Thursday, April 05, 2012

Putonghua or not

There is a hot debate whether Putonghua should be the main teaching language in schools in Hong Kong. Everything is possible but it does not mean everything is good. We know that PRC is the most populated country in the world. There are about 1.3 billion people in mainland China. Putonghua is the most commonly used in this country. Even though there are about 1.8 billion English speakers, Putonghua will be one of the most influential languages in the long run because of the number of speakers and the growing economic power of PRC. Hence, we need to learn Putonghua. Period.

Language is not only for communication but also for the creation of identity and culture. Though most of Hongkongers are Chinese and Hong Kong is part of People's Republic of China, they do speak Cantonese.   If Putonghua is chosen as main teaching language, mother tongue and cultural identity cannot be further developed. It will be a cultural disaster. It is the basic principle. Period.

For this reason, the dialects in different provinces should be protected and should be used as the teaching language.

Some other people would argue the huge amount of resources and time for switching teaching language. I would not think that it is the key point.

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