Time to Learn Mandarin
By Josephine Wang Candidate for State Senate, District 17
Josephine Wang’s multi-faceted career has included serving as an advisor to former President George H.W. Bush, and teaching assignments in New York City and Montgomery County Public Schools. She is an admirer of Condoleeza Rice and the main reason she is running for the State Senate in 2018 is her concern about the sanctuary state issue in Maryland (she’s against it). She is also pro-life, an advocate of school choice and individual gun rights.
Josephine, who is currently an At-Large member of the MCGOP Central Committee, believes that a well-rounded education should include learning Mandarin. After all, Confucius believed that “Learning comes from asking,” and who would have known better than the most revered sage in China and throughout Asia about the truth of this concept?
As a Mandarin instructor for 25 years to NIH scientists and retired MCPS principals, Ms. Wang often witnessed the need to learn Mandarin, the official dialect representing China at the United Nations. How about MCGOP members and beyond? Wang advises skeptics to tell themselves that second language acquisition isn’t hard at all.
There are three basic elements to learning any “foreign” language: sound, structure and meaning. Mandarin is no different except that the sound is tonal with 4 levels. The structure is quite different in that there is no conjugation as in English or any of the Romance languages, i.e., I go, you go, he, she goes, they, we all go! Verb tenses are added into verbs without conjugation, much like an auxiliary verb of have gone or had gone, etc.
The pronunciation of the following is essential to a modern day reading: Xi Jin Ping is pronounced with “X” as in “sheep;" “cats” with ts finals will be pronounced as initial blends; “zh” sounds like “j” in jump, Zhongguo (China); and finally, “q” is pronounced as “church” as in “please”…Qing. The above looks somewhat unfamiliar to non-Mandarin speakers, but these are the words you come across in reading the Post or other forms of printed material.
Since President Xi will be the “emperor” for as long as he wants, Josephine believes that we need to learn his ways, not just by eating Chinese food, but by becoming well versed in Chinese history and language in order to develop better understanding and communication with China for years to come.