Language Policy

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 27–52 | Cite as

Building Societal Capital: Chinese in the US

Article

ABSTRACT

Since the late 1980s, closely following the economic boom of the four tigers of Asia (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea) Chinese language programs have begun to take a foothold in the educational system of the US (Rhodes and Lucinda, 1997; Welles, ADFL Bulletin 35 (2004) 2). The rapid rise of the PRC as an emerging superpower in the past decade commands unprecedented attention from the international communities (World Bank (2002). Globalization, Growth, and Poverty: A World Bank Policy Research Report. Oxford University Press; Friedman (2005) The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux). This desire to establish Chinese programs is clearly demonstrated from a 2004 College Board survey, in which 2,400 US high schools indicated that they would be interested in offering Chinese programs that lead students to take the Advanced Placement Course and Examination for college credits (College Board (2004) http://www.collegeboard.com/press/article/0,,51453,00.html). While the survey reveals a fascination with Chinese which presents an opportunity for future expansion, the inadequacy of the entire Chinese language teaching field in the U.S. in responding to this demand is simultaneously exposed. This article analyzes the Chinese case specifically from the perspective of the presence of HL speakers and links between the HL reality of Chinese and the demand for Chinese as a foreign language. The outlines of a new paradigm for language planning in the US using the Chinese case emerge from this discussion.

Keywords

Chinese language education heritage languages language policy and planning 

Abbreviations

AYP

Annual Yearly Progress

CLASS-ES

Chinese Language Association of Secondary Schools and Elementary Schools

ELLs

English Language Learners

FLAP

Foreign Language Assistance Program

FL

Foreign Language

HL

Heritage Language

HKSAR

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

HSK

Chinese Proficiency Test for Foreigners

LOTE

Languages other than English

NCLB

No Child Left Behind Act

NCACLS

National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools

NDEA

National Defense Education Act

Hanban

The Office of Chinese Language Council International (www. hanban.edu.cn)

NSEP

National Security Education Program

NFLC

National Foreign Language Center

NFLI

National Flagship Language Initiative

NSLI

National Security Language Initiative

PRC

People’s Republic of China

US

United States of America

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Notes

Acknowledgement

The author wishes to thank Dr. Carol Ann Dahlberg for her comments on the draft of this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chinese Language InitiativesAsia SocietyNew YorkUSA

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