Asians using English having more success

January 15, 2009

This AsianWeek article, “Why Asians Speak English,” was published last August 2008, around the time of the Beijing Olympics. What’s fasciating about the article is how English is becoming a global language for communication, and how Asian Americans who are bi-cultural have higher achievement and success:

The Beijing Olympics in China reminded the world that Asia is overtaking Western nations in everything from Olympic gold medals to economic growth. But it took test scores from kindergarten through 12th grade students in California to remind us that Asians are also overtaking usage of the English language.

Grace Tzeng reports in this issue that California Standards testing results show Asian students score higher in both English and math than all other students—including white students.

And whereas these kinds of statistics too often feed into the model minority stereotype, they really point out something quite different.

The use of English among Asian Americans reflects a bicultural nature that combines traditional Asian characteristics with modern Western practices.

And it’s not just happening with Asians in America. English is an official language of India and the Philippines, and some estimates say there are more English speakers in China than the entire adult population of the United States.

A 2006 British study found 450 million native English speakers around the world. But as many as a billion people, mostly from China and India, were learning English as their second language.

… It’s a matter of adopting the most effective means of communication to add to our upbringing in Asian heritage and culture.

… Asian Americans that attain the highest levels of achievement—in everything from education to income to housing—are those APAs that exhibit bicultural attributes.

… The group that excels most, and lays out the road map for future progress, is made up of those combining both cultures—Asian and American.

Fascinating article with huge implications in America and around the world.

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