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美国掀起“汉语热” 教学质量有待提高
Updated:2005-08-03 13:35
 
China's rapid rise spurs Americans to learn Chinese

美国掀起“汉语热” 教学质量有待提高

A woman finds quiet solitude from the balcony atop Beijing's Drum Tower to practice her oral English. China is casting such a huge shadow on the United States that many Americans are scrambling to learn the Chinese language in a bid to retain their competitive edge.

China is casting such a huge shadow on the United States that many Americans are scrambling to learn the Chinese language in a bid to retain their competitive edge.

"Interest in learning Chinese among American youth and their parents has grown dramatically in the past five years," said Vivien Stewart, vice president at the Asia Society, a US group trying to bridge the gap between Americans and the peoples of Asia and the Pacific.

China's dramatic rise to near superpower status and its telling effects politically, economically and culturally are driving the interest to learn the language, experts say.

From kindergartens to high schools, studies by the Asia Society show, there is a "rapid rise" in interest among pupils to study the Chinese language.

"The Chinese rich cultural traditions and blossoming economy mean that is now essential for all of our students to be better prepared to engage them and seize opportunities together," said Michael Levine, Asia Society's executive director of education.

A 2004 College Board survey found that 2,400 high schools -- an incredibly high number -- would be interested in offering the Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Chinese language and culture when the courses become available in 2006.

China, the world's most populous nation, is critical to the United States because it is a leading trader, consumer and investor. Its political influence is also rising across the globe.

It has replaced the United States as the world's largest consumer and could become the second largest economy in the world, after the United States, in the next two to three decades.

America's huge budget deficit, economists say, is being bankrolled by China to the tune of one billion dollars per day through its purchase of US Treasury bills -- 200 billion dollars last year and possibly as much as 300 billion dollars already this year.

Even though the US State Department has designated the Chinese language "critical" to national prosperity and security, the "current infrastructure to support recruitment of students and teachers as well as the growth of high quality programs is woefully inadequate," an Asia Society study says.

The Society has set a target of having at least five percent of American high school students learning Chinese by 2015.

"Millions of Chinese are learning English, but only 24,000 Americans are learning Chinese," said Andrew Corcoran of the San Francisco-based Chinese American International School, the oldest Mandarin "immersion" program in the country.

The most popular languages after English in US schools at present are Spanish and French. Japanese is the most-sought-after Asian language.  

(Agencies)

在中国不断对美国施加影响的阴影下,许多美国人竞相学习汉语,希望以此保持他们的竞争优势。

美国亚洲学会集团副总裁维文·斯图尔特说:“过去五年中,美国青少年和他们的父母对学习汉语的兴趣大大增加。”亚洲学会旨在为美国和亚太地区国家之间架起交流与理解的桥梁。

专家们表示,中国惊人的崛起使其逐渐成为超级大国,加上其在政治、经济及文化方面具有显著的影响力,这些因素推动了人们学习汉语的兴趣。

亚洲学会的研究结果显示,从幼儿园到中学,学生学习汉语的兴趣呈“快速增长”势头。

亚洲学会教育常务董事迈克尔·列文说:“中国丰富的文化传统、繁荣的经济发展意味着现在我们的学生都应为学习汉语、了解中国做更充分的准备,并抓住两国共同发展的机遇。"

2004年美国大学理事会的调查结果显示,到2006年引入中国语言及文化课程后,全美将有2400所中学有兴趣提供这方面的进阶先修课程和考试,这一数字高得惊人。

作为世界上人口最多的国家,中国对美国来说至关重要,因为它是最主要的贸易国、消费国及投资国。中国在全球的政治影响力也在不断上升。

中国已经取代美国成为全球最大的消费国,而且,在未来20到30年内,中国还有可能成为继美国之后的全球第二大经济体。

经济学家们表示,多亏中国每天购买多达10亿美元的美国国债,美国的巨额预算赤字才得以缓解。去年中国购买美国国债总额为2000亿,而今年到目前为止可能已经达到3000亿美元。

尽管美国国务院指出汉语对国家的繁荣及安全来说非常重要,目前仍缺乏吸引学生和教师的相关基础设施,而且高质量的教育项目的增长水平仍相当有限。

亚洲学会已经设定目标:到2015年,至少要让5%的美国中学学生学习汉语。

“数百万的中国人在学习英语,但只有2.4万美国人在学习汉语”,位于旧金山的中美国际学校的安德鲁·科克兰指出。这里是全美最早开展“浸泡式”汉语教学的学校。

目前在美国学校中,除英语之外,最流行的语言是西班牙语和法语。在亚洲语言中,日语是最受欢迎的一种语言。

(中国日报网站译)

 

Vocabulary:

telling: having force and producing a striking effect(有效的,显著的)

to the tune of : 达……之多;共计

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