On Learning Chinese

By Barry Hilton

Some western missionaries felt that Chinese was invented by Satan “to keep the gospel out of China.” Is it the most difficult language in the world?

If you ask professional linguists that question, most will probably say that every language is complex in some ways and simple in others, and that they average out to around the same level of complexity. But that’s probably not the kind of answer you’re looking for. If we ask, though, which language is hardest for native English speakers to learn, a pretty good case can be made for the group of closely related languages we call “Chinese”. Letís look at some of the reasons. More

Early Chinese Students in Maine (1909-29)

By Gary Libby

Gary Libby, who was instrumental in establishing the Chinese Archive at the Maine Historical Society, has continued his research into Chinese in Maine. The most recent result of these investigations is the following account of the very first Chinese college students in Maine institutions. This is the first part of a two-part series.

One of the consequences of the Boxer Uprising of 1900 was the arrival of Chinese students at Maine colleges.

Prior to that time, small numbers of Chinese students had come to America (as well as to Europe and Japan). The first to earn a degree was Yung Wing (Yale, class of 1854). By 1870 a Chinese Education Mission was established, at the urging of Yung Wing, now an Imperial official. In that year the first group of boys arrived in Connecticut. However the Chinese government abandoned the Mission in 1881 because the American government refused visas for its students to study at West Point and the Naval Academy (in violation of the 1868 Burlingame Treaty), and also because cultural conservatives in China had long been appalled at the students’ Americanization. More

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The Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine provides forums and outreach that promote cultural interchanges between the US and China.

Some rights reserved. Please share content responsibly. Banner image: Peonies, Yun Shouping (1633–1690), Public Domain via Wikipedia Commons. Produced by The Compass LLC.