exchange of cultural ideas would also benefit the US.

            • moop

              learning another language is also actually good for your brain function as well. i’m a libertarian so i’m just against the State mandating it, but agree it would be a good idea to include it in curriculum offerings

            • ex-expat

              We are getting better about it, though it is far from perfect. Universities offer Mandarin, Arabic, Farsi, etc., but I think what is important is introducing it at a younger age. The first time I studied a foreign language in school was in seventh grade, which is too late IMO. What is also frustrating is that I spend almost four years in Beijing, speak the language well, but can’t use it to get exemption from the university’s foreign language requirement.

            • Jahar

              In places where a second language can be useful to a kid/teenager, it makes more sense, like in Europe. But to most of the native English speaking world, language class is just language class. It’s not something we can use.

            • Germandude

              I know and I understand the thought behind it. Still. Knowing at least one addtionial language is beneficial.
              If in LA, speaking Spanish helps you right outside your housedoor.

            • Guest23

              Agreed, but the problem is they are doing a terrible job of mandating or even teaching English, not everyone is interested and the classes just ends up into a attendance check for some teachers.

            • ex-expat

              It is beneficial. Though our largely monolingual society is not only about English being the unofficial lingua franca (though it’s certainly a significant part of it), it is also due to geography. Europeans, for the most part, share borders with multiple countries that all speak different languages, so it makes more sense for them.

        • linette lee

          gee… I am just joking. Actually I wasn’t the one coming up with this saying. This nobleman American saying is from European. The European think of themselves higher than American because many of them can speak more than one language. Go yell at germandude.

          • Wololoo

            Actually most europeans speak three languages. For me it is German (native), English (fluent) and Chinese (advanced). (plus basics in latin, ancient greek, french and japanese that I don’t count),Besides I can also do computer programming in Java on an advanced level (if you count VBA, I can do this too, but it i no real programming language) and are obtaining two master degrees in engineering right now (from the best technical university in China and Germany).

            Of course we then look down on Americans, who just speak one language and have a degree, that doesn’t worth anything, since they paid money for it. I have those people in my master courses and see them failing at the assignments, midterms and projects everyday. Their only words in Chinese are “Nihao”, “Xiexie” and “Ni de yanjing hen piaoliang”, as well as a lot of curses.

            • David

              We paid for our degrees? Yes, I certainly paid for all my degrees (and my wife’s and my kids actually). Was your degree free?

            • Germandude

              Thanks to socialism, I am pretty sure it was free.

            • David

              Well, then it was not free it was paid for by somebodies taxes. I am curious why you think our degrees are not worth anything because we paid for them ourselves instead of mooching off of society? The last time I looked the U.S. was ranked number one in the world (with Sweden coming in second) in terms of quality of tertiary education.

            • Germandude

              Hold on! When did I say that your degrees are not worth anything? You must have mistaken me with “Wololoo”.
              I ridiculed his very snobbish and untrue statement (and downvoted it) as you can see below.

              I am not arguing against you or against the quality of studies in the US.

              Please notice that.

              My statement of “Thanks to socialism, I am pretty sure it was free”, was not meant in a bad way. While in the US, most students have to take debts in order to study, this is not the case in most of Europe.
              However, in Europe, students will pay for their studies afterwards simply through state taxes (pretty obvious).

              Now my statement was no disrespect towards you or the US. The reason why I prefer the European education system is because it allows students from poorer families to get a good education (less private schools/universities) without worrying about how to pay it.

            • David

              My apologies, I read and answered hours apart and you are absolutely correct when you say I mixed the two of you up in my answer (which is a relief because I always liked you lol). I was quickly responding to 13 posts and it was regrettably, human error. Upon re-reading your post for accuracy, your points were both saner and more polite than his. lol

            • David

              That being said (and hopefully straightened out) let me give a reply to your actual points. Yes, the U.S. system forces students to either spend a lot of money (usually their parents) or go into debt (or both really) to pay for college. There are many reasons why I think private
              universities are a good idea in the United States but I will just say a few (keeping in mind I actually also have many problems with how tertiary education in the U.S. works). Capitalistic competition ensures that those schools which provide value for your dollar thrive while those which do not fail in the long run. Successful universities reap the benefits of large corporate and private endowments (and government grants) allowing
              them to be the powerhouses of R&D that they are. Because not everybody can afford a 4 year university (or need their services at all) a wonderful system of community and technical colleges has sprung up to serve just about every community in America. They
              are much cheaper and will offer courses for training in a skill or the first two years of general education class that prepare you to transfer to a 4 year university. Unlike public secondary education, where students have no
              financial incentive to succeed, in college, you pay up front and if your lazy or perform badly, you risk being disciplined, suspended or even kicked out (with no refund). Losing a years tuition and maybe a year of your life repeating classes, will usually get the attention
              of even the most jaded parent/student. Finally there are literally hundreds of thousands of government,
              corporate and private grants and scholarships available to students to help pay for university. In fact, if your poor school will be paid for, it is middle class people (too rich to qualify for free and too poor to afford it easily) who end up in huge debt most of the time. Everything from full scholarships for outstanding athletic and academic achievement or low family income to special scholarships for minorities, fields of interest and hobbies (do you like flying model planes? there is a scholarship available for you. Are you part Greek? There are scholarships available for you. Do you like moths? Guess what? Ditto. Served in the military? You are going to college). I think in most cases if you want to go to university bad enough you can find money, even if it means working a job or taking out a loan. I just think if you are going to get the benefit of a university education you should be responsible for paying for it. If I were a carpenter or worked in an auto plant I would be pretty unhappy paying for some other kids school with my taxes. Finally, I think having to earn something like university forces you to make the decision if it is really something you need to do right now. Should I spend $100,000 of my parents (or the governments) money so I can study drama in a comfortable environment and drink for 4 years? Screw that, go join a theatre
              group and starve for 4 years while you learn you craft. You will be a better actor/painter/poet/writer for it. OK, now I am starting to sound mean. But I think you get my drift. What we have is a simple difference of opinion on priorities. That is the great thing about a democratic system (capitalistic or socialistic) we can decide for
              ourselves what we think is important and elect people who will put those ideas into practices. I am very happy with this part of the U.S. just as you are obviously very happy with that part of (Germany, I assume, is where you went to school?). Wow, much more than I wanted to say. lol

            • Germandude

              Thanks for the very insightful reply. It was a great read and I honestly didn’t know all that. Some of the points I want to comment on:

              “it is middle class people (too rich to qualify for free and too poor to afford it easily) who end up in huge debt most of the time”

              In my eyes, a healthy middle class is the backbone of each society and country. Going into the extremes of too many poor/too many rich, hurts the economy because of consumption shortages that hurt cashflow and the overall country tax-wise. Not to mention the risks it brings in political drifts.

              “If I were a carpenter or worked in an auto plant I would be pretty unhappy paying for some other kids school with my taxes”

              If you were a carpenter you were pretty happy if others would help you to finance the chance of your kids to go to university so that they will not end up with having as bad of a job as you do. ;-)

              “Finally, I think having to earn something like university forces you to make the decision if it is really something you need to do right now. Should I spend $100,000 of my parents (or the governments) money so I can study drama in a comfortable environment and drink for 4 years?”

              While you argue that through the boundaries of high costs (and debts upon students) will make people think twice before studying and therefore, make people more serious about it, I’d like to argue against it.

              In “your” ideal environment, only the serious people who can afford to pay or take a debt for their studies, will do so after they made sure they are serious about it. Anybody not serious, will be deciding against it.

              In Germany, and you are right that there are a lot of rotten, lazy-ass students, we pay through taxes also for the ones that are not serious about their studies.

              But here is the thing: In the US system, I feel that the system is not just keeping the status quo, but it actually fastens up the split of society. If you are born black/hispanic, poor, in the Bronx, not your intelligence decides about your future, but your position within society. Scholarships for those people are (I must assume) something too difficult to obtain. You really need to help people to help themselves.

              In Germany, most are willing to pay for the education through taxes, because the cost for the 20% of students being too lazy/too dumb to graduate or learning sth meaningful will easily be caught up by the taxes graduated students will pay that without free education would have never had the chance to study in the first place.

              “What we have is a simple difference of opinion on priorities. That is the great thing about a democratic system (capitalistic or socialistic) ”

              EXACTLY. And don’t misunderstand. I am not here to blame the US educational system. In fact, I am discussing with you to learn sth about it and to bring my opinion of our system across.

              Regarding where I went to school: Germany for primary school, 2 other European countries for studies and an exchange year in the US. I have seen several different systems first hand.

            • moop

              ” If you are born black/hispanic, poor, in the Bronx, not your intelligence decides about your future, but your position within society.”

              i dont accept this. many universities and state governments, and the federal government stumble over themselves trying to either get more minorities into college or making it cheaper for them. i lettered in 3 sports in highschool, academic team, student gov, community service, top 98% SAT score, and i barely got anything in the form of scholarship money. my dad made 250k per year but my family is traditional and thought i should work hard to get scholarships and whatnot, so they didn’t pay for my college, eventhough the US gov expected them to pay something like 40k per year for my tuition. they didnt (which i am ok with, i agree with them) but i had to take out unsudsidized loans that cost me thousands of extra money in interest compared to the subsidized loan a low income kid from the bronx would get. now i’m 18 and starting from 0 (actually negative since i now had debt) and the kid from bronx now actually has a leg up on me now (assuming we went to similar schools, he will finish college with less debt that i do). so who’s getting the better end of this deal?

            • moop

              i just wanted to mention one more thing… on of the big reasons university in the US is expensive is because uncle sam keeps making it easier and easier to get loans to go to school. kinda how uncle sam wanted to make it so everyone could buy a home (that worked out wonderful by the way. “what? you make 40k per year, are a single parent, and have 2 kids? this 300k mcmansion is perfect for you, and with interest rates so low, its a great deal for you and your family”). the students and their parents are no longer the main customers, big banks and state and federal government is. now, when your customers have almost unlimited funding, raising your prices that outpaces unflation by leaps and bounds makes a lot of sense from a business point of view. so wonder schools are adding 10million dollar buildings to their campuses each year. all they have to do is raise tuition, and nobody really feels the pain until 4-5 years later, and by that time they arent your customer anymore, just pass it on to them and let uncle sam subsidize it. even the individual has so much access to easy debt that is almost like free money. government

            • Germandude

              Well, I cannot judge if what you are saying is true. I believe you. If it is true however, you just gave a perfect reason why a governmental regulated and controlled education system is advantageous.
              Universities couldn’t simply increase tuition fees because they want to build a 10 million dollar building. Deregulate scholarships, best, totally abandon that and make all universities accessible for everyone. Special universities, such as Harvard could still be private and require 99% scores (or other requirements to filter out the super-smart) to create an elite in R&D etc.
              Make the first study programme a student attends free. If he fails to graduate within the alloted time (or decides to switch subjects), THEN make them pay for that decision.
              Just don’t leave anybody behind because they cannot afford studies or who don’t know how to move within the system (that goes for a lot of poor people).
              Even in Germany, some people are simply lacking the knowledge on how to apply for social services and nobody really goes to them to teach them how.

            • Kai

              Good point, the growth of the education industry and commoditization of education.

            • Kai

              I didn’t know you were just 18.

              I agree that it is easier in many ways to get scholarships if you come from what is considered a “disadvantaged” background than from actual academic or extra-curricular achievement. There are scholarships for the latter but they’re very VERY competitive while there is genuinely a decent amount of needs-based scholarships, grands, and student loans available from the government or private parties.

              I would agree that what @disqus_qpFQtxPJyF:disqus said in context (being disadvantaged makes it difficult to get scholarships) is not entirely accurate though out of context (just the part you quoted), I think what he said is somewhat valid. However, out of context is another discussion.

            • moop

              oh god no, i’m not 18, i’m 30. haha

            • Kai

              My bad, I read that in a different context. I understand it was part of the narrative now instead of a statement of your current age and situation.

            • linette lee

              …a healthy middle class is the backbone of each society and country..

              That’s me. Thank you.

            • David

              lol I just spent an hour replaying and I lost it all (don’t you hate it when that happens). I will try to get back to it later tonight.

            • linette lee

              I think it’s important to give access to the poor kids to college even if the taxpayers have to pay for it. They all should be given the opportunity at least once even some may be lazy and never finish. I know it sucks to be the middle class. The poor people get everything free from the gov’t and the rich can afford everything. The middle class have to work hard breaking their back and get nothing from the gov’t. But this is the only way to ensure even the kids from the poorest families will have the chance to succeed. And you can’t really say who is too dumb to enter college. Einstein failed math.

            • ex-expat

              “Of course we then look down on Americans.” Spoken like a true “nobleman.” Should I look down at you for your numerous grammatical errors? And please tell me how paying for a degree makes it worthless. According to multiple publications across multiple countries and languages, the US consistently is home to the majority of the world’s best universities.

            • diverdude7

              European should be capitalized. btw: good job on those two world wars. immmm,,, u may be young,,, soooo,,, this might not have gotten through to you yet, but dissin’ out others just shows your insecurity. nothing wrong w/ kraut-land,, I’m basically kraut myself,,, but if I dog-out others, it is justified/merited/explained. dogging out Americans just sounds like insecurity… Space Shuttle anyone ? Mars Rover ? hehe yep,,, my family drives ‘Benz. excellent auto.. celebrate/acclaim your own accomplishments. Don’t sit and disparage others. just some advice…

            • diverdude7

              yeah,, my grammar, spelling, structure suck. This software is weird,, I cannot see what I am typing…. too lazy to correct by backhand forth. and I have had a few beers… points are understandable though, I believe…

            • Germandude

              Yeah, shitty post of him, I agree. However, why the need to refer to the world wars? That one has such a long and grey beard, you might step on it and fall down…

            • yang

              ‘dissin’ out others just shows your insecurity’

              lol, isn’t it what most people do on chinasmack? bashing china and the chinese people.

            • Washington Bullets

              I’m in a Chinese program in America, at the advanced level in university, and I’m one of two caucasian kids in a class of 30. When I was in the lower levels, there were more people who looked like me, but yes, their Chinese was atrocious, with exactly the phrases you pointed out. It gets better though, but the number of students that don’t speak Chinese at home drops exponentially every higher level you take.

              It is a shame though, because if you want to take a language here in high school, the programs seem to constantly be getting cut in terms of funding. My German program was cut entirely, which led me to taking Chinese in an online class my senior year.

              American degrees are worth it, only if it’s not some kind of pointless gender-studies/liberal arts junk. It’s paid for, but It’s teaching me responsibility in servicing a debt, and I don’t have to squeak by on relying on my parents (not saying anyone else does).

            • Germandude

              You should have skipped the 2nd paragraph of your application. Also, start with “Dear sirs,” After the “,” start with capital letter. Work on your soft skills for better result.

          • Germandude

            Shut up simpleton.

        • Jack Yu

          I have an American friend who keeps joking that he comes from the single country on this planet where it is socially absolutely acceptable to speak only one language.

          • America isn’t any more monolingual than Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland, to say nothing of scores of predominantly monolingual countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

            • Kai

              Yeah, it’s kind of a continental European thing with Americans.

            • Germandude

              What do you mean by that?

            • Kai

              In my experience, I think it is usually continental Europeans who take the piss out of Americans for being monolingual. I don’t really hear that criticism/joke being used by people from anywhere else.

      • David

        I will say the biggest difference is that when your in middle school or high school and want to learn a foreign language it is extra work so you only do it if you want to (some schools in America do have mandatory foreign language but generally no). This means students start much later than countries like China, but they have more desire to learn (as opposed to being made to learn by mom).. Also, I understood the sarcasm. I think for the most part people in America are very impressed by those who can speak two or three languages (even just conversationally). We are a country of immigrants so we are used to hearing people speak Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Polish etc. . . Of course there are those who are the exception and get upset when the accommodations we make go to the extreme.

        • linette lee

          I find that many first generation Italian, german, polish..etc don’t bother to teach their kids their own language. They won’t even try. They just tell their kids you are in America so you should only speak English. While the chinese the parents force their America born chinese kids to weekend Chinese schools.

          • David

            True, I tried to teach my children Japanese because they were half Japanese. However, even though they wanted to KNOW it they didn’t want to LEARN it. Also, it was weird that their white father was teaching them Japanese while their Japanese/American mother (who was born and raised in America by Japanese parents like you said above) could not speak it.

            • KamikaziPilot

              She’s a fake Japanese person, just like me, haha.

            • linette lee

              if I go to Brazil I want to go check out Liberdade (district of São Paulo). They have the biggest Japanese population outside Japan.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberdade

            • KamikaziPilot

              Sounds like fun, but just stay away from the favelas.

            • David

              They also have a large Japanese population in Peru, That is funny.

            • Guest23

              And a Japanese President, Alberto Fujimori.

            • David

              Yea, but after he was elected he “suddenly” became unpopular. lol funny how politics work.

            • David

              lol silly Nisai. I don’t think it is a personal failure that she never learned Japanese. Instead she took four years of French in high school and can speak French much better then I ever will (but of course being Asian she is much too shy to ever actually speak French in public lol).

            • KamikaziPilot

              Actually I’m not a Nisei, that would be 2nd generation. I think I’m a yonsei (4th generation). Both of my grandparents were born in the US. I also agree it’s not a personal failure if one fails to learn their ancestral language, especially after being in the US for so long. I mean how many 4th generation Italian or German Americans can speak Italian or German? It’s inevitable the language ability will fade, usually after the 2nd generation. I actually took Japanese and Spanish in high school and college but remember almost nothing. Don’t know how I passed those classes, lol.

            • David

              Yes, my wife was Nisei. The only Italian I know are the bad words my dad used (and he only learned them by having them used on him by his father lol). The really funny part is that my son is 24 now and has loved Anime for many years. If he had stuck with the Japanese lessons, by now he could have enjoyed the cartoons he loves without subtitles or voice overs.

            • Kai

              I have friends who have learned reasonably impressive Japanese language skills THROUGH watching anime.

              A lot of the curse words I find myself using are those I’ve picked up from my dad too. It’s kinda funny.

            • Stefan Xu

              How come you can speak Japanese? Is it a coincidence your kids are half Japanese?

            • David

              Well, it is fairer to say I studied Japanese and I used to speak it well. Unfortunately, I have not lived there in a long time and now I suck lol. Japanese was the first Asian language I ever studied. It was because my best friend in high school was Japanese/American and I had a huge crush on his very cute sister (my future wife). I tried to impress her however, after about a year I realized I enjoyed it for its own sake. It also led me to study Asian history.

            • Guang Xiang

              Wow, living the dream: being able to end up with your high school crush

            • Kai

              LoL, was there any weirdness betwen you and your best friend about you crushing on and eventually successfully copulating with his sister?

              I was a bit weirded out when a friend of mine dated my younger sister for a stint.

            • KamikaziPilot

              I guess I’m lucky me and my sisters had absolutely zero friends in common despite being fairly close in age. I didn’t have to deal with that kind of drama.

            • David

              Well, I was not going to mention this since somebody thought I was “living the dream” but yea, it ruined our friendship and he has hated me for more than 30 years. His mother also hates me still for picking her daughter over her son (the apple of her eye). In fact, the only one in the family I got along with was her father who died a few years after we were married (bad luck that).

            • Kai

              Yikes, that sucks. I’m tempted to make a homoerotic joke about you picking her daughter and not her son but I understand what you meant with that. It’s sad you lost a best friend in it. Does your wife not try to help you two reconcile? Or did you do something completely unforgivable in terms of bro code? No need to share if you don’t want though, I’m just being gossipy.

            • David

              lol well remember this was all a long time ago, more then 30 years. No, she did not really try to mediate it as she did not get along with her brother anyway (typical family where people did not get along but never said anything, unlike our family who were always yelling at each other but never held a grudge).

              Let me tell you a little secret about marrying your high school sweetheart (although technically she was three years older than me and was in college when I was in high school). I have several friends who have married and remained happy with their HS sweethearts, it was not that uncommon when I was in school. But most of them got divorced because you change so much as a human being in your 20s. We were together for 11 years before getting divorced. When I got married I was only 20 (a kid) and it did not help that my job in the military required me to be overseas for several years at a time.

              As for the man code,(the world bro had not been invented yet), all I did was date and eventually marry his sister. As soon as I took her out a few times he got mad and that was it. It is not that I blame him for being unhappy about it, I don’t but you would think after a couple of years of marriage he would come around lol.

            • Kai

              Agree with you on marrying high school sweetheart and changes in your 20s.

              Did you two ever have an actual heart-to-heart about why he was unhappy about dating his sister? I mean, I think most people can identify with the general awkwardness of her being his sister and wonder about the fact that she was older than you, but I wonder if you guys ever tried to get down to the real issue and thus had a chance of saving your friendship. It does sound like he was mad at her too so it wasn’t just you. Maybe he didn’t like her robbing the cradle. Maybe in a way, he lost a friend and a sister. Shrug.

              Good friends, especially those who were once “best” friends are hard to come by in this world. It’s all water under the bridge now but still unfortunate.

            • David

              I think what you say is true however, at 17 years of age, it is difficult to think like that (I certainly was not mature enough, I know that).

            • KamikaziPilot

              Huh? Why would he hate you for more than 30 years for marrying his sister? He obvioulsy thought highly of you if he was your best friend. the only reason I can think of is if he thought you were using him solely for the purpose of dating his sister. Or was he jealous of you spending more time with her than with him? That would be kind of funny. I really don’t get it.

            • David

              lol got me. I really never found out. We were best friends for about 2 years before I met his sister (she was away at college). Even she did not know. It was something I stopped worrying about a LOOOOONG time ago. lol

            • m0l0k0

              you need to get laid

          • ptptp

            All of my friends who had European-born parents, speak their parents’ native language. A Chinese friend of mine doesn’t send her daughter to weekend Chinese schools since she wants her daughter to enjoy her childhood.

            New York and America is way too diverse to make any generalizations.

      • ex-expat

        The only context where I think it would be considered rude is when there are for example three people talking, and then two people start talking in a language that the third person doesn’t understand.

        • Kai

          There are people who resent the prevalence of (usually) Spanish in many places in America, whether it is spoken in public by its speakers or being the dominant language on store signs or documents.

          But it’s just SOME people, usually those who have misgivings about immigration trends or immigrants in general. They feel English is the official language of the country and these people clearly aren’t integrating enough, along with fears that Spanish and/or immigrants are taking over and marginalizing them in their own “homeland”.

          • ex-expat

            Yeah actually you’re right. I live about 45 minutes from Miami, and I do think it’s annoying to have a whole city that basically makes zero attempt to learn English, despite the fact, that technically, the US has no official language. Maybe I find it annoying for the same reason I would always get mad about protesters in the States waving their own flag. If you want to be proud of your heritage, great, but wave the flag somewhere else imo. Though the act of people speaking in a different language in itself is not something that I am offended by. I am personally happy the US is a multicultural society.

    • Jahar

      I say cut it entirely. They can spend more time cramming other useless information. If they want to study english, they can do it outside, and not in such a poor system.

      If they really want to lesson their burden, why not spread it all out, instead of just english? or realize that standardized testing is what is causing the burden in the first place. That and their parents.

      • Guang Xiang

        Yea, basing their whole future on one Gaokao seems like a lazy way to evaluate students.

        • KamikaziPilot

          True, but isn’t there a shortage of universities in China, whereas not everyone who wants to go to university is able to? I’m not sure but that’s what I’ve read. Anyways you’re so right about the gaokao, it just causes undue stress to the test takers and isn’t really a good way to measure intelligence and ambition. Everyone person I’ve talked to about that test hates it.

          • Guang Xiang

            Didn’t know about that, I guess it makes sense if there isn’t enough universities to go to.

            I know Taiwan has the opposite problem; where even the lowest score can get you into a University.

            • Kai

              I’m not sure there’s a shortage of universities now. It’s just that there are so many students in China that it’s hard to evaluate them all individually and holistically.

              For example, in the United States, a private undergraduate university might actually interview you when considering you for admissions, but public universities won’t, because they don’t have the resources to do so.

              All standardized testing is meant to be a way of filtering candidates. I think people know it isn’t entirely fair but it’s nonetheless a practical solution to a problem.

              The question is whether or not China’s universities can find a way to de-empahsize the test so it isn’t such a dominant factor in admissions decisions and thus makes the gaokao such a do-or-die life-changing event in young people’s lives. Can it, for example, go broader like you mentioned below in the US where many universities have relatively less emphasis on standardized testing scores and consider more heavily other factors?

              Korea and Japan have a system similar to the gaokao as well, where a huge amount of emphasis is placed on a single test that determines if and where you go to university. So to what extent is this system crushing people and destroying futures in China relative to other countries?

            • Guang Xiang

              Feel like a simple upvote isn’t enough to express how insightful this post was. I went to a private school and university so I was ignorant of the public system.

            • Kai

              Thanks for the compliment. Very flattering. Cheers.

            • plorf

              It would be interesting to see what happens if China (or the US) adopted the Germanic (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) model of no entrance exams but huge exam failure rates after admission. In much of the world once you’re admitted to a university you’re almost guaranteed to graduate. But in these countries in some of the hardest universities/subjects the majority will fail their exams or drop out voluntarily, a thing that Chinese parents would see as a waste of time. So the parents would have to consider which university they are likely to graduate from, rather than get admitted to, which is a completely different strategic decision.

        • linette lee

          Isn’t gaokao equal to state exam here in USA. The USA students they also have state examines also across the nation. I am not sure.

          • Guang Xiang

            In Hawaii, there is no state exam. There is a National Exam, the SAT, but that’s just one small factor for your college application. They look at your recommendations, extracurricular activities, achievements, SAT II (proficiency tests), AP exams that you can sign up for and more, I forget. I remember my verbal SAT score is a bit low for my college but because I was very active in community service and served as treasurer, they accepted. (I know for sure because they rejected me at first and then after I sent a revised app because I did a mistake on my extracurricular portion, they accepted me).

            • David

              Right on the money. When I graduated high school (about 100 years ago) they acceptance was strictly ACT/SAT scores and your GPA. However, you could take the SAT three times a year, if you were not happy with your results you studied and took it again. In the last 25 years they have changed to a system like you describe, where they try to look at the whole of what you did during high school. That being said a SAT/ACT score in the top 1% will still get you a lot of attention by good universities even if you did not do any extra-curricular activities. I know when my daughter first applied about 10 years ago the application letter was very important.

            • Germandude

              Well, then I gotta say it: For a person 100+ years of age, you still look good. haha

            • Cauffiel

              Dude, I was pretty sure you were about 25 years old.

            • David

              lol thank you but no. In person I may look 35-40 but next month I will celebrate my 50th birthday. Now my wife, SHE looks 25 in real life (but is three years younger than me).

          • Jahar

            What does that have to do with this conversation? I thought we were talking about China, not about the US. If I wanted to talk about the US education system, I’d be on a blog about the US.

            • linette lee

              But I am Chinese. Chinese always talk about amerikan. lol……Like if you are not Chinese than you are amerikan. Or the evil Japanese. lol .hahahahha…..

            • mwanafa

              One thing I like about linette is that you can always tell which day she forgot to take her meds.

            • Germandude

              You mean monday to sunday?

      • linette lee

        In USA they have exit exam also for high school.

        “GREENVILLE, S.C. — South Carolina Rep. Phil Owens says a story he heard from one of his constituents convinced him it was time to do away with the state’s requirement that students pass an exit exam to earn their high school diploma.

        The man had three sons, all close in age and approaching graduation from high school. One of the brothers had a learning disability in math. He had been unable to pass the math portion of the exit exam after three attempts, even though he hadpassed all his classes.
        2007: Exit exams put states to the test
        2006: Exit exams become part of landscape
        “He was devastated by the fact that his brothers would continue on to tech school or to college, and he wouldn’t, simply because of this test,” the Easley Republican said.”

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/22/exit-exams-high-school-diploma/2351009/

        • Paulos

          The gaokao is a college entrance exam. The American counterpart would be the SAT, not the type of test referenced in your article.

          I’m not familiar with South Carolina, but if tests there are in line with state exams elsewhere they’re not at all challenging or unfair. It’s sad that this particular student had a learning disability, but special needs education is another topic altogether.

    • narsfweasels

      The Gaokao will still remain a stressful exercise in weak information regurgitation. Continuous assessment should be the way forward for every education system, but until that happens, expect more of these placebos.

      • Guest23

        Yup, here in the Philippines we just started on the final touches and implementation of the K-12 curriculum, last country in Asia and the last three countries in the world to implement it, there were many complaints about funding, student workload, and ect. and lots of petty whining, but this will create better opportunities and global competitiveness.

    • Cauffiel

      The survey results are shocking. If I understand them correctly, it seems Chinese do NOT want to be tested in English. Can this really be true?

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        Well I can see it as reasonable.

        These exams are more for determining what college they can enter. The cramming as it is creates crazy amounts of stress so it may be prudent to snip a few bits here and there. I’m not saying remove English entirely.

        Heck make it a general requirement to graduate college, that’ll still ensure they get tested on the material, but they shouldn’t learn it for the sake of a test like the Gaokao. They should learn it because they want to communicate with the language.

        • David

          I agree with you GDM. For Master and Doctoral programs in History, Most U.S. universities require you to test in the language of your area of study (which is why you see a lot of people get their graduate degrees in U.S. or British history lol lazy bastards). Of course this is so you do not have to relay on translated copies of original sources (which many still do). But this is a specialty thing and probably is not needed for a B.A. or B.S.

        • Cauffiel

          :-) I was being sarcastic. Of course they don’t want to be tested on English.

          I think you’d see even more extreme results if tossed out the gaokao entirely and replaced with a standardized exam administrated by a private company.

    • vonskippy

      Just another step in China’s government wanting to fence in their citizens. If Chinese people understand English, they might actually find out what’s happening in the rest of the world without the blessing of the CCP.

      • Kai

        Your comment doesn’t make sense. This reform is about the relative emphasis placed on English language skills in a standardized test used for determinining Chinese university admissions.

        If the Chinese government wanted to “fence in” their citizens by preventing them from being able to read English language information from outside of their country, they probably wouldn’t have made learning English part of the national curriculum and cemented the subject as part of the all-important gaokao in the first place.

        The Chinese government does other things to prevent its people from being exposed to certain information, but this is hardly part of it. This reduction in the point value of the English portion of the gaokao isn’t some conspiracy to keep the population in ignorance, it’s quite innocently about relative priorities between different academic subjects.

        If the majority of Chinese students go on to careers where English isn’t of much practical use and parents are complaining about it, why wouldn’t the Chinese government responsible for the gaokao reconsider how emphasized the subject is in the test?

        Don’t you think your comment here is a stretch?

        • plorf

          It’s certainly a bit of a stretch, but eventually the emphasis placed on English (or not) also shows where a country sees itself and its citizens in the future. Will it be an inward-looking, protectionist countries bent on championing the industries, selling products abroad while buying local like Japan? Or will it be an international country doing business the world over, speaking their language? A country where the best minds work in, a bit like the US?

          I’d say it’s rather the former than the latter. China is not only not ready but unwilling to truly internationalize and become a host for the world’s brilliant minds.

          • Kai

            Using your analogy, I don’t think the US mandated a single specific foreign language as part of its national curriculum. Yet it still went on to do business the world over, often speaking English and only sometimes speaking the native language of those they did business with, because the world bent to English.

            If we want China to be like the US, then it shouldn’t be preoccupied with having its people learn English, because the Americans weren’t preoccupied with learning other languages either. The US didn’t internationalize. It inherited a linguistic advantage from the British Empire and went on to bend the rest of the world to its mode through hard and soft power.

            I don’t think redistribution of point values between academic subjects indicates China is not ready or unwilling to “truly internationalize”. We can discuss language politics and how bending its population to English is some sort of capitulation to imperialism through language but there are better, more relevant indicators for whether China is protectionist or not outside of gaokao point values.

            There’s no hard and fast rule that China has to uniformly embrace English in order to be international or host the world’s most brilliant minds. Given the current geopolitical situation, will it help? Sure, but you can also have the world’s future brilliant minds be entirely comfortable with Chinese as well. Things can change and so many things influence change.

            English dominance has inertia, no question about that. I just don’t think this piece of news really says anything about the Chinese government “fencing its people in”. That’s why I felt your initial comment was a stretch.

            • plorf

              First of all, it wasn’t my initial comment and I don’t entirely agree. I am also not saying that China should act like the US in any way, which is also not the gold standard for an international work environment. It’s not a battle between American English and Chinese and their respective economic importances, if you land a job in Istanbul for a German company, guess what language you will speak? Students all over the world learn English, not Chinese at this very moment, the importance of English has long been decoupled from the economic fate of the US, even if the US would vanish tomorrow the language would stay. Expats (among them the brilliant minds) the world over speak English, not Chinese.

              http://www.justlanded.com/english/Common/Footer/Expatriates/How-many-expats-are-there

              So again, the issue is not the US vs. China and who has the right to continue speaking their own language. That’s something I get a lot from (educated) Chinese, they don’t get that point even while speaking English with me, a non-native speaker living and working in China. Chinese is and will remain a marginal language for global business and science and if you want to engage with people internationally you will need to speak English (plus other languages) or stay at home, Chinese will be as useless for that purpose as it is today.

            • Kai

              I’m sorry, right, the initical comment wasn’t made by you (but by vonskippy). My apologies.

              I fully recognize that English is the globalized language now, not Chinese. I’m resisting the implication in your first comment that “China is not only not ready but unwilling to truly internationalize and become a host for the world’s brilliant minds” simply because it is decreasing the point value of the English subject on the gaokao.

    • the ace of books

      Oh god, this. I’ve heard about this quite a bit this last week, and it is such a painfully typical way of “solving” the problem:

      “Students doing badly in English? can’t speak the language even after learning it for 10 or 12 years? Oh, that’s bad. It’s because this language is hard – I know, because I also studied English for such a long time and I can’t speak it at all. Well, we’ll just decrease emphasis on it or get rid of it altogether, because it’s such a waste of time and resources to spend 12 years on a langauge you can’t speak.”

      (Excuse me while I froth at the mouth for just a second here.)

      So much, so very much of the “logic” that lies behind this is so painfully wrong that I can barely even begin to scratch the tip of the iceberg. A few of the problems:

      + teaching methods and lack thereof
      + lack of speaking and use
      + lack of giving shits
      + a lack of followthrough in teaching
      + no one ever learns how to study, only to memorize
      + is this on the test? no? then I don’t care
      + is this on the test? no? then I can’t afford to care
      + english is “not useful” in daily life
      + we shouldn’t teach “not useful” things like language or art or music
      + it’s ony a work language
      + how can you not learn the modern lingua franca
      + ~NATIONALISM~ that’s how

      And others. It gets me angry that people would be so dismissive of the entire world ariound them: you can’t close your borders and pretend you are the only thing under the sun! And refusing the importance of the most-spoken language of the world (whether it’s English or anything else) is the most pig-headed idea ever.

      There’s some fantastic comments in this one. THe very first comment in the list I especially commend, since it really covers a lot. But this comment is my favorite:

      凤凰网上海市网友:怦然心动后:

      So funny. In a country where English has been a weakness, instead of thinking how to improve the teaching methods, so that the most widely used language in the world can be mastered by the general population, it instead think of this idea and gives it the pretty name of “reform”. Truly hilarious!

      Thank you! Thank you for getting it.

      • David

        I agree. I want to say more and rant but I think you said it just perfect.

        • Fibble_Squibble

          Agreed. I was about to go flip mode but Ace of Books said it all in a better way than i could would have,

        • the ace of books

          Thanks. Glad you like it.

      • Kai

        I’m trying to figure out if you’re responding more to the motivations behind the change in the test (for Beijing) or to some of the reasons people agree with the change.

        • the ace of books

          More the first than the second.

          For Beijing, it makes little sense to reduce English, since they, Shanghai, and the other first-tier cities will have statistically the most students going abroad or working with English; reducing access to or the necessity of the language seems counter-productive. 1) if English isn’t required, students would have to learn it anyway, it being a fad, and they’ll only be overloaded and resentful; 2) what Beijing does, follow-the-leader; 3) I’m generally frustrated with the treatment of language learning (hell, learning in general) as a facts-and-statistics thing.

          The people agreeing – I get extremely frustrated with comments that indicate nationalism, because it’s such a backward and stasis-inducing mindset.

          • Kai

            Hm, is Beijing reducing English education or just the point value of the section on the gaokao?

            I’m not particularly against them doing either because I don’t think a second language should be mandatory. I prefer people have the option to learn it if they want to instead of being forced to, or that they be given a choice in languages. I grant though that there is more economies of scale in having just English as a second language requirement than offering curriculums and teachers for multiple languages.

            To me, it depends on priorities. I can empathize with reducing the emphasis on English if most students aren’t going on to use it nor do they need it, though I understand how this argument can be applied to advanced mathematics as well or many other subjects.

            I don’t follow what you meant by 1). Wondering if a word is missing or something.

            I obviously don’t agree with nationalistic reasons for agreeing with this change, but I find some of the practical reasons for agreeing with decreasing the point value quite reasonable.

            Are there any other news on how the English curriculum or testing is changing in Beijing that I’m not aware of? I’m just going by this article, which is just a point redistribution evidencing a de-emphasis for reasons I don’t think are unreasonable.

      • David Webb

        First of all, where do you live? You don’t seem to be living in mainland China. Second, instead of learning English, how about continue to develop the country’s military, economic, and cultural power so people around China can learn Chinese instead. You think English is going to be THE language of the world one day? Nope. If you live in the West, you might have this perception that is already is The Language, but the truth is that majority of the world’s population do not speak English. Also, the single most spoken language in the world is actually Chinese.

        You might have this idea that you must speak English to survive in this world today. That is not true. many business conducted anywhere in the world do not require English. If you are living in the West (Europe, America). Yeah you absolutely need to learn how to read and write English. But the way you are speaking as if 1.4 billion Chinese live in the West, which they don’t. Everyday activity requires no English, except some people who want to conduct business with Westerners, a translator is more than enough.

        Look at India, Indians pride themselves at having more English speakers than Chinese, not sure why since their former colonial white masters forced them to adapt to their language, i don’t see why they would take any pride in that, but even then only 200 million Indians out of a billion speaks broken to fluent English.. But look at the state of their country. How is learning English helping them in any shape or form? They still have 600 million people without toilet (they urinate and defecate on the streets), yes 600 million of them have no proper toilet to shit and piss on.. The corruption level is 20 points higher than China on the CPI chart.

        The Japanese are notoriously bad at learning English. I have seen Japanese people living in NYC for 20 years and can’t even read the alphabet letters properly, yet they still manage to make a good living.
        Native Japanese in Japan do not speak a lick of English, even the people in their airport barely speak any English, trust me, I have traveled enough times to know all of this.

        They should just abolish English altogether, instead of decreasing by 50 points, because what good does it do if you are making the emphasis on the English examination even less than before. Might as well just abolish the English portion of the test and save the time and money. Let those Chinese students to explore things outside of their academic life with the extra time provided.

        Japan has proven that they don’t have to learn English to appease the Westerners to do business. if you want to do business in japan, you learn Japanese or you bring your translator. Don’t expect the Japanese to learn English and the Chinese should do the exact same thing.

        Most of the presentation you see by Japanese executives in US are conducted with them speaking Japanese while having a translator translating the speech in real time. That says a lot.

        • Washington Bullets

          Man, Chinese is hard. I must say it’s one of the most valuable skills I’ve been studying at university though. I’ve been wondering the same thing as you though, however I think it may lie more in the fact that English uses the Latin alphabet, making languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, and German not too far a stretch from learning English. The radical/character system isn’t too great for learning phonetically, even though once you know it, it’s hard to forget.

          India has more English speakers than England itself, but yeah, I’m not really itching to go there…

        • the ace of books

          1) I do indeed live in China, and on the mainland. And yet I am a proponent of people learning English. Why? because, as I said, it’s the modern lingua franca. English may have fewer native speakers than some otehr languages, yes (I’m assuming by “chinese” you mean Mandarin?), but it is not, tehrefore, unimportant – it is the most common second language in the world today, and it is the common lingua franca in many areas of international communications and trade.

          You think English is going to be THE language of the world one day? Nope.

          Hate to break it to you, but it is already “THE language of the world”, as you so vaguely put it. That’s what a lingua franca is – the most common, widest-spoken second langauge of a time period. That doesn’t mean it is, or should be, everyone’s native language, but that it’s unignorably important in the wider world.

          Abolishing English would be a catastrophically dumb thing to do, and there are so many things wrong with the idea of doing so that I’ll leave it unargued, as surely you can see the illogic of it. (if you honestly can’t, let me know.)

          China’s internet is also run on Chinese.

          There’s huge numbers of inherent problems with this. I’m amazed you bring it in as a valid point. China’s internet runs in Chinese, in China, and with nothing else because it’s not allowed to do otherwise.

          Let those Chinese students to explore things outside of their academic life with the extra time provided.

          This is a thing that will never happen without vast and fundamental changes to the current Chinese education system. You don’t really believe this, do you?

          That says a lot.

          That says that you’ve contradicted yourself: a translator translating in realtime means that they’ve learnt English well enough to do so. Also, please dont’ make such asanine statements as “X nationality just can’t learn English – I know because I know some people”. That’s a double-fisting of implied racism + FOAF fallacy, with a side helping of false generalization and a sprinkle of cherry-picking on top.

          • jixiang

            “There’s huge numbers of inherent problems with this. I’m amazed you bring it in as a valid point. China’s internet runs in Chinese, in China, and with nothing else because it’s not allowed to do otherwise.”

            That’s naive. China’s internet would run in Chinese with or without censorship, because it is used by hundreds of millions of Chinese who speak Chinese. Italy’s internet, for instance, is also run in Italian. Is is normal, except for people from English speaking countries who can’t believe that anyone might possibly do anything modern in a language other than their own.

      • kyuhyun lover

        I don’t get you people most chinese people who learn english don’t need it AT ALL. When I lived in CANADA even though everything was printed in french as long as english barely anyone wanted to learn the language and once you get grade 9 you’re not forced to. Since all the english kids including me weren’t learning ANYTHING in those 9 years people overral didn’t think they needed french or liked the language.
        You have to understand or some it’s impossible to learn a language without being in the culture hence why so many asians go study abroad. There is also the people who just do not want to learn English but are forced to.

        If the system has such little success then what’s wrong with lowering it for such high marks, at the end of the day realistically most chinese people do not need english only those who’s work involve international affairs and even there you could just hire a translator.

    • nqk123

      A common theme among all nations: education system suck. so many nations complained about their school system. anyone notice that

      • David

        We certainly have our share of problems in elementary and secondary schools in America. But those who want to learn will find a way.

      • Kai

        Yep, pretty universal.

    • Stefan Xu

      I’m very happy with this move, why should we glorify English so much. To me it’s just create inferiority and “wannabe-western” craze. Chinese is the world’s largest language and I think it’s more important that people around the world to learn Chinese than Chinese to learn English. Very few non-Chinese can speak Chinese around the world.

      I don’t like how so many Chinese area learning English like maniacs right now. Many of them are “western-wannabes” and have no spine what’s so ever. Yes’ you can learn English but don’t overdo it.

      This could also reduce he need of white English teachers. Sadly many of them are losers from the west and come to China getting an English paying job with above-average salary.

      I knew a Canadian guy who was a office-cleaner in Canada but he then came to China and pretended to be professional and landed a job as an English teacher at Tsinghua…

      • moop

        dont feed the troll

        • mr.wiener

          amen brother.

          • Stefan Xu

            I’m no troll, everyone has the right to have their own opinion.

            • mr.wiener

              No troll? perhaps not, but when you an express an opinion infused with such calculated spite it is more than likely you are looking to get a reaction.
              If you don’t want people to think you are a troll, don’t post like one.

            • Germandude

              You know what they say about opinions?
              Opinions are like assholes. Everybody got one.

        • Stefan Xu

          I’m no troll, everyone has the right to have their own opinion.

        • Kai

          As far as I can tell, he doesn’t meet the definition of a troll. He just has objectionable opinions. To be a troll, we’d need more evidence that he doesn’t seriously feel this way and/or intentionally makes such remarks purely to see negative reactions.

        • Germandude

          Ah, he just gave so many free kicks, it’s so hard to resist. I follow your wise suggestion though.

      • Guang Xiang

        Moop: sorry, but I had to do it.

        Stefan: I know a white guy that is so into Chinese culture that he can recite Chinese poems, imitate traditional Beijing opera, and speaks better Chinese than me. What do you think of him?

        Also, are you very bitter of the situation? Labeling English teachers as losers: was that a way to make yourself feel better?

        • Stefan Xu

          I said many of them are losers in the west, not all. I mean they have crappy jobs in the west and get to China and have a better job. Having a crappy job is a loser.
          Even white people in the west laugh at some English teachers in China.

          I didn’t say that I don’t like white people. Race isn’t important, however almost all foreign English teachers happens to be white.

          • moop

            living with mommy and daddy until you’re past 30 and having no control over your life is being a loser. at least those who do come over here to teach are self sufficient and independent

            • lonetrey / Dan

              I know Mr. Xu’s being a bit inflammatory, but please try not to let the trend catch on.

            • Cauffiel

              moop’s comment is pretty…. reasonable? i think….

              you want inflammatory, read my comments, bitch! :-D ;-)

            • lonetrey / Dan

              He could’ve just left the comment as it were, I was trying to get him back to his previous stance. He said earlier “to not feed the troll”, so I saw that he at least knew what to do.

              Didn’t want him to get dragged down to the troll’s level

          • xiaode

            Could you pls. be the first one who is not using English anymore… many here would appreciate it…

            What the hell is a crappy job?
            And what´s your job, if I may ask?

            • Stefan Xu

              Why should I stop using English? I want to write here so everybody understands.

              A crappy job is a low level manual job not requiring any huge amount of education. Such as cleaner, restaurant job etc.

              I am still a student. Major, Industrial Engineer.

            • markus peg

              Someone has to do the crappy jobs, hopefully for most its just a temporary stepping stone, don’t you agree?

            • Stefan Xu

              Yes I agree.

            • Guang Xiang

              Well, as you write here, I hope you can also gain some insights as well.

            • “Why should I stop using English? I want to write here so everybody understands.”

              But you don’t want other Chinese to be able to do the same…

            • Germandude

              You said many foreigners have crappy jobs in one of your posts further up.
              On this comment, you define crappy jobs as: cleaner, restaurant job etc.
              Now how many foreigners do those jobs in China?

          • Guang Xiang

            If having a crappy job makes you a loser, finding better opportunities in China still makes you a loser? Or are they suppose to just stay in their home country and continue doing the same crappy job? Granted they might not be professionally qualified for the jobs in China, but must you label them as such. Sounds like frustration from your side.

            Also, there is a growing popularity in learning Chinese in the West.

            And you never shared your thoughts about the white guy I mentioned. You sure he isn’t “overdoing it”?

            • Stefan Xu

              I said they were losers back home and then came to China becoming at least somebody. They are not losers any more in China. But they haven’t worked so hard for their job in China either as they got their jobs in China because they were white.

              Regarding the that white you, I like it! Have nothing against it all!

            • markus peg

              This is a big generalization. In some cases that true but that’s the same with anything… I think many people exaggerate this.
              Most do it just to get a visa, if China didn’t have such strict visa rules you would prob have less of the “loser” teachers.
              EDIT: of course stricter rules for employing teachers are needed, and in certain areas such as the west of China that is starting to happen, but other areas need teachers and have to keep lower requirements for the time being. My old school had a Chinese woman teaching who spoke very little English and had no qualifications she was 50ish and employed just because she was from Beijing. So the same thing does happen overseas.

            • KamikaziPilot

              I agree some English teachers are “losers” back home, or at least couldn’t attain a similar position that provides for the same quality of life as an English teacher in China, but to me the biggest losers are the Chinese that hire them and those that think they’re a good teacher based solely on skin color. I guess you can’t really blame the Chinese, after all the vast majority of them never have a meaningful relationship with anyone besides another Chinese person in their whole lives so they’re ignorant as hell.

            • Francis Dashwood

              And what about all the consultants from north america, who do not even have a degree, and leave owing a fortune to a chinese girlfriend and laowai/chinese friends, only having to return to their country in north america owing even more due to running away from child support debts?

            • KamikaziPilot

              I really don’t have an opinion on that, and it really has nothing to do with my post.

            • Francis Dashwood

              It does actually, if you look back far enough. But as you are not canadian seemingly, I shall concede to you.

            • KamikaziPilot

              I had a feeling it was you dear boy, but sorry to say I really didn’t understand your post.

            • Francis Dashwood

              dear boy? must have me confused with someone else. Are you canadian per chance?

            • KamikaziPilot

              I’m American. Aren’t you British? Haven’t we spoken before with you under a different identity?

            • Francis Dashwood

              not so sure…maybe we met in hong kong?

            • m0l0k0

              You should be ashamed at bringing such dishonor to Americans everywhere. Apparently KamikaziPilot is a paranoid schizophrenia too.

          • Cauffiel

            Having a crappy job does not make you a loser.

            Doing a crappy job makes you a loser, no matter what your job is.

            • xiaode

              100% agree!

            • Stefan Xu

              Yeah, but you’re a bit of a loser if you couldn’t land a better job in the first place.

            • mr.wiener

              Does this mean all the peasants in China are losers?

          • Francis Dashwood

            Well that is where most of us come from per the laws of your country. I knew an african from ghana, nowhere will hire him now. From the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand….no problem.

          • David

            Did you ever think that most English teachers are white because that is what Chinese people want? One of the teachers in my school is a black women from Cameroon. She has her degree and teachers certs like the rest of us but she gets little respect from Korean students/teachers and less from Chinese people because she is not white. If you want to complain about the white losers maybe your countrymen should raise their expectations of what constitutes a teacher and work on their racism.

            • mwanafa

              It’s one thing to want an English teacher, It’s another thing to have a white person around. Take a look at
              this pic and ask yourself why?
              Translation(picture below): A foreign substitute to report a crime. starting at 200 CNY/month. If you lost anything, 100% chance for police to get it back. contact phone ———–.

            • David

              I just know that when the parents come to our school they always trot out the White teachers to impress the moms. Now this is for Koreans (because I teach at a Korean international school in China) but when we get the occasional visit from Chinese officials, the trot us out again for the same reason.

            • David

              Sorry, I have only been here 8 months so while my conversational Chinese is getting OK, but I can not read characters.

            • mwanafa

              Translation: A foreign substitute to report a crime. starting at 200 CNY/month. If you lost anything, 100% chance for police to get it back. contact phone ———–.

            • David

              lol that is close to the translation I got with my phone but I assumed I had screwed it up. WTH??

            • KamikaziPilot

              You are so right about the prevalence of the thought that only whites can teach good English in China. The ignorance and blatant racism of many Chinese just astounds me. It’s not only on subjects like this but a whole slew of other subjects where this kind of though process is dominant. To me it’s a very superficial, closed off society. Hopefully their attitudes change as they gain more exposure to other ways of thinking. I can just imagine someone like myself teaching english in China, it would be kind of interesting to say the least.

        • KamikaziPilot

          Actually he has some valid points in his post. You must admit a lot of English teachers in China are unqualified (I know that can be a pretty subjective argument) since they hire mostly based on skin color, which would be unthinkable in the West. He also said you can learn English but don’t overdo it. I get the feeling that the dominance of English worldwide is seen as more cultural imperialism by Chinese than it would be by Europeans. I understand the thought behind his ideas, it’s just that the way he expressed himself left him open to criticism.

          • Guang Xiang

            Oh yes, there is no denying the trend he mentioned. I would totally accept his post if only it wasn’t so… confrontational haha

          • xiaode

            Hmm…
            But the problem that English teachers are hired because of their skin color is not their problem or fault, thats the Chinese schools problem/fault who hire them, or the Chinese customers problem/fault, who pay much more money for the skin color who teaches him English and don´t give a damn about qualifications!
            I would estimate highly trained and skilled English teachers are much more expensive for Chinese schools. So what are they doing: they know that their clients (the students or their parents) pay for the skin color… so they hire just the cheapest idiot they could find + fulfill the basic requirements…

            How you can overdo learning a language? You can study very hard… doesn´t mean you have to use the language later in every possible situation… I guess that´s his problem.

            It´s like not to learn how to eat with chopsticks in order to have to eat with silverware… that´s just…..

            • KamikaziPilot

              Of course it’s the Chinese people’s fault. But you have to admit that way of thinking is immature, racist, and bigoted. I mean if an Asian wanted to teach English he/she would be rejected by the Chinese because he looked too much like one of them. I get the reasoning behind it but it’s totally justified for those who are shut out from English teaching jobs to feel angry at the racism they face from the Chinese people. I’m Asian and speak English as a first language and while I’d never want to be an English teacher, it’s the principle that I find unjust and makes me lose even more respect for Chinese people. Their way of thinking is very childlike, ignorant and outdated with regards to matters like this.

              I think he means Chinese shouldn’t be obsessed with learning English and feel like a lesser person if they can’t speak it well. At least that’s what I think he means.

          • Cauffiel

            I’m not sure I understand the “don’t overdo it” comment by Stefan. I think the much more serious problem is that China under-does it with too many people, when they should be “over” doing it (that is, should be doing it “sufficiently”) with a small minority.

            China’s education system, which they value and boast about so much, is garbage, and Stefan is casting blame on non-Chinese who respond to incentives his country offers.

            • KamikaziPilot

              I think he means Chinese shouldn’t be totally obsessed with learning English, such as those Chinese who are embarrassed they can’t speak good English, or those who put native English speakers on a pedestal, for no other reason than being English speakers. I mean the vast majority of Chinese will never have a use for conversational English in their lives. For some of them it’s like they’re a lesser person unless they speak good English. I agree China’s education system is garbage.

            • Cauffiel

              Yeah, I think you’re right thats what he meant. And like any teachers here, I find it really odd they do that.

            • mwanafa

              Very good point, if you want to explore the ocean, go deep as you can, if you want to master the language, over do it. Language is art, you won’t see the beauty of it unless you go deeper into it. I call anyone who overdo it a perfectionist, apparently some see it as a threat to their insecurities. You know may be he want to be the only one Chinese who can speak English!
              Because it’s ironic, he feels happy for the younger generations not to be exposed to the language which he uses here to debate with others.

          • Fibble_Squibble

            Who is to blame for having unqualified teachers? Just read the job ads. Most say no experience or qualifications required. What do they expect to attract?

            • mwanafa

              Actually some schools just love unqualified teachers.

            • Fibble_Squibble

              Oh of course, they get shit scared of qualified teachers with experience.

            • mwanafa

              Yeah man, I heard there are those who takes 3k/month and there are others who take no less than 10k/month.

            • Fibble_Squibble

              In beijing or shanghai, at least at international school, it goes up to around 20,000 a month. I feel sorry for these teachers actually. I would never teach in a country where hatred of the language being taught is inherent.

              Why empower hate? If i were a teacher, i’d feel more rewarded teaching in some poor war torn country where i would be appreciated rather than some spoilt little brat who has been taught that his teacher is actually the enemy.

            • Fibble_Squibble

              Did you read about that school in beijing? They had a weekend special offer which stated that if students paid for a years tuition fees, they would get half price. So hundreds of students signed up over the weekend.

              Monday morning? The chinese owner was nicely tucked into his seat. On a flight to Australia. Having run with the money he had every reason to say a big f you to those students AND teachers whose salaries he didn’t pay.

              The teachers? They were actually nice enough to continue teaching all their students for no cost even though they lost two months salary. All those terrible low life white teachers heh?

              The name of the school was Vivid English in Soho, Beijing.

            • mwanafa

              No, I didn’t read that story, but I have heard such stories many many times. Actually I admire the courage of the English teachers here, I admit somehow it’s a life experience one can take, not for me though.
              And I don’t think they are low life.

            • KamikaziPilot

              I agree 100% that dumb, ignorant, racist Chinese are responsible for hiring unqualified English teachers. In some ways they get what they deserve.

      • David S.

        As interesting and entertaining as learning Chinese can be, learning English enables one to communicate with a lot more people.

        • Cauffiel

          Learning English enables one to communicate with a lot more people worth communicating with.

          Learning Chinese enables you to communicate with 300,000,000 Chinese who know some English, and 1 billion poor, uneducated villagers who don’t want anything to do with you.

          If I learn to squeal, I can talk with dolphins, but… so what?

      • Cauffiel

        It’s not Canada’s fault China has no standards.

        You’re trying your best to denigrate English teachers, but all you’re proving is that China hires losers to educate its children. Who’s the loser now?

      • Considering you’re using English…you must be one of those Western-wannabes.

        • Stefan Xu

          No, because English is the first language I learnt with Chinese being the third language I learnt.

          • Guang Xiang

            And yet your mode of thinking is very typical of a mainland Chinese. If you don’t mind answering, where did you grow up?

            • Stefan Xu

              I grew up in London and Sweden.

              What do you mean by “very typical of a mainland Chinese”?

            • mwanafa

              Were you a subject of racism there or bullied much?

            • Stefan Xu

              Yes, my childhood wasn’t the most optimal if I would comment on that.

            • Guang Xiang

              Well that sucks, and also explains a bit

            • mwanafa

              Yeah, and sorry to hear that.

            • Guang Xiang

              Sorry; I shouldn’t be generalizing a demographic.

      • markus peg

        I think binary language will replace all when robots take over and rule the world.

        0111010001110010011011110110110001101100 (BTW that means “troll”)

        • Stefan Xu

          I am no troll, everyone has their right to have an opinion of themselves. Isn’t the west a democratic society?

          • markus peg

            I’m just joking man, of course we can all express ourselves.
            This is not the west tho this is the internet.

      • Francis Dashwood

        That story sounds bullshit made up and without any substance. Go back to earning your wu mao per post….

        • Stefan Xu

          It’s very easy to get a job as an English teacher in China. If you’re white and walk the streets in China, quite often you will be asked if you can work in their company or school as an English teacher. No requirements of English or teacher degree or experience, only requirement is that you’re white.

          • mwanafa

            Wouldn’t it be easy to just say,” it’s very easy to get a job as a Foreigner in “many countries” .
            If you’re Foreigner and walk the streets in ….” I mean, an English teacher, teaches English(It’s exclusively for white people only). There are Philippines, Asians, Africans, Americans, Europeans, Arabic English teachers in China. But you just chose White… They are all great respectable fellows(at least those I met)
            Having a bad history with whites?
            And just for the record, if these foreign teachers piss you off that much, you better prepare your own spaceship and leave earth early, because this industry will not end and as China keeps developing = more demand for foreign English teacher.

            • Stefan Xu

              To become a foreign English teacher in China you must be white.

              Nothing against whites. But some whites just go to China and play around.

            • mwanafa

              So all these colored Teachers in Chinese schools are only here to teach Chinese students how to sing kumbayah?

            • Stefan Xu

              I’ve never seen a black or any non-white English teacher in China. If they exist then it’s good.

            • Guang Xiang

              Actually I had an offer to do it as part-time after they found out my English sounded better than the ones they had at the time. I turned it down cause I was too busy, and was also irritated by their comments about me not being white.

            • Stefan Xu

              Did they have non-native English speakers with questionable English levels?

            • Guang Xiang

              They had an Australian guy and an African guy

              edit: forgot to add, they had another Asian teaching English. A hot Chinese American. Go figure

            • Stefan Xu

              How did you speak with them in the first place? Visiting the school?

            • Guang Xiang

              A colleague in my research group mentioned the school to me and how he was taking classes there, so I walked in, it’s right outside Tsinghua.

              They were very skeptical in the beginning, telling me that usually parents want to know their kid is being taught by a blonde-haired guy, etc.

            • mwanafa

              Oh a lot of them, many schools consider qualification not skin color.

            • Cauffiel

              So what?

            • Stefan Xu

              I have nothing against white people. Me myself is part white.

          • Francis Dashwood

            Not so anymore, a degree is actually a requirement to get a work visa. It has always been the case in fact, even more so under the new laws.

            http://lawandborder.com

          • Cauffiel

            You’re right, I have been offered a job on the street. But not often, only once.

      • Mihel

        Chinese is the world’s largest language and I think it’s more important that people around the world to learn Chinese than Chinese to learn English.

        I’m studying both English and Chinese, but Chinese is definitely not more “important” in any way. I really like what I’m learning about Chinese, though the probability it will give me any kind of advantages in life is pretty thin…

      • Fibble_Squibble

        Which language are you using right now? You post just reads ‘jealous’ from top to bottom. Maybe if local chinese schools wouldn’t chase qualified teachers away, you would get better quality teachers.

        You say that canadian guy pretended to be professional? So he was. Or did he slip up now and again during lesson and started cleaning the office. Which is it?

      • Kai

        This is a pretty bad articulation of what I suspect to be a specific complaint or gripe, that being certain Chinese people who might give others the arrogant impression that knowing English automatically makes them “better” than others.

        There is more practical use for learning English at this point in time than learning Chinese. This may change in the future and arguably has changed already with China’s growing importance and influence in the world. Still, no point in not recognizing that English is still dominant or going out your way to disadvantage yourself by refusing to learn it if you have the opportunity to.

        It’s true that very few non-Chinese can speak Chinese right now, but we’re seeing that change as China rises, as expected. That non-Chinese people should consider learning China for their own practical benefit in the possible future has no bearing on whether or not it may be important for Chinese people to learn English.

        People can overdo learning English. They shouldn’t overdo being arrogant about it.

        Interesting that you steered the conversation into “white English teachers”. So you want to de-empahsize English in order to reduce the demand for specifically “white English teachers” because you consider many of them to be losers and resent the lifestyle they are able to enjoy due to demand for their skin color?

        That’s a roundabout way of dealing with things.

      • Bobby Dazzler

        Wait, hang on. No-one has commented on this:

        “Chinese is the world’s largest language and I think it’s more important
        that people around the world to learn Chinese than Chinese to learn
        English.”

        May be something here. Chinese is the world’s largest language in terms of native speakers, but that’s because Chinese has a ridiculously large population, which successive governments have ordered with the use of a “common tongue”. In its way, one could argue, Chinese is no less a lingua franca than English, albeit one defined by a political border.

        In terms of second speakers, however, English far outstrips Chinese – 400 million in China alone have some familiarity with the language. In the world at large, students of the language, those who use English in business or for general communication comfortably number over two billion.

        I’m going to stake my opinion here and now on Chinasmack – Chinese, a language based on rote memorization of characters, will never be more popular as a means of communication among second language speakers than a language with a phonetic/syllabic script. To take the time to memorize a word that defines a concept you don’t know (i.e, the experience of a child learning its native language) is one thing. To expect a second language learner to memorize the characters (for example)
        打喷嚏, when they could write “sneeze”, “niesen”, “чихать” or “재채기” is a never-ending source of frustration, because we already know the concept and would just like to move on in our communication, without spending our time learning how to write a character that has little to no bearing on the ‘common’ pronunciation or even the concept itself (archaic twists and turns of semantics notwithstanding).

        Ultimately, Chinese will be learned by those with either an interest in it, or those who wish to communicate directly with native speakers. I’m trying to picture an Iranian businessman conducting negotiations with a Peruvian client in Chinese, over email and phone. It seems an improbable scenario to me, frankly. Literally any other language on earth would be better served to this purpose than Chinese, from a time invested-learning ratio.

        Not to say Chinese script isn’t beautiful and deep and full of tradition and history and meaning and so on and so on. Just as a tool for communication with foreigners/outsiders it’s not very useful.

        Deliberate choice or natural evolution of the language? You decide.

    • markus peg

      Will changing the points for English to 100 make it easier or harder for students to get 100% in English?

      • Kai

        Doesn’t sound like it. Just makes 100% in English of less value to your overall gaokao score.

      • Cauffiel

        The English on the gaokao probably isn’t correct anyway. I’ve read examples of CET and TEM, and some of it was so bad I could barely figure it out.

    • Mihel

      Parents spend large amounts of money just to have their children learn a language without much use

      Where in the world is English considered a language without much use?

      • Cauffiel

        East Timor

      • Kai

        In China where a lot of Chinese people go on to get jobs or live lives where English isn’t remotely necessary. Same in may other places. It’s not an unreasonable viewpoint as long as they don’t imagine their kids being interested in any future where English skills would be beneficial.

        • Paulos

          I dunno… pretty much any sizable corporation I’ve ever seen looks favorably or even requires English proficiency starting at middle management regardless of industry.

          To me this seems more like a “治标不治本” type situation. The national English curriculum needs a massive overhaul, but given that the current administration also needs to:

          -Rebalance the economy
          -Account for all gov’t debt
          -Plan for an aging population
          -Restore the ecosystem
          -Avert radical Islam
          -Reign-in the housing market
          -Address gender disparity
          -Foster innovation
          -Stop widespread corruption
          -Enforce construction standards
          -Control traffic violations
          -Polish public behavior

          … the resources may not be available. If I were a party member I’d probably put it on the back burner myself. The private sector can handle the nation’s English training needs for the time being.

          • Kai

            Middle management in sizeable corporations employs a relatively small population of the labor force, whereas English education and gaokao testing applies to the entire nation’s population of students.

            I don’t think this gaokao reform is about unloading English from the national curriculum and shifting it to the private sector. That might be the case if they removed it from the gaokao entirely and from the national curriculum, but they didn’t do that. Therefre, I can see how this is an appropriate response to specifically de-emphasizing the importance of English as a measure of student talent for college admissions.

            • Paulos

              The percentage may be greater than you think, white collar workers are easily the fastest growing social class in China, and this trend is just getting started. Here in Eastern China the hardest position to fill for any HR manager is just your basic operator.

              Not that I don’t see where you’re coming from, but remember, it’s not just “less English”, it’s “less English, more Chinese”. IMO, spending more time acquiring solid English skills (if possible) is simply more pragmatic than spending more time on literary analysis, obscure characters, or ancient texts.

              And I’m not saying they’re “unloading” English, I’m saying the reduction of emphasis is based on poor results under the current curriculum, not based on actual market needs. I strongly suspect the party will overhaul national teaching methodology once all their other ducks are in a row. We’ll see, I guess.

            • Kai

              Is there less English and more Chinese education/testing? Or are the point values just redistributed? I think it’s just the latter, and I think the reason is to lessen the existing handicap for those who struggle with foreign languages and the majority who will not end up really needing English in their lives. So, will they actually be spending more time on literary analysis, obscure characters, or ancient texts? Or will they simply not have English weigh so heavily on their chances at going to college?

              I’m not sure the reduction of emphasis is because of poor results and not market needs. I happen to think of it being the other way around. The market (students/parents) “needs” less English emphasis because it is preventing otherwise capable students from pursuing further education just because of a weakness in a subject that may not be that critical to that student’s future career.

    • 二奶头发

      I think this is a great idea. If this means less focus on english studies in the classroom it would mean more focus on it in private teaching with waijiao etc.

      You ask a class of chinese kids how many of them play the piano? Many of them do but the piano is not on the gaokao exam. But playing the piano is considered important to many chinese families because it shows their child has culture.

      English is another skill that shows their child has culture.

      China is not going to 100% turn away from english as it’s the world’s major business language.

      • David

        lol I can see the entrepreneurial wheels in your head turning.

        • 二奶头发

          Some of those private piano teachers make 500RMB an hour. :-)

          • David

            I was told by a friend that when he came to China for the first time, 7-8 years ago, English tutors were making 500RMB/hour too. Now it is more like 200RMB/hour where I live. I personally do not give private lessons (except to friends for free) because I am not here for the money and my time is important (preparing lessons, correcting essays and tests and doing research).. Also, while I don’t make the kind of money engineers or tool and die guys do, my school pays me enough to pay the bills and allow me to travel and research what I want. Whenever I am asked by a parent, I always give them the name of another teacher who does want extra money.

            • 二奶头发

              Well at 200 hour that’s still pretty good. Chinese families like to boast to others about their children. My kid plays piano.. my kid is in pingpong. my kid has a private waijiao.

              I knew of an american student studying chinese last year in china. On the weekends she was making 5000rmb a month doing private teaching to 5-10 year old children.

            • David

              True and if your young and need money it is a good deal. I am not motivated by money, however. I gave up a lot to come to China, putting things on hold for two years. The experience has certainly been worth it so far.

    • Fibble_Squibble

      So they give up learning the international language of business and communication. The demise of china has begun.

    • Repatriated

      Above article summarized:

      It’s more difficult to cheat if they need to take English exams….

    • ophiolater

      I’m Finn.
      I can speak some Chinese.

      • hess

        haha är eattot din fru?

    • Kai

      Probably not in our lifetimes but crazier things have happened. It isn’t inconceivable that China’s place and influence in the world grows, making its language of practical use. I don’t thinkg English is going anywhere anytime soon, but maybe everyone will be mixing Chinese curse words into their English ala Joss Whedon’s Firefly?

    • KamikaziPilot

      Of course, but that’s because not many non-Chinese can speak Mandarin, whereas there are many non-whites who speak perfect English. If a non-asian could speak Mandarin fluently, I doubt there would be the same type of racial discrimination against them as we see from Chinese when hiring English teachers. Besides it would be illegal.

    • KamikaziPilot

      The thing is a Russian with heavily accented English and poor grammar is also more qualified to teach English in China than a 3rd generation Canadian of Chinese ancestry who speaks perfect English. Ignorance and racism at its finest in China yet again.

    • YourSupremeCommander

      Chinglish – problem solved.

      • linette lee

        hahahaha….I always love your one liner. Problem solved.

        • YourSupremeCommander

          You are like a good woman, always coming back home after your man slaps you silly… time after time.

    • Washington Bullets

      Rough.

    • linette lee

      “who actually learns a language? The students who want to and plan on using it.”

      Soooooooooooo truth.

      But..exposure is very important. If you don’t expose them they just don’t know what they are missing at the first place. And at the end, the students who want to and plan on using it….will actually learn the language.

    • Teacher in China

      I could see Chinese spreading a lot as an oral language, but it the written characters don’t have enough in common with a huge percentage of the countries out there for it to really catch on as a written language. So many countries use some kind of romanized alphabet already, so English is just easier; or they already have their own indecipherable script language, so why learn another one.

      Orally though, it’s pretty simple in structure and easy to catch on in a basic way with some studying (although the tones are a hurdle, for sure); I could totally see it being very popular orally in the future.

      • mr.wiener

        I agree but with some reservations as to the tones. Tones are tough and I don’t see any way in which to simplify this foe the 2nd language learner. Take out the tone and make it contextual?
        “Can you give me a pen….No a pen, PEN! Why would I want a vagina?”
        As to the writing…That is nightmarish and the reason Chinese have to study so hard for so many years [and why they have excellent rout memory skills]
        Chinese will be an important language no question, in China and with foreigners who want to do business in China. But the language that two people from different countries will use as a second language to communicate in will be English, lovable mutt that it is.

        • Teacher in China

          Yeah I agree with a lot of what you say. However, there are a lot of tonal languages in Asia, so it’s easier for them to catch on to that aspect of language learning; that would make it more popular with that part of the world, I think.

          Still, the sheer fact of geography helps English – there are many more countries in various parts of the world that have English as their official language (or one of them), so there’s a greater incentive for wanting to learn it to do business with those countries than learning Chinese to do business with one country, especially when that one has a reputation of being difficult to do business with.

    • Comebackkid13

      I work at a Japanese company in International Sales and Acquisitions, using English and Japanese. The fact that I have good Japanese skills and majored in a Science (Organic Chemistry) got me the job (instead of the History major English Teachers, no offense intended).
      Some Japanese people I know who work at different companies make 150k a year in the international field. They do the same work as 40k a year salary men. What’s the difference? They speak perfect English (most went to school as children in the States or the UK). Therefore, they are involved in the big international deals.
      I do business in China, Korea, India, Japan, Indonesia, and the Phillipines. Guess how many speak Chinese?…Zero. When Koreans go to Japan, English. When Chinese go to Indonesia, English. It is pretty solidified.
      That being said, almost no one in Korea or China or Japan outside International Business has any functional English capabilities, in any sense of the word. So I in a way support lessening the stress that is placed on English in schools. If someone has a desire to work in International Business, like a multinational Engineering Contracting company, let them pursue it. I mean, Westerners I know who are in a similar position as me studied Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc so that they could pursue an interest of working in International Business in Asia.

    • whuddyasack

      This is a very interesting discussion and there are several ways to go around arguing with it. It is true that English is a very important language since it is an international language, and being good at English means being able to communicate with anyone else in the world.

      However, it is untrue that without English, most Chinese will go backward and be screwed up. Japan is that one glaring example that knowing English is not the most important thing for a nation to be competitive. This small, monolingual, almost exclusively Japanese speaking nation is proof that you can use your own language with pride and rise up far ahead of the competition.

    • the ace of books

      That is definitely exactly what I said, and I am so glad that you’ve taken my entire argument and condensed it down to a factually incorrect statement, then added my online handle and the year to the end.

      You have proved a point, certainly. Your case, whatever it is, may be rested.

    • the ace of books

      “Closed” might be made an argument for, but I’d have to disagree on “homogenous”. China is massive, and massively diverse within its own self.

      I do agree that for most there’s little opportunity to use their English, and that for those who will never leave the country, nor do business with another country, English is well-nigh useless. But, on the other hand, there are thousands of students going abroad every year whose English is not good enough to read a children’s book, who have never had a real conversation with an English-speaking human being, and who think TBBT and and Sherlock are good indications of how the Western World is. For those, the reduction of English will be no kind of boon.

      If there had to be a middle ground where the gaokao was still extant (which I already have problems with, but those aside…) then having an English-option test would be a possible solution. However, I can’t speak much for hte gaokao, because I dislike the system enough that I have a hard time arguing for it…

      • plorf

        I like to think that I’m fairly well-read and know of the existance of regional disparities, climates, minorities and so on that are usually cited as reasons to claim that China is massively diverse… but I’m honestly not sold.

        Many of the minorities are rather culturally close to ethnic Han, certainly not much less so than many regions in European countries. I certainly make an exception for China’s Wild West, but massively diverse? I could be placed blindfolded to a random city street in China, from Harbin to Guangzhou, and would struggle for a while to know where I was. Yes, climate, yes, landscape.. all true. But that also goes for France with its alpine mountains, deserts, hills, coasts and wide plains.

        In short, of course there is diversity, there is no need to point out the difference between Yunnan and Heilongjiang, but given its vast size I would argue it’s actually surprisingly homogenous.

    • plorf

      An international language to my understanding is a language that is widely spoken by non-native speakers. And there isn’t the slightest hint that this is changing from where I stand. The number of foreigners truly learning Chinese is tiny compared to other major languages like French, German, Spanish, maybe even Japanese, which by the way hosts four times more foreigners than China does.

      But no, like Japanese, Chinese will largely remain an obscure but fascinating language for the next decades, despite the economic importance of both cultures/countries. It will yield only advantages (though not even that is established) to those who directly deal with Chinese companies but nobody else.

    • Germandude

      Knowledge is power. Be happy to learn another language and get to know cool people frrom other countries. Also: You are able to communicate with many native English speakers, PLUS, can talk badly behind their backs in your native language ;-)

    • ineedaholiday

      It is very surprising to me, how difficult Chinese people find it to learn one language, while other nations’ kids can learn 2 or 3 languages before finishing high school and not feel it so difficult. And don’t tell me that Chinese and English are sooo different from each other, that it’s impossible to learn. I have studied five languages so far (some to fluency, some just a little) and it seems to me that english and chinese are easy to learn because they both have easy grammar and you can speak with knowing (relatively) few words. These two languages are similar and quite simple.

      I don’t know much about the English education in China, I base my opinion on the everyday challenges of trying to understand my Chinese colleges. What I see is that they have a general problem with expressing their thoughts, their will, or in some cases even having an opinion is difficult for them. To learn a language, speaking is not enough, you have to talk about something. You need a thought to transmit to others, this is essential to practice a language. You cannot just translate words, as if using a mathematical algorithm. In a culture where independent thinking is not promoted, how can anyone expect children to learn a language? Of course they can’t learn, the successful way to learn a language is so different from their habits, that they can’t get used to it. No wonder.

      Plus they have the “someone else will solve this problem anyway” attitude, that can be used for any situation, and is a good excuse for not speaking English as well. And I can’t blame them for this behavior because they are right, there are so many people, and there has always been someone who solved the problem (mmm, the “power” of many..)

      This is one of those problems of this country that is rooted in too many, deeper problems and to solve it would be too difficult so let’s put some patches and forget about it! China just doesn’t want to be a better China, they just want to stay where they are, it’s comfy, and it’s always been working out. Let them be.

      • SimpsonsGoldenAge

        The kind of kids that learn “2 or 3” languages to proficiency tend to be European students who are learning languages from the same language group. Ask some Chinese students to study Shanghainese and Cantonese as their “foreign language” components and you may find that they do a lot better.

      • Kenny

        If you think English and French are different languages, then I can speak 5 different languages and understand more than 10 lol

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