Mandarin hits a higher tone

13th January 2012 at 00:00
A Glasgow pupil is preparing for the UK final of a Chinese language competition. Elizabeth Buie reports

A pupil from Glasgow's Hillhead High will show off her Mandarin Chinese skills at the X Factor-style final of a national contest next month.

The HSBCBritish Council competition promotes the teaching of Mandarin Chinese to non-native speakers in the UK. Ellie Koepplinger (S4), whose mother is British and father American, won the northern heat at Newcastle and will take part in the final at the British Museum in London.

The finalists will compete in either the individual language ability section or the group performance section.

Individual contestants give a short prepared presentation in Mandarin, translate sentences from English into Mandarin and are tested on their knowledge of China and Chinese culture, while groups of between four and six students perform a piece of drama, dance or poetry in Chinese.

Willie Wight, headteacher of Hillhead High, part of Scotland's Confucius Classroom Hub network, says: "Ellie has been learning Mandarin as her chosen language since her S2 options. She has a passion for learning, especially Mandarin, and has fully embraced both Chinese language and culture."

Martin Davidson, chief executive of the British Council and a fluent Chinese speaker, says: "Having a good knowledge of Mandarin Chinese has never been so important. With China recently becoming the world's second-biggest economy, our children need to understand China in all its facets if we are to be successful in working together, whether in business or in other ways in the future.

"This competition rewards students who make the effort to master the Mandarin language, and it is one of many ways in which the British Council is helping children in the UK to prepare for life in a global society and work in a global economy."

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