Fascinating article on the switch to Mandarin from Cantonese in American Chinatowns from the NYT. One of the accomplishments of the PRC has been universal Mandarin instruction, providing the country with a standard dialect for the first time in its history. American multiculturalists undervalue universal English – one of the reasons India lags behind China is the lack of a truly common tongue. Hindi is not even 50% of the population, and English a distant second. Though China has a multitude of dialects, the younger generation in China have all been taught Mandarin, providing a solid foundation for economic growth.
Now if only Mandarin were a straightforward, non-tonal, alphabetical language!