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Mandarin contestants invoke spaceships and evil spirits

BBC News – Judith Burns

“Secondary school students have been testing their language skills in the final of the British Council’s Mandarin Speaking Competition. One school delighted judges with a comic play about what can go wrong if you turn up at a Chinese restaurant without your purse. Another embarked on their own version of the tale of Mulan. Just over 3,000 students take Mandarin at GCSE and the competition’s aim is to boost uptake in schools…The British Council says more students need to learn Mandarin which is spoken by more than one billion people worldwide and is increasingly important to the global economy…Vicky Gough of the British Council said the UK needed more young people to develop their language skills “to work confidently around the world and in multinational organisations here in the UK”. Ms Gough said she hoped a good understanding of Chinese language and culture would “give young people the advantage they need to live in a global society…””(more)