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Spending time in China is the best way for children to learn Mandarin

The South China Morning Post – Anita Shum

“There’s no better way to learn a language than to speak it, and there’s no better way to “make” you speak it than travelling to that country. To practise Mandarin, China is a preferred choice for most as it is the only official language, but you can choose other destinations such as Singapore, Taiwan and even Malaysia, where Mandarin is one of the official languages. Check beforehand whether your children will be learning simplified or traditional Chinese characters. Taiwan is the only one of the three that uses traditional characters, the others use simplified characters.” (more)

Mandarin speaking children have ‘head start’ when learning maths, says bilingual nursery owner

Day Nurseries – Michaela Chirgwin

“Mr John believes that those who can speak Mandarin have a head start when it comes to learning maths. The language has a more binary structure than English and lends itself very well to computation, as he explains: “Chinese, and indeed other East Asian languages, have a much simpler mathematical structure in their language than we do. If you consider just the words we use to associate with numerals – you can learn one through ten relatively easily, but then you have to learn an entire new set for eleven through to twenty.” The language is also very good for young children as they need to learn less words. Mr John says: “The only numbers you need to learn in oral Chinese are one through ten, one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand and then 100 million. Twenty is just two tens. eleven is just 10+1. ” (more)

UK: learning Mandarin will give children ‘significant’ career boost

The PIE News – Staff Writer

“More than three-quarters of UK business leaders believe fluency in Mandarin Chinese will give school leavers a career advantage, with more than a quarter saying it would be ‘significant’, according to a survey commissioned by the Mandarin Excellence Programme. The MEP, which is delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council, is an intensive language program that was introduced in 2016 to increase the number of young people with Mandarin language skills.” (more)

In-Transit: Learning a foreign language is difficult but worthwhile

The Daily Trojan – Nayanika Kapoor

“For seven years, throughout middle school and high school, I learned Mandarin Chinese. “Learned” is a strong word — rather, I struggled through it. And when I say struggled, I mean it. Chinese was consistently my hardest subject. Even after practicing a character 30 times, I still would forget a little stroke in the corner. After repeating the pinyin — or pronunciation of the Chinese word using English phonetics — to myself in my head repeatedly, I would still mix up the second and third tones. There were countless moments when I wanted to quit, and every year, before I had to make my course selection to move onto the next level of Chinese, I said to myself, “Am I really doing this for another year?” I questioned my ability to learn new languages, and I constantly wondered and wondered if I was just bad at learning languages, or if I was bad at learning Chinese.” (more)

Lunar New Year: What the Year of the Dog is all about

Aljazeera – Staff Writer

“The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is one of the most celebrated events worldwide. The date of celebration varies every year. The traditions and celebrations go back in time and are transmitted from generation to generation; they welcome health, wealth and good relationships to come in the new year.” (more)

I’m future-proofing my child with Chinese lessons – we should all be doing the same

The Age – Nicole Webb

“Research will tell you, learning any language at any age is beneficial and learning a language as a child should almost be a rite of passage. A study from Pennsylvania State University found learning a foreign language provides a competitive edge in career choices, enhances listening skills and memory and improves the knowledge of one’s own language. Multilingual people, especially children, are skilled at switching between two systems of speech, writing and structure. As an added bonus, according to a Macquarie University senior lecturer in literacy in a multicultural society, Dr Robyn Moloney, is that “After learning a secondary language, subsequent languages are easier to learn – patterns can be recognised a lot faster.” So no matter the language my now six-year-old is learning, be it Italian, French or Spanish, I’m delighted. But, still, we’re keeping up the Mandarin. For her and for me.” (more)