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Roycemore School and Northwestern University Center for Talent Development (CTD) Chinese Language and Culture Program

Roycemore School and Northwestern University Center for Talent Development (CTD) Chinese Language and Culture Program

Have you ever wondered about the benefits of learning the Chinese language?  When reflecting on options for fulfilling your high school world language requirement, you might immediately think of Spanish, French, or one of the other languages that originated in western Europe.  However, there are good reasons to consider enrolling in a Chinese language course.  Did you know that China is one of the world’s oldest and richest continuous civilizations?  Archeological evidence indicates that contemporary Chinese culture can trace its ancestral roots to over 5,000 years ago.

In addition to this, China is the most populous nation in the world with approximately 1.39 billion people.  For this reason, the Chinese language, inclusive of all its regional variations or ‘dialects’, is the most widely spoken world language with approximately 1.28 billion speakers worldwide (16% of the world’s population).  Of these, 917 million people speak Mandarin.  In addition to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Mandarin is spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.  Learning this language gives you access to communicate with many people and connect on a deeper level!

Consider also that China is renowned for producing beautiful works of literature: poetry, philosophical texts, historical and biographical prose, novels, short stories, and more recently excellent films.  On the business front, China is one of the largest trading partners of the United States: many US companies do business in China and have long-term investments there.

Perhaps you feel somewhat daunted by learning a language that has a reputation for being hard to master, compared to, for example, other world languages that are based on alphabetic scripts.  You might be surprised to find out that learning Mandarin is easier than you think. Unlike French, German, or English, Chinese has no verb conjugation, no tenses, no noun declension (e.g., gender and number distinctions), and no rules of pluralization.  Even though there are over 80,000 Chinese characters, only about 3,500 are used on a daily basis.

Because of its unique writing system, learning Chinese is also artistic.  Chinese characters are iconographic symbols rather than letters.  These symbols and characters were traditionally created with a writing brush using ‘strokes’ similar to painting.  So, from the standpoint of neuropsychology, studies have shown that Mandarin speakers use both sides of their brains.

Beyond the language, there is rich Chinese culture. Chinese cuisine boasts some unique and exquisite dishes not found anywhere else and is a joy to behold, so the language will acquaint you with the types of food not found in your local Chinese restaurant.

Roycemore School is partnering with Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) to offer a Mandarin I course to high school students at both institutions for the 2022-2023 academic year. Students from both institutions in grades 6-12 who meet the eligibility requirements are able to register for the course.

For Roycemore students, the course includes a classroom component on the Roycemore campus and will run from August 30, 2022 through June 8, 2023. CTD students will complete the course asynchronously.  The CTD session begins on September 1, 2022, with additional enrollments on September 15 and October 1, and the course ends on April 30, 2023.

CTD students may register online beginning in late June or early July.  Roycemore students in grades 9-12 should complete the usual course planning requirements with the Upper School Division Head, Ms. Stefanie Rivera.