Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language: Character Issue and Other Considerations


Modern Languages & Literatures Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Arts and Humanities


In one of his Lingua Franca posts entitled More on How to Argue for Foreign-Language Instruction (March 2, 2012) in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Geoffrey Pullum argues that the academic institutions do not make a good case for foreign-language instruction in the current financial stringency. To support his own view about writing system instruction, Pullum quotes Victor Mairs anti-conventional stance about learning Chinese characters. Victor Mair (U. Penn) is quoted as saying: It’s a tragedy that so many young Americans spend years stuffing their heads with hundreds of Chinese characters, gaining no usable proficiency, and then forgetting them all by the time they’re 25.

Conference Name

2012 Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs

Conference Location

Kalamazoo, Michigan

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