Learning Chinese in Australia

Kevin Rudd, the PM of Australia, a Chinese speaker himself, recently attended a conference of the Chinese Language Teachers ‘ Federation of Australia.

He spoke about the importance of Australians learning Asian languages.

Link: Australian PM praises work of Chinese language teachers

Three Comments:

1. It is incredibly cool that the PM of Australia can speak a bit of Mandarin. I’ve heard his welcome to China’s President Hu, delivered in Mandarin, and while I can’t give him high marks for pronunciation and diction, I give him great credit for being willing to open his mouth and speak Mandarin to China’s President.

2. There are apparently over 150 Chinese teachers in Australia. For a country with Australia’s population, that’s a fair number. I expect to see it grow over time. Despite my doubts about the effectiveness of many Chinese teaching programs in the English-speaking world, I applaud efforts to increase understanding of Chinese language and culture.

3. This has nothing to do with speaking or learning Chinese, but I freaking love Australia. Incredible place.



Filed under Greater Asia, Language, The Learning Chinese Craze

4 responses to “Learning Chinese in Australia

  1. I suspect there are more that 150 Chinese teachers in Australia.
    Perth has 4 or 5 Saturday Chinese schools attended mostly by children of Chinese families. But I was surprised to see a few Australian kids in these over the years. Though 2 hours on Saturday does not give kids fluency it does at least keep the spark of a second language alive.
    For me, the chance to learn a second language while growing up in small town Australia was pretty well zero. Speaking another language was very “uncool”.

  2. truettblack

    Steve, I’ve never responded to your comment.

    Very interesting. Is is possible that the news report got the statistic on the number of Chinese teachers in Australia wrong? Heaven forbid (wink).

    Have you learned Chinese since you’ve been in Taiwan?

  3. truettblack,
    I learnt Chinese on and off for 3 years about 15 years ago. Since back in Taiwan this time I have not really improved. My children surpassed me after about 3 months here!

    Just read this article today about Australia, Rudd and Asian languages. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24173572-421,00.html

  4. truettblack

    That is an interesting article, Steve, and an interesting proposal. Obviously a pet issue for the PM, as he is a Chinese speaker.

    Will be very interesting to observe the implementation process of the program Mr. Rudd is pushing. I hope it is done intelligently. As an unabashed Aussie-phile, I suspect that it will be.

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