Students of Chinese all learn a language called Putonghua, but where did it come from? And why is it so hard to learn? This talk will cover the tortured history of Chinese language reform in the 20th century, and will explain why many Chinese intellectuals wanted to abolish Chinese and replace it with Esperanto, and how Chairman Mao almost eradicated the Chinese characters themselves.

We invite David Moser, Academic director at CET Academic Programs to discuss.

David Moser
David Moser holds a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan, with a major in Chinese Linguistics and Philosophy. He has been based in Beijing for over 25 years, active in academic and media circles.

Moser appears often on BBC radio as a commentator on the daily program Business Matters, and is also a frequent China analyst on Al Jazeera television. He has worked at China Central Television (CCTV) in Beijing as a program advisor, translator, and host, and continues to be active on Chinese television as a commentator in both Chinese and English on news shows such as CCTV Dialogue and World Insight.

He is also co-host of the Sinica Podcast, an influential China current affairs podcast widely listened to by journalists and China watchers throughout the world. Moser is author of the book A Billion Voices: China’s Search for a Common Language, published by Penguin.

Moser was a visiting scholar at Peking University in 1987-89, and a visiting professor for five years at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, where he taught courses in Translation Theory and Psycholinguistics. He is currently Academic Director at CET Chinese Studies at Beijing Capital Normal University, an overseas study program for U.S. college students, where he teaches courses in Chinese history and politics.

Beijing – Does the Chinese Language even Exist? And Why is it so Damn Hard? with David Moser [Tuesday, July 19]
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