Crazy English in China

Fascinating piece about this guy Li Yang teaching "Crazy English" to huge crowds of people in China. His technique is rather unique, but I can see how it may have significant benefits for anyone learning another language as an adult. The larger language issue in China, though, is illustrated by this utterly amazing quote from the article: "Linguists estimate the number of Chinese now studying or speaking English at between two hundred million and three hundred and fifty million, a figure that’s on the order of the population of the United States." Just think about that. Just think about how that changes things in the future with language barriers beginning to melt away and what means for global communications and global economics. Also, Ampontan has a detailed analysis of the article that's well worth reading and adds some interesting context from Japan.
Comments:

Think about India, with a 1B+ population and a significant headstart (over China) in the regular use of English. One of the primary reasons outsourcing is concentrated in India is because of the prevalence of English.
English is taught in all colleges and in most schools, so most of the graduating public in India is English-literate (loosely speaking, without getting into the semantics of what this means. The cynic will point out that the graduating public in the US may not be English-literate either :-)
I agree with the observation: the culture is changing, esp. with countries, formerly not English-friendly needing to pick up the language (in SW industry, this is notably China and Russia). Heck, even France is becoming more English (the language) friendly!

Vijay

Posted by Vijay Tatkar on May 07, 2008 at 08:07 PM JST #

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