The Third of Eight Ways China is Changing Your World, So Says the BBC
“China has long fascinated the West, but its emergence as an economic power has seen a new burgeoning of interest in its culture and language. Thirty years ago, only its inscrutable leaders were recognized in the West. Now people like actress Zhang Ziyi, basketball player Yao Ming and artist Zhang Xiaogang are global figures.
Meanwhile schools across Europe and the U.S. are offering Mandarin classes to children as young as six, and during the Olympics, Chinese script could be seen on adverts on some London buses. China’s government has sought to capture the zeitgeist, helping set up several hundred Confucius Institutes around the world whose overt goal is teaching Chinese, but which also project soft power.
The number of Mandarin speakers is set to grow strongly, especially in Asia, but is it really able to challenge English as a global language? Not any time soon, most experts argue, pointing to its infuriating tones and a script which takes years to master.”
- About 840 million Chinese speak Mandarin as their first language
- Only 375 million people worldwide speak English as first language
- But 1 billion more speak English as second language, or have learnt it as foreign language
- Chinese has tens of thousands of characters, though 3-4,000 are enough to read the news
Source: Foster, Angus. “Eight ways China is changing your world.” BBC News, Beijing. October 15, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19797989
Sources: Ethnologue, British Council
Coming November 7, 2012
The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin: An Abridged Corpus of Axioms, Vocabulary, and Their Purported Meanings
The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin: An Abridged Corpus of Axioms, Vocabulary and Their Purported Meanings is Christian Adams’ first work of non-fiction to be published in digital and print format on November 7, 2012, by The International Scholar, an imprint of the International Media Publishing Group, Inc.
The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin is an irreverent take on language in the modern age, based on the author’s experience of living in Asia and learning to speak Mandarin. Loosely satirizing the context and structure of a pocket-sized phrasebook, the Lazy Bastard Guide describes a world where most expatriates are called “asspats,” and suggests the best way to deal with the Chinese penchant for pushing in line is to “push back.”
From demystifying Chinese grammar to decoding the Asian bar scene to buying drugs in night markets, The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin goes where no other phrasebook has been—far beyond the most basic tourist scenarios of hotels and Buddhist temples.
Stay tuned to Black Sunshine Media for updates, excerpts and selected quotes.