“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

An Up-And-Coming Language?

with 6 comments

It is a shame that Ed Balls, is the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, doesn’t appear to have much of, er, an education. His comments concerning Mandarin suggested he should be better briefed by civil servants and not left on his own:

“In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and it’s vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly-changing world,” he said.

“That’s why we want all secondary pupils to have the opportunity to learn up-and-coming languages like Mandarin if they choose, either at their own school or a nearby school or college.”

More’s the pity that Ed Balls didn’t study basic history otherwise he’d know that Mandarin has been around for at least 600 years in various forms.

Whilst people in the West were struggling out of the Middle Ages, burning witches, murdering each other in abundance, China had a rich and diverse culture under the Ming dynasty.

Whilst Mr Balls’ ancestors were probably grubbing around looking for turnips (potatoes didn’t arrive from Latin America for another 300 years) in China they had invented the novel, paper and other wonders of the period.

Let’s hope that Ed doesn’t make a balls up again with China’s history or language.

Not forgetting that he’s the Minister for schools, oh yeah!

Written by modernityblog

05/01/2010 at 04:07

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

6 Responses

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  1. I suppose someone should mount a defense of poor Mr. Balls, whom I’ve never heard of and whose name is very amusing. I suppose what he means is that Mandarin is “up and coming” in the sense that is is a much more useful language to know than in was in, say, 1966.


    05/01/2010 at 23:14

  2. Mesq,

    Up and coming as in the new up and coming Google phone, Nexus?

    Up and coming as in the new release of netbooks, etc

    Yeah, the wording doesn’t really work, Ed Balls is one of Gordon Brown’s best buddies, and not thick by his bio on wiki, but he should choose his words more carefully next time.


    05/01/2010 at 23:30

  3. Oh, I agree. It does sound more than a little condescending.

    “Up and coming” is usually used to describe a promising high school athlete, not an ancient language spoken by a billion people.


    05/01/2010 at 23:36

  4. Me, though, I’m perfectly content to speak English. I mean, if it was good enough for Jesus….



    05/01/2010 at 23:41

  5. Is that what Mel Gibson’s been telling you?


    06/01/2010 at 03:14

  6. Naw. That’s a quote from Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, who in the 1920s was the first lady Governor of Texas. There was some controversy at the time over the use of Spanish in schools, I reckon.


    06/01/2010 at 13:27

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