“The Status and Prospect of Chinese in a Globalized World” Seminar
21 April 2013
SOAS University of London
UK Research and Development Centre for Chinese Traditional Culture
School of Oriental and African Studies Chinese Student & School Association
The concept of 'Global Chinese' has received increased attention from scholars, policy makers and teachers in recent years. Topics that have been discussed include the differences between the Chinese used in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia; the current situation of Chinese language in
overseas diasporas; and language standard for Global Chinese.
This talk will begin with a discussion of the origin and changes of the concept of Global Chinese, moving onto current research and then the implications
for teaching Chinese as a foreign language as well as the
learning of Chinese by overseas Chinese children.
“The Status and Prospect of Chinese in a Globalized World” Seminar was hosted by UKCTC (UK Research and Development Centre for Chinese Traditional Culture) in SOAS (School Of Oriental And African Studies, University of London). Dr Song Lianyi and Dr Li Wei from University of London gave speeches on this seminar.
Dr Song Lianyi mentioned the phenomenon of growing popularity of the Chinese language. With analysing the data of foreign Chinese learners, Dr Song pointed out that we should treat the reality of “Chinese Heat” rationally. Besides, Dr Song referred to the development process and future direction of UK Confucius Institute and its classes, which aimed to promote and spread traditional Chinese culture. Due to the development of science and technology, more and more language-communication tends to be paperless, which is a crisis to handwriting Chinese characters. In addition, there is a concern about the necessity of language learning in the future because of the effective and convenient machine translation. According to Dr Song, Chinese-language instructions need to adapt to the times and make more efforts on standardization and diversification.
On the second half of the seminar, Dr Li Wei talked about the communication issues around “Global Chinese”. He said that a same word or expression can have completely different meanings in Mainland China and Taiwan, which is a big barrier in the cross-Strait relations and communications. The cross-Strait authorities share highly identical views that language unity is crucial to national unity. Dr Li also showed the HuaYu ChangYongCi CiDian, which was co-published by the Mainland and Taiwan. In the meantime, he indicated the need for national planning as a result of policy contradictions between Chinese Putonghua promotion and regional cultural protection. Furthermore, the increasing phenomenon of catchwords, loanwords and lettered-words enrich Chinese language continuously, especially the creative use in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions advances the development of Chinese to a great extent.
With frequent interactions between the speakers and audience, people from the Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan discussed their own experiences about the language misunderstanding in different regions. They also got deep understanding and appreciation of Chinese from this seminar.