Journal for Language Teaching

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Foreign language policy and the development of Mandarin Chinese in the United States

YW Qi, E Lemmer


This paper discusses the development offoreign language policy in higher educationin the United States (US) and indicates gaps in the study of foreign languages in highereducation in that country. A discussion of current policy, provision, programmes andfunding of foreign languages in higher education are presented, focusing on Title VI:The provision of the National Defense Education Act associated with foreign languagestudy. The most recent policy for the teaching of modern foreign languages in highereducation and the motivation behind such policy-making in the US are exploredin detail. The extension of the teaching of Mandarin inspired by rapid economicdevelopment in China and strengthened by the demands of the language ‘market’ andthe national strategy of the US is investigated. Concrete recommendations for thepolicy and provision of Mandarin instruction in higher education are proposed. Finally,the status of Mandarin in the study of foreign languages in the US is indicated: theteaching of Mandarin lags behind some European languages and is generally taught atelementary level.

Keywords: Language policy and provision, Mandarin Chinese, higher education
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