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China-Russia reciprocal language years bear fruit

11-25-2010 08:57 BJT

MOSCOW, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- The grand closing ceremony of the 2010 Chinese Language Year in Russia held here Wednesday marked the official end to the reciprocal language year programs between China and Russia over the past two years.

The programs, which have yielded rich fruits and have been of far-reaching significance, have enhanced the interest of the Chinese and Russian peoples to learn each other's languages.

The programs also helped to enhance the countries' mutual understanding and traditional friendship, and advanced the social basis for the deepening of bilateral political trust and pragmatic cooperation.

CATALYST FOR LANGUAGE LEARNING CRAZE

After the staging of national years in 2006 and 2007, the reciprocal language years in 2009 and 2010 further sparked a learning craze in China and Russia for each other's language.

During the "Chinese sing Russian songs" competition hosted by China last year, more than 12,000 people participated. Russian judges were carried away by emotion when contestants beautifully performed "Evening Near Moscow," "Troika," and other old Russian songs.

While tens of thousands of Chinese can sing "Katyusha," multitudes of Russian families this year regularly watched a Chinese teaching program on TV called "Hello, China."

Via the multimedia Chinese teaching program, Russian TV channel Culture introduced China with a poetic description of the Yellow River, the cradle of Chinese civilization.

To date, more than 10,000 Russian students are learning Chinese in more than 100 universities in China. At the same time, more than 130 universities and dozens of middle and primary schools in Russia are offering Chinese courses to many thousands of students.

During the Chinese Language Year in 2010, five new Confucius Institutes were launched across Russia, bringing the total number of institutes up to 17, along with three Confucius Classrooms.

Even President Dmitry Medvedev said he was interested in learning Chinese. During his September visit to the Dalian Institute of Foreign Languages in northeast China, Medvedev said "maybe I will learn Chinese after my retirement. Chinese is as hard as Russian, but it is interesting."


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