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Will Chinese go the way of Japanese?

April 13, 2012

Whither (not “Wither”) Japanese?

By Anthony Jackson on February 7, 2012 5:44 AM

Global economic trends have far-reaching effects. For instance, the language learning decisions made by students and their families often have to do with perceptions of future employability. I’ve asked one of Asia Society’s resident polyglots, Chris Livaccari, to reflect on this trend and put it in context. What follows is his advice to schools and policymakers.

by Chris Livaccari

Japan bestrode the 1980s like an economic Colossus. As a student of the Chinese and Japanese languages in the early 1990s, I lived in the world of Japan as Number One, where business gurus promised to unravel the Enigma of Japanese Power—to cite the names of just two popular books of the day, the first written by Harvard professor Ezra Vogel in 1979 and the second by Dutch journalist Karel van Wolferen in 1989.

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