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Chinese for Nannies

China is likely to be a world economic leader for the foreseeable future and it's unlikely that the entire population of China will learn English.

In the UK the order of the day is to have a Chinese nanny or housekeeper. This so that the young children can learn Chinese for the future. This is not a bad idea, given that China is likely to be a world economic leader for the foreseeable future and it's unlikely that the entire population of China will learn English.

In previous days it was considered very smart to have a French nanny, so that the little future citizens could grow up speaking fluent French. So those forward thinking people are giving their little treasures the edge by learning Chinese at an early age. It is probable that this is happening on the East and West coasts of the US as well, where Spanish was the preferred second language. I haven't heard of it being a popular move yet in any other Western countries.

It is also preferable to learn second languages when one is very young, when it absorbed easily and there is a native person to chat with on a daily basis. So soon we will have a whole generation of English and Chinese (hopefully Mandarin, as that is predominant Chinese language) speaking people, which can only be good. Furthermore Chinese is a very difficult language to learn to speak and write so the earlier the better!

Of course we are only repeating what has gone before. When the world was colonised by various European countries, the children of the new colony learned the language of their coloniser, so they would speak their native language and another new generally European language. Throughout Africa we have all the native tribal languages plus the natives of Africa usually speak English, French German, Portuguese and Belgian. The Spanish largely headed west to acquire their new lands and thus we have the whole of South America speaking largely Spanish and some Portuguese.

The days when we could browbeat whole countries to learn our languages are long gone, thank goodness. However the ability to speak several languages is still a major advantage for those who can. It is also a massive benefit in bridging the cultural gap. It will also give those future job seekers a big advantage as the demand for second language speakers grows with the language jobs market growing all the time.

We should be very grateful for Nannies, missionaries, teachers and anyone who can spread another way to communicate.

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Jane Merrow is the owner of, a multilingual jobsite offering Recruiters and multilingual Jobseekers the opportunity to find each other online. She has many years’ experience in the multilingual recruitment area

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