Should We Learn Chinese in University?
Kim Lim Minji  |  smt_kmj@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2016.06.09  20:16:10
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Recently, China has raised its status in the world.  There are Chinese experts influencing all aspects of life from world markets to global politics.  Due to its geographical proximity, Korea is especially influenced, which has driven the number of people learning Chinese to soar.  According to one recent report, about 70% of people taking the HSK are Korean. Then, could you imagine Korea schools switch from English-mediated lectures to Chinese-mediated lectures?  A number of people consider this good policy that fits today’s global generation, but there are others who think Chinese language has yet to reach a global impact and disagree with learning Chinese.  Sookmyungians were asked their opinions on the issue.


-Debate Topic-

Chinese should be a compulsory subject at universtiy.





Yun Dahye

Department of French Language & Culture ’16





Chinese language should become a mandatory subject at university.  Chinese is the world’s next global language.  Thanks to development of travel means and communication, the world is truly becoming a global society.  Thus, people are now able to meet individuals from all walks of life and from all over the world.  In this global society, China’s current market scale and economic power are huge and strong considerably.  Additionally, Chinese is spoken by the second largest number of people in the world, and that means it also has strong power like China.  People will soon be communicating with each other in Chinese to interact with China.  Thus, university should offer chinese-mediated lectures as mandatory subjects for students.  Second, it is unnecessary for all students to continue taking English classes at university mandatorily.  Because Korean students learn English from the time they enter elementary school, repeatedly forcing them to learn English is inefficient.  Students already possess adequate proficiency in English speaking and writing, and they have had more than enough opportunity to develop their ability.  Thus, it would be more meaningful and to have them learn Chinese.  Last of all, Chinese is easier to learn than other languages.  Many people suffer from a grammar of language when they learn another language.  However, learning Chinese grammar is easier than other languages because it has very simple sentence structure.  Students learning Chinese could then more actively participate in other aspects of language learning besides grammar like conversation, discussion, and writing.  To sum up, learning Chinese at university would prepare students for the global world without causing them great academic stress, so I agree that Chinese language learning should become compulsory.




Mun Garam

Division of Law ’15





What is the purpose of a compulsory subject?  Most universities require their students to take a certain number of mandatory subjects in order to graduate from a particular major because it is believed those subjects nurture understanding and comprehension of students.  Is Chinese language a subject everyone must learn?  Indeed, the political and economic state of China is growing daily, but the number of countries that use Chinese only totals one-third of that using English.  In other words, it would be more advantageous for students to be provided with more advanced English language courses rather than making Chinese a compulsory subject.  Second, learning Chinese at university is not efficient.  No one knows for sure how many Chinese characters exist.  Even the Chinese Education Ministry has publically announced that there are only 8,105 common and accepted standard characters.  The number of letters for Hanguel is 24 and the number of alphabet letters for the English language is 26, but the number of Chinese characters is in the thousands.  Also, even if the Chinese pronunciation is the same, if you stress it differently —there are 4 different stresses— the word takes on a completely different meaning.  Taking a Chinese language course would only give students 45 hours per semester of exposure to the language.  Moreover, Koreans have had exposure to English since elementary school and many still cannot discuss or write perfectly, so 45 hours is not sufficient to learn Chinese.  Lastly, the cost would be too great.  The school would have to prepared new textbooks, new curricula, and employ native Chinese professors if it were to make Chinses language a compulsory subject.  In other words, the educational benefits fall far behind the cost.  Consequently, I disagree with making Chinese language a mandatory subject at university.



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