MEITS Blog


Teaching standard Mandarin pronunciation to Mongolian learners over the past hundred years

by Jiaye Wu

Mandarin Chinese, an emerging key world business language, has become a foreign language option for some UK students in recent decades. Research into state secondary schools in England shows that only 7-8% offered Chinese as a subject in 2005 with this number nearly doubling to 13% in 2015. By 2020, the UK government hopes to have 400,000 students enrolled in Mandarin courses. In China, although Mandarin is the first language of the majority Han population, 106.43 million or 8.41 percent of the total population in China are ethnic minorities who speak other languages. While a high number of these also learn Mandarin as a second language, how different is the Mandarin taught to them compared with that taught to the mother-tongue Han students or to foreign students worldwide? Has this changed over time? In this blog, I will showcase how one particular ethnic minority group in China, the Mongolians, have been taught Mandarin pronunciation over the last hundred years.

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A Fieldwork trip to Multilingual Hohhot, Inner Mongolia

by Jiaye Wu

When the cold winter is well over, I have come to visit 呼和浩特 (Hohhot) in May for my PhD project which investigates the under-researched history of teaching and learning Mandarin Chinese as a second language to Mongolian minority groups in China since 1900. Hohot is the capital of North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region. 

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