Reasons for the Popularity of Chinese Among WesternersWhy are there so many people who want to learn Chinese? It’s really a question with various answers. But the main reason can be summarized into two points. The first one is the splendid Chinese culture. Foreigners are interested in the profound and mysterious Chinese culture: The acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, which are typical of Chinese culture, is being welcomed by more and more westerners. Many foreigners come to China to learn Peking Opera, to study Chinese calligraphy and painting or to learn to practice Qigong and Tai Chi, to experience the traditional Chinese culture. Even some westerners go to Chinese restaurants with their families on holidays to learn how to use chopsticks or to have a taste of Chinese traditional foods such as tofu, dumplings, spring rolls and so on. As Chinese is the very key to open the Chinese civilization, only when one has this key can he run faster to the pinnacle of the pagoda of Chinese culture. Then, the second reason is that many people learn Chinese out of the influence of the world’s economic situation. With the rapid development of China’s economy and foreign trade, the demands for technical personnel have been greatly increased all around the world; China as a huge market is promising. If foreigners who invest in China can not say any words or expressions for everyday use, it will bring them difficulties in some degree when they negotiate with Chinese businessmen. As a result, all kinds of companies cry for more intellectual technicians, who can translate or interpret Chinese. And those people who possess this skill will earn more money. That is to say, if one’s salary and career are influenced by one language, people will definitely learn it and apply it to their job. Therefore, the development of Chinese economy promotes the upsurge of learning Chinese to some extent, while the lack of talents and the temptation of high income also stimulate an increasing number of foreigners to study Chinese. In Japan and other Asian countries, Chinese has become a bargaining counter to find a job. It is best exemplified by Japanese police test which is similar to Chinese civil service examinations. Those Japanese who want to be a policeman or policewoman must pass this test which requires the candidates knowing a lot of Chinese and the history of China’s development. Another example is that in the past, French people who study Chinese tend to feel that the traditional Chinese culture is a culture with elegance and long history. It is the very interest that draws their attention to learn it. But now, lots of people learn Chinese not only for the curiosity of ancient oriental culture, but also for their future employment and the development of careers. In Paris, people even can see a large advertisement board in the street saying “Learn Chinese! It will bring you opportunities and jobs in the next twenty years.” A language can be popular around the world not only because of itself. There must be a ripe condition and the great support from the government of this spoken language. Why Chinese can be popular around the world? Besides those reasons analyzed above, it can also be attributed to the efforts that Chinese government does to promote its language at the global level. It can be seen from the establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Seoul, Korea on November 21, 2004. The Confucius Institute is thought not to be a school which teaches people the courses of Confucius, but a non-profit institute to borrow the name of Confucius at promoting the Chinese language all over the world and disseminating the culture of China as the fundamental task. Besides, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders made important instructions several times on the building of the Confucius Institute, requiring it be established after overall planning and be progressed solidly as well as be run well one by one. Those instructions made by the national leaders on the establishment of Confucius Institutes and their great attention paid on the dissemination of Chinese play an important role in stimulating the interest of learning Chinese by foreigners. Thus, it creates a good circumstance Chinese to be popular around the world.
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