20
Aug
07

China, the great promoter of Olympic English

…I do believe that Gu asks a valid question – why is China promoting someone else’s language?  My question is why are Chinese so keen to use English to speak to foreigners?  Lots of Chinese-speaking foreigners have recounted stories of being spoken to in terrible English, even though they can speak excellent Mandarin.  There seems to be reluctance to accept that many foreigners can speak Chinese and are willing to converse with the locals in their own language.  Perhaps Chinese feel threatened by foreigners speaking Chinese.  It almost seems like a condescending attitude to speak to foreigners in Chinese because they are too stupid to learn Chinese.  Or perhaps Chinese feel uncomfortable to directly communicate to foreigners, preferring to hide behind the veil of a foreign language.  Whatever it is, it sure feels strange and it’s probably a great shame. 

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