Encyclopedia of Language and Education

2008 Edition
| Editors: Nancy H. Hornberger

The Ecology of the Chinese Language in the United States

  • Shuhan C. Wang
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_229


Increasingly, leaders across public and private sectors are recognizing the rise of Asia as one of the central facts of the twenty‐first century. Fundamental to this shift is China's tremendous economic growth and emergence as a social and political leader in the region. Responding to these changes, the educational system in the USA is scrambling to increase the number of American students who can demonstrate a functional proficiency in Chinese (Asia Society, 2005). The same task, only a few decades ago, would have been inconceivable. What are the factors that affect the prestige, desirability, and marketability of a language other than English? In order to answer this question, this chapter takes an ecological perspective by examining the Chinese case in the USA.

As a nation of immigrants, the USA has been caught in the ideological struggle about languages between unum (assimilationist) and pluribus (pluralist), which is symbolized in the motto of the nation, E pluribus...


Chinese Language Immigrant Child Chinese Immigrant Dominant Society Heritage Language 
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Useful Websites

  1. Chinese School Association in the United States http://www.csaus.org/
  2. College Board Advance Placement Homepage http://www.apcentral.collegeboard.com
  3. Families with Children from China http://www.fwcc.org
  4. Joint National Committee for Languages http://www.languagepolicy.org
  5. National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools http://www.ncacls.org/
  6. National Language Conference http://www.nlconference.org
  7. National Security Language Initiative http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/spotlight/NSLI
  8. The Office of Chinese Language Council International http://www.hanban.edu.cn

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuhan C. Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Asia SocietyNew YorkUSA