Monday, March 12, 2012

It's the Wei of the future: BBC launches cartoon Mandarin lessons to prepare children for a Chinese-dominated global economy

Children as young as four will learn to speak Mandarin thanks to a BBC series that starts today.

An animated bug called Wei, who wears rollerskates and a crash helmet, will teach young viewers basic vocabulary such as the words for 'hello', 'thank you', the names of colours and numbers up to 10.

It has been suggested that the decision to include Mandarin alongside the two other 'priority' languages - French and Spanish - was driven by calls for children to be prepared for a global economy dominated by China.

Makers of the show, which will be broadcast on CBeebies, promise to expand youngsters' horizons, 'extending their cultural knowledge and understanding of the world around them'.

Other languages featured in the 11-minute episodes include Polish, Urdu, Punjabi and Somali, as well as Welsh. Read More

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