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Chinese as a foreign language

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky: Russian-born Bishop of Shanghai

John Rabe: German businessman, saved thousands of Chinese people from slaughter during theNanking massacre.

. University of Hawaii Press. pp.167171.ISBN0-8248-1219-0.

Timothy Richard: American Baptist missionary

Park Geun-hye: South Korean President

Viktor Axelsen: Danish national badminton player

Cf. With a Changing World Comes An Urgency to Learn Chinese,[4]

Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 2005-11-26

According to a study by theDefense Language Institutein Monterey, California in the 1970s, quoted on William Baxters site.

John Cena: American professional wrestler

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Articles containing traditional Chinese-language text

Gary Snyder: American poet and essayist. Winner of thePulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Chen, Chung-yu.Mandarin Chinese as a Heritage Language: A Case Study of U.S.-born Taiwanese(masters thesis in applied linguistics).University of California, 2013.

Liu lili (27 June 2011).Chinese language proficiency test becoming popular in Mexico

Kenji Doihara: Japanese general and World War II war criminal

Jai pens quon pourrait peut-tre accommoder un jour ces caractres, si on en tait bien inform, non pas seulement reprsenter comme font ordinairement les caractres, mais mme cal-culer et aider limagination et la mditation dune manire qui frapperait dtonnement lsprit de ces peuples et nous donnerait un nouveau moyen de les instruire et gagner. –

Banri Kaieda: Japanese politician and leader of theDPJ

Due to the status of Guangzhou as the only Chinese port open to foreign trade and exchange in the 1700s,Cantonesebecame the variety of Chinese that came into the most interaction with the Western world in early modern times. Foreign works on Chinese were largely centered around this variant until the opening up of other Chinese regions for commerce throughunequal treaties, which exposed European scholars to a much larger number ofChinese varieties.[20]

Translated byIsaac DIsraeli, in his

Lettres difiantes et curieuses sur la langue chinoise

Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation and the Origins of Sinology

See also:Chinese schoolandConfucius Institute

Other researchers suggest that the dictionary was created during 1580-88 by a larger team of Chinese and European collaborators, still co-ordinated by Ricci and Ruggieri:

, Stuttgart: F. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1985, pp. 143-157; Haun Saussy,

Shila Amzah: International multi-award winning Malaysian singer-songwriter

See also:List of Chinese language schools in TaiwanandLanguage education

Pearl S. Buck: American novelist, author of

While English uses an alphabet, Chinese useshanzi, or Chinese characters, as its writing system.[29]TheKangxi dictionarycontains 47,035 characters (simplified Chinese:;traditional Chinese:;pinyin:Hnz). However, most of the characters contained there are archaic and obscure. TheChart of Common Characters of Modern Chinesesimplified Chinese:;traditional Chinese:;pinyin:Xindi Hny Chngyng Z Bio), promulgated inPeoples Republic of China, lists 2,500 common characters and 1,000 less-than-common characters, while the Chart of Generally Utilized Characters of Modern Chinese (simplified Chinese:;traditional Chinese:;pinyin:Xindi Hny Tngyng Z Bio) lists 7,000 characters, including the 3,500 characters already listed above.

, trans. James Fentress, Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Mass., US: Blackwell, 1995.

durch Gottes Verhängniss vonTeuffeleingefhret/ damit er die elende Leute in der Finsterniss der Abgötterei destomehr verstricket halte – Quoted in Harbsmeier, op. cit., p. 300

Ho Chi Minh: Vietnamese revolutionary

Chinese courses have been blooming internationally since 2000 at every level of education.[34]Still, in most of the Western universities, the study of the Chinese language is only a part of Chinese Studies or sinology, instead of an independent discipline. The teaching of Chinese as a foreign language is known asduiwai hanyu jiaoxue(simplified Chinese:;traditional Chinese:;pinyin:Duwi Hny Jioxu). TheConfucius Institute, supervised byHanban(the National Office For Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language), promotes the Chinese language in the West and other parts of the world.

Leibniz placed high hopes on the Chinese characters:

Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies

The fanciful Chinese scripts shown in Kirchers

, August 26, 2006, about the teaching of Chinese in the US.

Wolfram Eberhard: German sociologist

, Vol. 22, No. 88 (Oct., 1946), pp. 304314, reprinted in Adrian Hsia (ed.),

, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Many online courses inStandard MandarinStandard Cantoneseand some othervarietiesare available through commercial, governmental and nonprofit websites catering to speakers of English and over a hundred other languages.[36]Free and Paid-for courses are also offered viapodcasts. Software is also available to help students pronounce, read and translate Chinese into English and other languages.

Samuel Wells Williams: American missionary, linguist, and diplomat

Historia de las cosas ms notables, ritos y costumbres del gran reyno de la China

Articles with limited geographic scope from March 2014

it is the use of China and the kingdoms of the HighLevantto write in Characters Real, which express neither letters nor words in gross, but Things or Notions…[13]

Inspired by these ideas,LeibnizandBacon, among others, dreamt of inventing acharacteristica universalismodelled on Chinese.[12]Thus wrote Bacon:

Dashan: Canadian stage performer famous in China

According to the Chinese Ministry of Education, there are 330 institutions teaching Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language, receiving about 40,000 foreign students. In addition, there are almost 5,000 Chinese language teachers. Since 1992 the State Education Commission has managed aChinese language proficiency exam program, which tests has been taken around 100 million times (including by domestic ethnic minority candidates).

Articles containing simplified Chinese-language text

Articles with French-language external links

Cf.Umberto Eco, From Marco Polo to Leibniz: Stories of Intercultural Misunderstanding.

Frederick W. Baller: British missionary, linguist, translator, educator and sinologist

Lettre au T.R.P. Verjus, Hanovre, fin de lanne 1698

For more about the man and his grammar, see Matthew Y Chen, Unsung Trailblazers of China-West Cultural Encounter.

Articles with Chinese-language external links

James Veneris: American Korean War veteran; settled in Shandong province after the war

Great Walls of Discourse and Other Adventures in Cultural China

I thought that someday, perhaps one could accommodate these characters, if one were well informed of them, not just for representing the characters as they are ordinarily made, but both for calculating and aiding imagination and meditation in a way that would amazingly strike the spirit of these people and would give us a new means of teaching and mastering them.[14]

In 2010, 750,000 people (670,000 from overseas) took theChinese Proficiency Test.[1]For comparison, in 2005, 117,660 non-native speakers took the test, an increase of 26.52% from 2004.[2]From 2000 to 2004, the number of students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland takingAdvanced Levelexams in Chinese increased by 57%.[3]An independent school in the UK made Chinese one of their compulsory subjects for study in 2006.[4]The study of Chinese is also rising in the United States. TheUSC U.S.-China Institutecited a report that 51,582 students were studying the language in US colleges and universities. While far behind the more than 800,000 students who study Spanish, the number is more than three times higher than in 1986. The Institutes report includes graphs and details on the popularity of other languages.[5]

, Lisbon: Universidade Nova de Lisboa,

Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation and the Origins of Sinology

The serious study of the language in the West began withmissionariescoming to China during the late 16th century. Among the first were the ItalianJesuitsMichele RuggieriandMatteo Ricci. They mastered the language without the aid of any grammar books or dictionaries, and are often viewed as the first Westernsinologists. Ruggeiri set up a school inMacau, which was the first for teaching foreigners Chinese and translated part of theGreat LearningintoLatin. This was the first translation of aConfucianclassic into any European language. He also wrote a religious tract in Chinese, the first Chinese book written by a Westerner. Matteo Ricci brought Western sciences to China, and became a prolific Chinese writer. With his wide command of the language, Ricci impressed the Chinese literati and was accepted as one of them, much to the advantage of his missionary work. Several scientific works he authored or co-authored were collected in theSiku Quanshu, the imperial collection of Chinese classics. Some of his religious works were listed in the collections bibliography, but not collected.

Notable non-native speakers of Chinese

Im Jin-ah: South Korean singer and actress

This page was last edited on 9 March 2018, at 17:56.

, II (1941): 7-48; 113-152, reprinted in Adrian Hsia (ed.), op. cit., pp. 117-213.

Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 2006-10-18

Articles with permanently dead external links

Lettres difiantes et curieuses de Chine par des missionnaires jsuites (17021776)

Ronald Graham: American mathematician

Stephen Owen: American sinologist and literary analyst

Papua New Guinea and Chinas New Empire –

through Gods fate introduced by thedevil/ so he may keep those miserable people ever more entangled in the darkness of idolatry.[30]

Sidney Shapiro: American translator; acquired Chinese citizenship.

Politicians and government servants

Karim Massimov: Kazakh Prime Minister

There are disputes over which is the earliest European book containing Chinese characters. One of the candidates isJuan Gonzlez de Mendozas


The transcription of the Nestorian Stele can be found in pp. 13-28 of

Abigail Washburn: American musician; singer, banjo player; performs in China and in the US

( A sketch of the development of teaching Chinese as a foreign language), Beijing: Beijing yuyanxueyuan chubanshe, 1990.

All articles with dead external links

20 things you need to know about Kevin Rudd. The Age, 2007-12-07. Accessed 2008-09-07. He is fluent in Mandarin and was posted to Beijing as a junior diplomat during his time with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the mid-1980s.

: 117126, archived fromthe original

Ruth Weiss: Austrian-born Chinese-naturalized journalist

Eco devoted a whole monograph to this topic in his

The earliest Chinese grammars were produced by the SpanishDominicanmissionaries. The earliest surviving one is byFrancisco Varo(16271687). HisArte de la Lengua Mandarinawas published inCantonin 1703.[19]This grammar was only sketchy, however. The first important Chinese grammar wasJoseph Henri Marie de PrmaresNotitia linguae sinicae, completed in 1729 but only published inMalaccain 1831. Other important grammar texts followed, fromJean-Pierre Abel-Rmusatslmens(sic)de la grammaire chinoisein 1822 toGeorg von der GabelentzsChinesische Grammatikin 1881. Glossaries for Chinese circulated among the missionaries from early on.Robert MorrisonsA Dictionary of the Chinese Language(1815-1823), noted for its fine printing, is one of the first importantChinese dictionariesfor the use of Westerners.

Within ChinasGuangdong Province, Cantonese is also offered in some schools as optional or extra-curricular courses in select Chinese as a foreign language programs, although many require students to be proficient in the Mandarin first.[24][25]

, London: Han-Shan Tang Books, 1995, pp. 297-338.

The interpretation of the Chinese language in the West began with some misunderstandings. Since the earliest appearance ofChinese charactersin the West,[8]the belief that written Chinese wasideographicprevailed.[9]Such a belief led toAthanasius Kirchers conjecture that Chinese characters were derived from theEgyptian hieroglyphs, China being a colony of Egypt.[10]John Webb, the British architect, went a step further. In a Biblical vein similar to Kirchers, he tried to demonstrate that Chinese was the Primitive orAdamic language. In hisAn Historical Essay Endeavoring a Probability That the Language of the Empire of China Is the Primitive Language(1669), he suggested that Chinese was the language spoken before theconfusion of tongues.[11]

L. Nelson Bell: American Missionary father-in-law ofBilly Graham

In 1814, a chair of Chinese andManchuwas founded at theCollge de France, and Abel-Rmusat became the first Professor of Chinese in Europe. In 1837,Nikita Bichurinopened the first European Chinese-language school in theRussian Empire. Since then sinology became an academic discipline in the West, with the secular sinologists outnumbering the missionary ones. Some of the big names in the history of linguistics took up the study of Chinese.Sir William Jonesdabbled in it;[21]instigated by Abel-Rmusat,Wilhelm von Humboldtstudied the language seriously, and discussed it in several letters with the French professor.[22]

Politicians and government servants

InGautiers novellaFortunio, a Chinese professor from theCollge de France, when asked by the protagonist to translate a love letter suspected to be written in Chinese, replied that the characters in the letter happen to all belong to that half of the 40,000 characters which he has yet to master.[31]

.[3]The original letter, in French, can be found in

Wu, Hsu-pai.Teachers Perspectives on Chinese Culture Integration and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Teaching Chinese as a Heritage Language: A Multiple-Case StudyArchive) (PhD thesis).University of Texas. May 2011.

Sidney Rittenberg: American interpreter, Communist and businessman

Cf. Fan Cunzhong (), Sir William Joness Chinese Studies, in

China has helped 60,000 teachers promote its language internationally, and an estimated 40 million people were studying Chinese as a second language around the world at the end of 2008.[6]

Jon Huntsman, Jr.: US Ambassador to China; former Governor ofUtah.

2011-05-17 at theWayback Machine. at the Ricci 21st Century Roundtable database.

Educators, historians and linguists

Beijing Language and Culture University

I will give you an example of their words. They told mechou[shuin modern Pinyin[32]] signifies a book: so that I thought whenever the wordchouwas pronounced, a book was the subject. Not at all!Chou, the next time I heard it, I found signified a tree. Now I was to recollect,chouwas a book, or a tree. But this amounted to nothing;chou, I found, expressed also great heats;chouis to relate;chouis the Aurora;choumeans to be accustomed;chouexpresses the loss of a wager, &c. I should not finish, were I to attempt to give you all its significations.[33]

Notable non-native speakers of Chinese

Cf.John DeFrancis, The Ideographic Myth.[2]For a sophisticated exposition of the problem, see J. Marshall Unger,

, Villeneuve-dAscq: Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 1999.

Actors, entertainers and cultural performers

Clayton Dube (31 July 2009).Chinese language study is rising fast

The Vision of China in the English Literature of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

George Kennedy: American sinologist and developer ofYale romanization

Jeff Locker: American television host active in Taiwan

Phan Bội Châu: Vietnamese scholar and nationalist

Quarterly Bulltein of Chinese Bibliography

, Paris: Garnier-flammarion, 1979, pp. 468470.

, which isavailable online on Google Books. The same book also has acatechismin Romanized Chinese, using apparently the same transcription with tone marks (pp. 121-127)

Local Chinese variants were still widely used up until aQing dynastydecree in 1909 that mandated Mandarin as the official language of China. After this period, only Cantonese and Mandarin remained as the most influential variants of Chinese, the former due to the importance of maritime trade in Guangzhou and the emergence of Hong Kong as a key economy in East Asia. Chinese departments in the West were largely centered on Cantonese due toBritish colonial rule over Hong Konguntil the opening of communist-ruled China starting in the 1970s.[23]

Chinese teacher Li Ying presenting on the use of the Internet in CFL studies at the 8º Congreso de Innovacin y Tecnologa Educativa at theMonterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Monterrey.

(from Wikisource) Cf. Franklin Perkins,

Elsie Elliott: British-born Hong Kong politician

Dicionrio Portugus-Chins: (Pu-Han cidian): Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, by Michele Ruggieri, Matteo Ricci; edited by John W. Witek. Published 2001, Biblioteca Nacional.ISBN-3Partial previewavailable onGoogle Books. Pages 184-185, 196-197.

Mandarin Daily News Language Center

, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light

Actors, entertainers and cultural performers

Mandarin Chinesehas fourtonessimplified Chinese:;traditional Chinese:;pinyin:shngdio), namely the first tone (flat or high level tone, , denoted byinPinyin), the second tone (rising or high-rising tone, , denoted byin Pinyin), the third tone (falling-rising or low tone, , denoted byin Pinyin), and the fourth tone (falling or high-falling tone, , denoted byin Pinyin). There is also a fifth tone called neutral (denoted as no-mark in Pinyin) although the official name of the tones is Four Tones. Many other Chinese dialects have more, for example,Cantonesehas six (often numbered as nine, but three are duplicates). In most Western languages, tones are only used to express emphasis or emotion, not to distinguish meanings as in Chinese. A FrenchJesuit, in a letter, relates how the Chinese tones cause a problem for understanding:

Moser, David (1991) Why Chinese is So Damn HardArchive). In:Mair, Victor H.(ed.),

Quoted in The Process of Translation: The translation experience

Timothy GeithnerUnited States Secretary of the Treasury

James Kynge: British, a regular commentator on Chinese and Asian issues.

Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 2006-12-17

Sans doute les ides contenues dans cette lettre sont exprimes avec des signes que je nai pas encore appris et qui appartiennent aux vingt derniers mille (Chapitre premier). Cf.Qian Zhongshu, China in the English Literature of the Eighteenth Century, in

Educators, historians and linguists

The teaching of Chinese as a foreign language in thePeoples Republic of Chinastarted in 1950 atTsinghua University, initially serving students from Eastern Europe. Starting withBulgariain 1952, China also dispatched Chinese teachers abroad, and by the early 1960s had sent teachers afar as the Congo,CambodiaYemenandFrance. In 1962, with the approval of theState Council, the Higher Preparatory School for Foreign Students was set up, later renamed theBeijing Language and Culture University. The programs were disrupted for several years during theCultural Revolution.

Get Ahead, Learn Mandarin. Archived fromthe originalon 16 November 2006.

Bob Woodruff: American television journalist, ABC News

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn: Thai crown princess

Chinese as a foreign or second languageis the study of theChinese varietiesby non-native speakers. Increased interest in China from those outside has led to a corresponding interest in the study ofStandard Chinese(Mandarin) as a foreign language, the official language ofmainland ChinaandTaiwan. However, the teaching ofChineseboth within and outside China is not a recent phenomenon.Westernersbegan learning different Chinese varieties in the 16th century. Within China, Mandarin became the official language in the early 20th century. Mandarin also became the official language of Taiwan when theKuomintangtook over control fromJapanafter World War II.

Cf. Jean Rousseau & Denis Thouard (d.s),

Bulletin of Portuguese /Japanese Studies, december

Other than Standard Mandarin,Cantoneseis the only other variant of Chinese that is widely taught as a foreign language. It is the official language ofHong KongandMacauand has traditionally been the dominant language among mostOverseas Chinesecommunities. A number of universities outside Hong Kong and Macau offer Cantonese within their Chinese-language departments as well, especially in the UK and North America.[7]

Ai Fukuhara: Japanese national table-tennis player

Vanessa Branch: English American actress

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Moser also stated that tones were a contributing factor to the difficulty of learning Chinese, partly because it is difficult for non-native learners to know how to convey emotion using intonation whilst retaining the correct tones.[29]

You mayimprove this article, discuss the issue on thetalk page, orcreate a new article, as appropriate.

John Birch: American missionary and namesake of theJohn Birch Society

ThePeoples Republic of Chinabegan to accept foreign students from the communist countries (in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa) from the 1950s onwards. Foreign students were forced to leave the PRC during theCultural RevolutionTaiwanhas long been a place for students to study Mandarin.[35]Popular choices for Westerners who want to study Chinese abroad include theBeijing Language and Culture UniversityinBeijing, theMandarin Training Center (MTC)andInternational Chinese Language Program (ICLP, formerly the Stanford Center)inTaiwan, and theChinese University of Hong Kong.

Varos grammar has been translated from Spanish into English, as

Schriftfestschrift: Essays on Writing and Language in Honor of John DeFrancis on his Eightieth Birthday

Jessica Beinecke: American entertainer and host of online show

Hudson Taylor: British missionary and founder of theChina Inland Mission

Several major difficulties stand out:

Europe Studies China: Papers from an International Conference on the History of European Sinology

Michiko Nishiwaki: Japanese actress

The examples and perspective in this article

The Search for the Perfect Language

George Thomas Staunton: English traveller, Orientalist and translator

Bernhard Karlgren: Swedish sinologist

. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 27Archive) (University of Pennsylvania). August 31, 1991. p. 59-70 (PDF document 71-82/260).

deal primarily with Western culture and do not represent aworldwide viewof the subject

a work for men with bodies of brass, lungs of steel, heads of oak, hands of springsteel, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives ofMethuselah.[28]

Francisco Varos Grammar of the Mandarin Language, 1703

Text is available under the; additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to theTerms of UseandPrivacy Policy. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of theWikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

200512,, January 16, 2006.

In his 1991 article Why Chinese is So Damn Hard, David Moser states that an English speaker would find the ridiculous writing system unreasonably hard to learn to the level of achieving literacy due to the large number of characters. Moser argued that he was unable to comfortably read a newspaper even though he knew 2,000 characters.[29]

in modern pinyin. The words he refers here are: , , , , , and , all of which have the same vowel and consonant but different tones in Mandarin.

The 17th-century Protestant theologianElias Grebniz, said that Chinese characters were:

Chinese Language Programme, South China University of Technology

International Chinese Language Program

, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Reviews of Language Courses. Lang1234

Learn Chinese redirects here. For the song byJin, seeLearn Chinese (song).

How hard is it to learn Chinese?BBC

Ricci and Ruggieri, with the help of the Chinese Jesuit Lay BrotherSebastiano Fernandez(also spelled Fernandes; 15621621), are thought to have created the first Portuguese-Chinese dictionary some time between 1583 and 1588.[15][16]Later, while travelling on theGrand Canal of ChinafromBeijingtoLinqingduring the winter of 1598, Ricci, with the help ofLazzaro Cattaneo(15601640) and Sebastiano Fernandez, also compiled a Chinese-Portuguese dictionary. In this latter work, thanks to Cattaneos musical ear, a system was introduced for marking the tones ofromanized Chinesesyllables with diacritical marks. The distinction between aspirated and unaspirated consonants was also made clear through the use of apostrophes, as in the much laterWade-Gilessystem. Although neither of the two dictionaries were publishedthe former only came to light in theVatican Secret Archivesin 1934, and saw publication in 2001, while the later has not been found so farRicci made the transcription system developed in 1598, and in 1626 it was finally published, with minor modifications, by another JesuitNicolas Trigaultin a guide for new Jesuit missionaries. The system continued to be in wide use throughout the 17th and 18th century. It can be seen in several Romanized Chinese texts (prepared mostly byMichael Boymand his Chinese collaborators) that appeared inAthanasius KirchersChina Illustrata.[15][17][18]

Articles with dead external links from August 2017

, Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1998.

Walter Henry Medhurst: British missionary and translator

(1667). Kircher divides Chinese characters into 16 types, and argues that each type originates from a type of images taken from the natural world

Chinese Language non-degree program, South China Normal University

Cf. Christoph Harbsmeier, John Webb and the Early History of the Study of the Classical Chinese Language in the West, in Ming Wilson & John Cayley (ed.s),

, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2001, pp. 49-55.

Chinese is rated as one of the most difficult languages to learn for people whose native language is English, together withArabicJapaneseandKorean.[26]According to theForeign Service Institute, a native English speaker needs over 2,200 hours of intensive study, taking 88 weeks (one year and about 8 months), to learn Mandarin.[27]A quote attributed toWilliam Milne, Morrisons colleague, goes that learning Chinese is

Kevin Rudd: former Prime Minister of Australia


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