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June 12, 2009

China as the largest English speaking nation?

Sometimes it seems that the whole world is learning English. Is there an "English Mania"? Should there be?

Jay Walker thinks so. In his TED talk he....

...paints a picture of English as being the language of international "problem solving" just as math is the universal language of numbers and music is the international language of feeling and one aspect of artistic expression.

Take a look at this short (about four minutes) video with some sobering video clips of crowds of Chinese students practicing their English or studying literally for years for their exams (in English) on their way to graduate school or a professional career with the English language as its core.

If you have forgotten how massive (and fanatical) as well as crucial English mastery has become, take a look at the video at - http://www.ted.com/talks/jay_walker_on_the_world_s_english_mania.html.

All the TED lectures are great - but some, like this one, are pivotal and life changing.

If this excerpt had perked up your interest, there will be a TED sponsored conference in Oxford, England in July.
Here's a short overview:
" When we look around us there are things we can observe: Buildings. People. Nature. And then there are things that run unseen through our lives. These hidden forces -- social conventions, biological links, cultural frameworks, coded meanings -- are the connective tissue that binds societies together, the engines that propel organizations and individuals forward."

And here are just a few of the questions that will be addressed:
* What is an accomplished life?
* Which universe do we live in?
* Is life a mathematical equation?
* Where does motivation come from?
* Who's defining the new geopolitical map?
* How can we observe what we can't see?
* Can we design the air we breathe?
* What's the economic impact of terrorism?
* Should we fear faith?
* What makes big cities function?
* Can a solar-powered plane fly?
* What's the power of music?
* Can we put biodiversity in a bank?
* How does the brain create the mind?

If this looks good to you, here's the link - http://conferences.ted.com/TEDGlobal2009/program/.

Those of us who are learning, teaching or using English are part of something far larger than we can see. There's a lot going on, and whether we know it or not, we are leading the way.

Later this summer I'll be hosting some contests where I'll be giving away books and CDs. Stay tuned here - and send me some of your suggestions for great books, music or professional gatherings that help with language learning!

My best to you,


Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

I want to welcome readers to present thoughts on the ideal job. What do you most want to do? Where would you like to be? Who would you want to work with? Does anyone have a preferred work schedule?

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf currently teaches English and writing for a local technical/vocational college with many international students. Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else likes and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

He is also waiting for an irresistible job offer...

Posted by mmorf at June 12, 2009 12:11 AM

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