Thursday, 11 February 2010

Mandarin in Welsh Schools

This week I have done a piece for ITV, for Nick Speed in fact, about how important Mandarin is becoming in world affairs, in trade and diplomacy and as a world language.

It is being offered at one or two schools in Wales, I believe, Cathays High School for example. This is a welcome development.

My own ability in Chinese is limited to asking for milky tea in the canteen at Hong Kong University and wishing people Happy New Year. I wish I could do more.

In general, foreign languages have been in decline in Wales. Even relative to England our figures are unimpressive. This despite all the talk that learning two languages, English and Welsh (which I strongly support) is supposed to improve proficiency in languages. For too long we have rested on the laurels of English being an international language. Britain and Wales certainly need to up their game on the foreign languages stakes.

1 comment:

  1. What about encouraging everybody to learn Welsh first Nick. Learning the language of Wales will open the mind of English monoglot speakers (as I was before becoming a fluent Welsh speaker) to a miriad of other languages and cultures.
    You could really push the boat and earn brownie points out by promoting Welsh courses throughout the UK with proper funding that is. How many people know that Welsh is a living language just on their doorstep? Just think how you could boost the economy of Wales as hoards of Weslh learners stream across Offa's Dyke to attend intensive Welsh courses in the summer.
    See you on one of our courses - Ron did it!
    Cofion gorau
    Jaci Taylor
    Swyddog Datblygu
    Canolfan Cymraeg i Oedolion Canolbarth Cymru
    Development Officer
    Mid Wales Welsh for Adults Centre