Chinese Language Day 2018 : What Is The Significance Of This Day?
Created by Nandini Muralidharan Updated on Apr 20, 2018
Did you know that the Mandarin dialect of Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world? And it is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations (UN). April 20th has been designated as the Chinese Language Day by the UN, in order to celebrate the language and promote its usage. Read on to find out more about the significance of Chinese Language Day.
History Of The Chinese Language DayThe UN has six official languages – English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Russian and French. In 2010, an official day for each language was reserved to celebrate diversity of language and culture, and to give focus to usage of the language. April 20th was reserved for the Chinese Language. The Chinese Language Day significance lies in the fact that it pays tribute to the mythical Cangjie, who is believed to have invented characters of the Chinese language. It also approximately corresponds to “Gu Yu” which is the increased growth of grain.
How Is Chinese Language Day Celebrated?The purpose of the Chinese Language Day is to make more people aware of the language, and grow interest in learning it. It is immensely beneficial to learn the language in order to understand the culture and economics of a place better. As part of the celebrations, the UN usually organizes exhibitions, calligraphy workshops, performances such as martial arts, and so on.
- One of the highlights of 2018 is the “Charm of Chinese Culture: From Characters to Literature” exhibition held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
- Books on Chinese culture, various aspects of Chinese history and economy as well as contemporary literature were displayed
- There are demonstrations of calligraphy, and other workshops to spark interest in the Chinese language
Awesome Facts About The Chinese LanguageApart from being one of the most ancient languages in the history of the world, Chinese is also the most widely used language. Here are some facts about the language:
- The Chinese language has many thousand dialects, the most widely spoken and understood being Mandarin. It is spoken by at least a billion people in the world
- The language has over 100,000 different symbols or characters, with new ones being created every day. There is no alphabet for the language – just these symbols or characters
- The way you speak a word or syllable makes a difference to what it means in Mandarin – there are four “tones”, each tone changing the meaning of the word
- You can write Chinese characters in one of three ways – top to bottom, right to left or left to right
- The grammar is much simpler than English grammar, and there are no conjugations for verbs, or nouns specific to gender
How To Celebrate Chinese Language Day With Your Child – Learn The Language!Children pick up languages with far lesser effort than adults. And when they learn before they hit their tweens – 11 or 12, then they can speak it pretty much like native speakers! So how do you get your child interested in learning the Chinese language? Mandarin is, after all, one of the more difficult languages to learn. Here are some tips to encourage your child to learn Mandarin:
Introduce the culture:Language is steeped in the culture of a place. So get your child interested in knowing about China, its people, festivals and geography. Have a Chinese New Year Celebration. Depending on the year, you can have your child make the respective symbol with craft supplies to put up at home. E.g. 2018 is the year of the Dog
Books with stories set in China:Children love stories. And they always have favorite book characters. So introduce well-written translations of books set in China with authentic characters. Your child will read about places, people and their mannerisms, the culture and gain an interest in the language itself
Food:Nothing spells culture and tradition as loudly and clearly as food! Join your child for a mom and me cooking session with Chinese food. It helps to take your child for a class where an expert can tell you all about the ingredients, where they are sourced from and what they are used for
Movies and cartoons:When it’s screen time, watch a children’s movie in Mandarin with subtitles, together. It’s a great way to hear native speakers speak the language
A language does far more than serve the purpose of basic communication. It helps your child understand a culture and place better. So, are you wondering how to celebrate Chinese Language Day? Enroll your child in a Mandarin class and let him soak in the culture!
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