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Culture

THE SPANISH TAKES ITS FIRST STEPS IN CHINA TO GET OUT OF THE CLASSROOMS TO THE STREETS

Shanghai (China) / These are sweet times for Spanish in China, with a very pronounced growth of speakers, thanks to the Government’s promotion policies that are making the second most spoken language in the world take its first steps to get out of the classrooms to the streets.

“Spanish is in fashion in China and has come to stay,” says EFE Inmaculada González Puy, director of the Cervantes Institute in Beijing, who says that little by little the Spanish is “positioning strongly” in the most populated country on the planet as the second most spoken foreign language (after English).

In this school year, high school students can choose Spanish as a second language and even examine it to access the University, a situation that will make the number of Spanish speakers multiply in the coming years.

Like most changes in China, the economy is behind the decision of the Ministry of Education, since the commercial relations between China and the Spanish-speaking countries, especially Latin Americans, have multiplied in recent years.

Therefore, most people who study Spanish in China (about 40,000, according to official data), do so for work reasons. Fiona Xu, a graduate student of Spanish linguistics, meets the majority profile of the Spanish speaker.

“It’s the language of the future (…) When I decided my career, I thought that if I studied Spanish I could have more opportunities to find a job”, tells EFE.

Xu studies at the University of International Studies of Shanghai (SISU), where the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) inaugurated a research center to promote the study of the language of Cervantes in China.

In his foray into this language, explains the 25-year-old, she has fallen in love with the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, he has marveled at the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the cinema by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, her favourite.

Yolanda He, 22 years old and also a graduate student, says she also chose it for his future career.

However, along the way he discovered that Spanish is a language “that sounds very beautiful” and that it is true that they say that “it’s the language to talk to God” because of its musicality, she explains to EFE.

Although these two students are the clear example of the motivations of the students to choose the career of Hispanic Philology, Gonzalez Puy tells that in the Cervantes Institute they have detected that in the last years the number of people who study it by hobby is growing, ” simply because they likes culture”. “That profile that was non-existent is now being seen a lot,” she adds.

“I can see it by their eyes, in my class they have a lot of passion when I put a music or a movie, I think Hispanic culture is very attractive,” says Graciela Ding, a Spanish teacher at SISU.

Even so, there is still a long time to go before the Spanish language is as popular among Chinese as it can be English, since, for example, it is very difficult to study it by hobby, self-taught, because there are no good manuals, the teacher. She herself, she explains to EFE, is designing one to fill these gaps.

“Nowadays, with the books already published in the market they can’t learn by their selves, they have to go to a language school”, reaffirms Adela Shen, also a Spanish teacher at SISU.

Even so, she also perceives that there are more and more people outside the University who want to approach the Hispanic, in part because “the propaganda that is made in Latin America in the tourist and economic sphere is increasing”. “Even in the cartoons my son sees, there are words in Spanish,” she says.

Shen works with a high municipal government authority that will soon travel to Latin America and wants to learn Spanish.

“It’s rare in China because normally a leader always has his or her partner or translators and yet he wants and insists on coming to our university to learn basic Spanish,” she says.

This case, says the teacher, “is a sample” that the Spanish revolution “is already beginning” and, as the director of Cervantes affirms, the language of “Don Quixote” has come to China to stay. (September 29, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

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Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)

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Question 1
En el texto se dice que...  
A
se está reduciendo el número de personas que tienen interés en aprender español en China.
B
el idioma español está siendo cada vez más estudiado en China.
C
no hay constancia de que haya aumentado el número de personas que estudian el español en China.
Question 2
Según el texto, se ha incrementado el número de estudiantes...
A
que estudian español en China ya que el propio Gobierno ha impulsado una serie de medidas que han favorecido dicho crecimiento.
B
españoles que estudian en China por las políticas adoptadas por el Gobierno chino.
C
que estudian español en China a pesar de que el Gobierno chino aún no ha adoptado ninguna medida que favorezca dicho crecimiento.
Question 3
Según el texto, al Gobierno chino le interesa que se aprenda el idioma español...  
A
ya que lo considera importante para hacer negocios con países hispanohablantes.
B
solo porque les gusta cómo es la cultura de los hispanohablantes.
C
ya que considera que es el idioma más hablado del mundo.
Question 4
En la noticia se dice que...      
A
se espera que aumente el número de chinos que estudian español.
B
se descarta la posibilidad de que el español sea cada vez más estudiado en las aulas chinas.
C
es posible que se reduzca el número de estudiantes chinos interesados en aprender español.
Question 5
El español podrá ser elegido como segunda lengua por los estudiantes de secundaria.    
A
Para nada.
B
¡Imposible saberlo!
C
Así es.
Question 6
Hay muchas personas chinas que estudian español por motivos laborales.
A
Claro que sí.
B
En absoluto.
C
No se sabe.
Question 7
En el texto se dice que Adela Shen considera que...    
A
cada vez hay menos estudiantes chinos que van a una escuela para aprender español ya que ellos pueden aprenderlo de forma autodidacta.
B
cualquier persona de China puede aprender español sin problemas sin tener que ir a una escuela.
C
por ahora es imposible que una persona de China pueda aprender español por sí misma.
Question 8
En el vídeo se dice que...    
A
la RAE inauguró un centro de estudios de la lengua española en una universidad china.
B
es posible que la RAE abra un centro de estudios de la lengua española en la capital de China.
C
la RAE acaba de inaugurar un centro de estudios de la lengua española en la capital de China
Question 9
Según el vídeo, Villanueva considera que...    
A
aún no se piensa en China que estudiar español sea útil.
B
es muy significativo que el idioma español entre el grupo de las lenguas opcionales en la enseñanza secundaria en China.
C
no es muy significativo que el español pueda ser estudiado en la enseñanza secundaria.
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