What is up with UCLA’s Chinese placement test?  Currently students may only take the placement test in the Mandarin dialect, the standard language of mainland China and Taiwan.

Of course, Mandarin is a very useful dialect to know, since it is the most widely spoken language in the world today.  However, Cantonese is a major Chinese dialect and is spoken in southeastern China and overseas Chinese communities around the globe.

It strikes me as odd that a Cantonese speaker who is literate in Chinese but does not speak Mandarin would need to take two courses (Mandarin for Cantonese Speakers) in order to fulfill the language requirement using “Chinese.”

Although Cantonese is just one out of many languages and dialects in the world, since UCLA has quite a few Cantonese-speaking students, I feel that it deserves to be treated as a “language” in this context.

–posted by Debbie Chong


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