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How Much Chinese Can You Learn in the U.S.? アメリカでの中国語学習ブーム 

 今日はエバン・オスノス氏のコラムを掲載します。本日英文、明日和訳掲載です。


  題名は以下のとおりです。

LETTER  FROM  CHINA

Dispatches by Evan Osnos.

June 30, 2010



 今日は、アメリカで中国語を学ぶ人が増えているということについてのコラムです。



 アメリカでも、日本のゆとり教育みたいな流れがあって、この10年で多くのパブリックスクールでは、外国語の授業がなくなりました。しかし、中国語を学ぼうとする人だけは、他の言語と違い増えているとのこと。1997年には1%が中国語を履修していましたが、2008年には4%まで増えました。


 昔と違い、ネットが発達していますので、様々な方法で中国語を学ぶことが出来るようです。日本では、英語教材の宣伝はネット上に膨大に有りますが、中国語会話の教材の宣伝はあまり見かけません。いずれ、日本でも中国語学習ブームが来るかもしれません。



 明日掲載の和訳に出てきますが、中国語を学んだら喋れるようになるの?という問に対しては、明確に“YES”と答えられています。時間を掛けて学んだらマンダリン(北京語)は喋れる様になるという答えには、心惹かれるものがあります。自分も今から勉強しようかなと思うような人も多いのではないでしょうか。詳細は明日掲載予定の和訳をご覧下さい。


では、以下に英文全文を掲載します。「続きを読む」をクリックして下さい。

 LETTER  FROM  CHINA

Dispatches by Evan Osnos.

June 30, 2010


 Thousands of American public schools have stopped teaching foreign languages over the last decade, but, when it comes to Chinese, schools are heading in the other direction. Between 1997 and 2008, in American middle and high schools that offer at least one foreign language, the proportion of them teaching Chinese rose to four per cent, from one per cent. That number struck me not as startlingly high, but as frustratingly low—especially if you’re a kid in the ninety-six per cent of those schools where Chinese is unavailable. Still, there are some worthwhile digital solutions to the problem. No matter where I am, I’m a devoted user of Wenlin dictionary-and-flashcard software, the Pleco dictionary for the iPhone, and ChinesePod, a popular series of short lessons.


 But none of those are meant to replicate the experience of facing a live teacher. Corinne Dillon, a twenty-five-year-old native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, who studied Mandarin as an undergrad at Harvard, is trying to fill that gap. She is among a generation of young foreign entrepreneurs turning up in China, and her idea is to use the Web to link Chinese teachers with students abroad. I asked her about her business, which she calls Discover Mandarin.


 Where did the idea originate? Any models out there for using V.O.I.P. in language study or other unusual uses that helped shape your concept?


 Discover Mandarin comes from my own experience trying—and initially failing—to learn Mandarin. I studied Mandarin in high school and college, and moved to Beijing after I graduated to continue my language study. When I arrived, I was so self-conscious about my Chinese speaking ability that the first time I met a very good Chinese friend of my husband Alex, I made Alex cover his ears while I chatted with his friend because I didn’t want him to hear how “poor” my Mandarin was.

 Speaking a foreign language is about confidence, and confidence comes from opportunities to practice in a one-on-one environment with qualified, native speakers who identify and correct your mistakes. Once I found a group of teachers with whom I felt comfortable and who worked with me to develop a curriculum that incorporated fun, real-world materials like movies and blogs, both my speaking ability and confidence really took off. These same fantastic teachers from whom I learned fluent Chinese are my Discover Mandarin teaching team.


 Unlike our competitors, we don’t use V.O.I.P. technology—the audio quality doesn’t meet our high standards. Instead, both student and teacher use their landline phone for the audio portion to ensure a crisp, crystal-clear connection, and Cisco’s Webex technology on their computers for all our visuals (TV clips, newspaper articles, cartoons.)


 What do you think is the biggest mistake that students of Chinese tend to make when they are starting out?

 
 There’s a common misconception that Mandarin is “impossible” to learn. I am one of thousands of Chinese-speaking Americans who disprove that claim. What is true, however, is that the methodology one uses to learn Mandarin is critically important. Sitting silently with a textbook, copying vocabulary words and characters over and over again does very little good. Even regular conversations with native-speakers who are not professional language instructors will only take you so far. I only really began to learn Mandarin when I dedicated myself to private sessions with teachers who repeatedly corrected my mistakes and made me speak in full sentences, never single words.


 For other opinions on how (and whether) to learn Chinese:



Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/evanosnos/#ixzz0sRDo4fsx
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