On the Possibility of Mandarin Chinese as a Lingua Franca

Christopher Plumb

Abstract


Recently there has been an increase in the number of students learning Mandarin Chinese (in mainland China and internationally). This increase has led to speculation that Mandarin Chinese is becoming a mainstream global language to the point of becoming a lingua franca. This paper utilizes research findings from different regions and focal points and argues that Mandarin Chinese could be accepted as a lingua franca within some contexts, but is unlikely to do so in others. It argues that Mandarin Chinese is generally accepted as the lingua franca of China and a possible lingua franca within the East Asian region, while unlikely to become a lingua franca globally. The paper compares a number of different reasons for studying Mandarin Chinese by different stakeholders (i.e. governments, school boards, individual students) as well as comparative numbers of language learners. This paper also examines if Mandarin is the dominant and undisputed form of global Chinese. It concludes by demonstrating that there is a greater need for further research into Mandarin Chinese as a lingua franca.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jei.v2i2.9458

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Journal of Educational Issues  ISSN 2377-2263

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