There are many reasons why Chinese is an important language to learn. It is the most widely spoken language on earth and is becoming increasingly influential due to China’s growing economic, political and cultural power.
Learning Chinese also has cognitive benefits because, unlike most other languages, Chinese stimulates and activates the development of both sides of the brain (Wellcome Trust UK, 2003). This is especially true if children learn how to both read and write it.
Chinese writing develops shape recognition and spatial awareness as children need to make sure that each character is the same size, no matter how many strokes are required.
Children who study Chinese learn to recognize the difference between the sound and substance particles of various characters to establish their meaning and pronunciation. This process stimulates the development of excellent problem solving skills.
Psychologists also suggest that children are open to better and easier learning of Chinese as it is a tonal language and they have the sensitivity to pick up nuances of tone and sound, making it easier for children to grasp Chinese pronunciation. The tonal associations of Chinese can also enhance musical ability.
At Kensington Wade we believe that knowing Chinese will give our pupils an extra edge in the increasingly global economy. Business leaders and international corporations are looking for people who can speak the language and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context. Governments also need Chinese specialists to deal with diplomatic affairs related to China.
Learning Chinese opens a window into a fascinating history and culture and an immense store of literature and art. China is publishing more books than any other country and is making more and more contributions to scientific, technological and philosophical studies. The writings of Chinese policy makers, administrators, economists and business leaders will also become increasingly mainstream.