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‘Language abilities could propel people’s understanding of Chinese culture’: Utah senator

By Zhao Tong (People's Daily Online)    17:34, November 12, 2019

Jacob Jake L. Anderegg is being interviewed on Nov. 8, 2019 in Beijing. (People’s Daily Online/Zhao Tong)

A Utah senator has highlighted the important role of the Chinese language in understanding China’s culture, and in communicating with Chinese people deeply.

“You actually understand China better by knowing Chinese,” Jacob Anderegg, a Utah senator, told People’s Daily Online.

He said that when people speak the same language, people can communicate effectively, including people’s ideas, concepts and visions. When people from different countries have language barriers, sometimes it's really hard to help people understand each other. Yet when people have common ties such as a common language, it makes the progress going forward so much easier.

Without knowing China’s language and culture, some Westerners have had some controversial views about the Confucius Institute’s language teaching motives. "people who have those types of criticisms by in large don't have a lot of experience working one on one with China, having friendships with Chinese, or knowing the culture of China. Teachers in the Confucius Institutes are fantastic. ”said Anderegg, who believes that language abilities could propel people’s understanding of Chinese culture.

He mentioned that China and the United States are the first and second largest economies on the planet. The two countries are going to be working together for a long time. They can work through whatever problems they have today.

“China needs the United States and the United States needs China,” said Anderegg.

Anderegg had a negotiation with officials of Confucius Institute headquarters about incorporating the HSK into the certification program for language learning in American high schools on Nov. 8, 2019 in Beijing. He said that the negotiations extended into discussions about evaluations of the test itself to make sure that it meets various levels of students that are studying Chinese.

Utah is the leading state when it comes to implementing the Chinese language immersion program. Out of 50 American states, Utah represents about one percent of the entire American population, but it represents 33 percent of all Chinese language learning, according to Anderegg.

“There are more than 14,000 students throughout the state who are speaking, learning and can communicate in Chinese at the elementary school level, which is uncommon amongst other states in the United States,” said Anderegg.

Anderegg told People’s Daily Online that they will be able to establish a good working relationship, and he hoped to figure out a pathway forward. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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