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Mandarin Chinese becoming first choice as second language

November 11, 2012

POSTED:   10/22/2012 12:01:00 AM MDT
UPDATED:   10/22/2012 07:50:58 PM MDT

By Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post

Fifth-grader Lucy Miller, 11, works on speaking Mandarin Chinese during class at Erie Elementary School. More than 60 schools in Colorado are offering Mandarin classes to help students get a foundation in international business. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

Ivie Hunt was barely 6 last spring and had just finished kindergarten when she shocked the hostess at a Denver Asian restaurant by chatting comfortably in Mandarin Chinese.

“Here was this little blond, white girl having a full conversation with the hostess in Mandarin,” said her mother, Ann Hunt, who admitted to being a bit stunned herself.

That kind of surprise may wear off as Mandarin Chinese becomes the first choice of a growing number of second-language learners.

More language students are sayingadiosto the recent stampede to learn Spanish andhuan ying— or welcome — to mastering a Chinese dialect now spoken by an estimated 100 million non-Chinese.

Read more:Mandarin Chinese becoming first choice as second language – The Denver Post
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