Thursday, March 30, 2017

More African languages to be taught in China

The Beijing Foreign Studies University, abbreviated BFSU or BeiWai (from the Chinese 北外) recently announced addition of eleven new language offerings to its curriculum, of which six are African (links on language names below are to Wikipedia articles):
  • Comorian (Shikamori or Shimasiwa)
  • Creole (actually the Mauritian variety of what is sometimes called "Ile de France Creole," and which is known locally as Morisyen)
  • Ndebele (the isiNdebele of Zimbabwe, which is "essentially a dialect of Zulu; separate from isiNdebele of South Africa)
  • Shona (chiShona)
  • Tigrinya (ትግርኛ)
  • Tswana (Setswana)
For many years, only Swahili (Kiswahili) and Hausa (Harshen Hausa) were taught in China (see mention of this in a 2005 post on this blog). In his recent updated article on African studies in China,* Prof. LI Anshan mentioned research done in Hausa by the Chinese scholar, SUN Xiaomeng.

In recent years, however, BeiWai has instituted instruction of Afrikaans, Amharic (አማርኛ), Malagasy (Fiteny malagasy), Somali (Af-Soomaali), and Zulu (isiZulu). The Beijing Review had an article about this process last year. Apparently BeiWai is planning to continue to expand the number of African languages taught over the next few years.

Thanks to Amb. SHU Zhan for the information he shared on this topic following my questions to the Chinese in Africa/Africans in China list, and to Dr. Michael ERARD for alerting us about BeiWai's announcement via Twitter.

* Li Anshan, "African Studies in China in the 21st Century: A Historiographical Survey, " Brazilian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, Jul./Dec. 2016, pp.48-88 (PDF).

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