Traditional Language Is Fading
After reading the essay "Traditional Culture is Fading" by Bingwei Li, I noticed several good points she made about the fading of Chinese culture. She wrote that Chinese traditional culture is fading for several reasons. Firstly, globalization has transformed Chinese ways
of living and reconstructed their thinking patterns (Djembe 16). Secondly, the fading is
caused by the incorporation into the global culture of Chinese population (Djembe 17). The growth of the English language which brings American or British culture to China is the
third reason for Chinese cultural fading (Djembe 17). I agree with those points and strongly believe that English is the most significant reason of Chinese culture fading. At the same
time, Chinese traditional language is also fading, and English is becoming more popular
and prevalent in China.
Languages, especially English, play the important role in China because of globalization.
First and foremost, according to Li, “Globalization has turned China into an international society, and English is more important than their mother tongue” (Djembe 17). Indeed, English serves as a connection between China and the rest of the world. Economically, there is always an increasing demand of elites, who communicate English well and are equipped with professional business knowledge as China joined the World Trade Organization. Economical globalization cannot be operated without English, because English is a language that is used as a tool for worldwide communication. Politically, China, as one of the permanent members of United Nations Security Council, has better communication with International communities as Chinese are becoming better with the English language. English holds a crucial position that Chinese language could never reach in the worldwide community.
I found Chinese society has changed a lot as the English language steps into it. For example, there are more and more Chinese people contacting their friends or colleagues in English in the subway in big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and so forth. The advertisements in English appearing in the central square of my city also show the popularity of the English language.
Just few years ago, several people in a Chinese subway stared at me when I talked in
English on my cell phone. I felt awkward at that moment. Nowadays, I do not feel awkward talking in English on my cellphone in China. Chinese people are not curious about people
who speak English in public. They regard the English language as a tool, used for things
such as driving and operating computers, that a person should be skilled at. As time goes
by, more people speak in English and less people will speak in Chinese, indicating that
the Chinese language is fading.
Secondly, I agree with Li’s statement that “Chinese students start to learn English as well
as its cultural roots at the same time so that they are learning their native language in Kindergarten” (Djembe 17). In my opinion, Chinese parents’ preferences and expectations of their children’s learning abilities to speak English, or a non-Chinese language, are making the Chinese language less significant and English more important. Parents are proud of their children, who can speak different languages and receive honors in English education. Thanks to the economic miracles in China, most families are able to afford English classes for their children when they are younger. For example, when I was very young, I went to English interest classes that provided double-language education. I learned a lot of easy words about fruits, vegetables, and basic words where I could make simple sentences to communicate
with my teachers. These days, there are international kindergartens that not only offer English language education, but also have American teachers who teach language and sports in the neighborhoods that wealthy people live in. Therefore, English steps into the child's world as early as Chinese does. English culture and language influences children much more
compared to when I grew up.
Third, if Chinese students were good enough at English, they could have a chance to go abroad to study in the U.S. with full scholarships. It’s a huge opportunity, and it motivates many young Chinese students to learn English. President Obama visited China in 2009 and announced a groundbreaking program called “Fulbright” between China and America. Chinese students and scholars who perform excellently in their academics and activities outside schools can be supported to go to America for further education and do academic research. Studying one language in the same place for twelve years can be boring for a student. Learning the English language is a good way to drive students to have real experience with the world, to open their eyes, as well as to enter in the global economy through studying abroad.
The English language has changed me a lot. On the one hand, English was a vehicle to go abroad and further my education successfully. Generally, it is well-known that the best
post-secondary education is in America. I believe that learning in America can be a passage to get well-educated. And more importantly, I believe that employers, not only Chinese ones, but also worldwide ones, appreciate an employee who gets an American college diploma. Therefore, I believe I am on my way to success. On the other hand, English is a key to
traveling in English-speaking countries. Language is a bridge to get along with worldwide friends, to know the local cultures, and to explore the world. As the ascendant of Chinese students who step into and study in the English-speaking environment, the more English students speak, the less likely they are to speak their native languages. This results in the fading of Chinese language.
Chinese language is fading as English plays an increasingly significant role in modern day China. Chinese people are speaking more and more English because of its globalization,
and Chinese students wanting to go abroad and further their education.
Bingwei, Li. Djembe. Concordia College. 2014. Print