Chinese language on increase as business opportunities rise

Monday, 11 March 2002

THE study of the Chinese language Mandarin is seeing renewed interest at the University of Adelaide thanks to a growing potential for business links with China.

The University's Centre for Professional & Continuing Education (PCE), which offers a range of language courses to the general public and business communities, says more business people are becoming interested in Mandarin as a means to improve their ties with China.

Mandarin is the most widely spoken form of the Chinese language in mainland China. An estimated two-thirds of the population (more than 800 million people) speak Mandarin.

"With China's accession to the World Trade Organization and the awarding of the 2008 Olympic Games to Beijing, more and more businesses are focusing their attention on China," says Ms Sonya Perkins, manager of language programs at PCE.

"Our links with the business community suggest that there are many South Australian companies willing to develop or expand their business links with China. As a result, they see studying Mandarin as an investment in the future of their business."

Ms Perkins says some business people who already have a passing acquaintance with the Chinese language are enrolling in the PCE courses, because they also need to learn how to read and write Chinese.

"For many students, speaking the language is not enough -- they need to be able to recognise the characters and, in some cases, write them too."

The language courses offered by PCE also contain many useful tips about the culture surrounding the language, which can be beneficial to people seeking to travel to those countries for business or pleasure.

Enrolments in PCE's language programs have doubled in the last two years -- from 500 students in 1999 to more than 1000 last year. Enrolments in Mandarin have also jumped, from just 12 in 1999 to 42 last year.

"It will be very interesting to see what happens to our enrolments in Mandarin this year given the increase in previous years, and the interest we're getting from business," Ms Perkins says.

PCE offers classes in 12 languages, with more to be added later in the year. The languages currently on offer are: French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.

This semester's language classes begin on March 25, with enrolment still open.

For more information about any of the language programs on offer, call the Centre for Professional and Continuing Education: (08) 8303 4777.


Contact Details

Sonya Perkins
Business: +61 8 8313 4144

0414 584 559