Eric L. Einspruch
Principal, ELE Consulting, LLC
March 4, 2020
I was recently asked to comment on the value of learning world languages. My perspective is informed primarily by my study of Mandarin Chinese at the Confucius Institute at Portland State University (CIPSU), where I have taken language classes, music classes, and received tutoring since 2011. I have also twice participated in a two-week summer language program at Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China. As markers of having achieved a bit of progress, I have passed the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) Level 4 written exam, the Hanyu Shuiping Kouyu Kaoshi Intermediate Level oral exam, and the Chinese Central Conservatory of Music Yangqin (扬琴, Chinese Dulcimer) Level 2 exam.
The Value of World Language Study
My comments, given in Chinese and prepared with help from one of my teachers, are provided below. I begin by providing a brief self-introduction: I am an independent researcher and program evaluator, an adjunct professor at Portland State University [in the College of Urban and Public Affairs and in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health]. I am the Chair of the CIPSU Advisory Board [Editor’s note: PSU ended its CI program in 2021], and I am a student of Chinese language and music. I then say that I want to speak to three points. …