Today, China, with its dynamically developing social economy, is rushing towards world leadership. One way to realize this goal is to spread the Chinese language and culture throughout the world. At one time, the outstanding German philosopher of the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger, said that “language is the house of being. Man dwells in the dwelling of the tongue.” The inhabitants of this “dwelling” in different eras were Confucius, Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu, Mo Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Sima Qian, Li Bo, Lu Xun and many other Chinese thinkers and writers who contributed to the development of world civilization .


In the modern era, “the realization of the openness of being, insofar as they give it a word in speech, thereby preserving it in language” (M. Heidegger) are about 1.5 billion people around the world. Among them are the Nobel laureate in literature Mo Yan, the action hero with a comedic slant Jackie Chan, the world famous entrepreneur Jack Ma and other inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom, popularizing Chinese culture and its achievements on a planetary scale, and of course its leader Xi Jinping, calling on the inhabitants of the planet to “ community of the common destiny of humanity.”


In the changed political and economic configuration of the 21st century, the role of the PRC is undoubtedly great. An important component of official Beijing’s foreign policy is the implementation of a foreign language policy, which it seeks to pursue in combination with trade, economic, investment and technological relations with the rest of the world. As a result, developing countries in need of investment and technology are forced to turn their attention to the Chinese language and its culture in general.


It is language, as a carrier of culture, that transmits the language and culture of a particular state or people to the world and is one of the main instruments of “soft power” policy. All world cultures have spread through language. The languages of peoples belonging to powerful scientific and technical civilizations became naturally spread throughout the world. By studying languages, the peoples of the world with their help master new technologies, science and culture, accepting the principles of the political and cultural system formed by them.


In addition, China uses foreign language policy and soft power resources to resist the Western process of globalization and become a world leader. With the help of such concepts and strategies as “harmonious peace”, “powerful cultural state”, “peaceful rise”, Beijing is trying to create its own attractive image by shaping the Chinese system of thought and values “outwardly” through the spread of “hanyu” (汉語, “Han language”) in the world, turning it into its long-term strategy.


Today, Chinese has been one of the six working languages of the UN General Assembly (since December 1973) and the UN Security Council (since December 1974) for almost fifty years. Since 2010, to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity, as well as ensure equal opportunities for the use of all six official languages within the UN system, April 20, in memory of the founder of Chinese writing, Cang Jie (倉頡), has been designated as Chinese Language Day.


According to legend, Cang Jie was the court historiographer of the legendary ruler of China and the mythical figure Huang Di or the Yellow Emperor (黃帝), who first developed a set of pictograms that later became the basis for hieroglyphs, which made it possible to abandon knotted writing. The name Tsang Jie was first mentioned in the philosophical treatise of the 3rd century BC “Xun Tzu”, which states that: “There were numerous experiments in creating writing, but only the signs created by Cang Jie were accepted and exist to this day
/故好書者眾矣,而倉頡獨傳者,壹也/” (translation Gotliba O.M.).


Written Chinese is considered one of the most difficult languages in the world. To express all its wealth, about 80 thousand hieroglyphs are used. However, 3–5 thousand characters are enough for everyday use. In addition, it is one of the most ancient languages existing on the planet. At the beginning of the third millennium AD, the Chinese language is experiencing a real boom. China’s successes in various fields (politics, economics, sports, culture, etc.) contribute to the fact that many people around the world are beginning to learn Chinese, and this is not surprising. The country, which is moving at full speed towards being called the first economy in the world, skillfully uses this factor.


American economist Jacob Marshak (1898-1977) noted that language plays an important role in economic interaction and the language factor should be taken into account in economic calculations. The development of human capital theory by Gary Becker (1930-2014), winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economics, who applied an economic approach to human behavior, also involved investing in a person’s education and work skills, which increases his productivity and competitiveness in the market. One of the important factors in education was language learning.


Modern research shows that people with a high level of proficiency in a dominant language or second foreign have a higher socioeconomic status and higher income. This proved the economic importance of language learning and the need to invest in language training for the country’s economy. At the beginning of the 21st century. In connection with the development of financial globalization, trade internationalization, as well as information and integration processes, the role of language has increased significantly. It turned out that language is a colossal economic resource that makes a large contribution to the country’s GDP. Thus, the UK receives more than 10 billion euros annually through the use of English in EU countries, and foreign trade and financial services in English provide another 20 billion euros. And this is only in Europe!


It should be noted that the discipline that studies the process of integration of language and economics into the “fabric” of modern human civilization is called linguistic economics. Thus, in China, linguistic economics as a science appeared in the late 1990s. In 1999, Xu Qichao published an article “Linguoeconomics: a new related science” in the journal “Foreign Languages” (Waiguo Yu), in which he first defined “linguoeconomics” and outlined the views of foreign scientists regarding this science, highlighting its main content. In 2001, Professor Huang Shao’an organized a group to study linguistic economics at the Economic Research Center of Shandong University. Already in 2003, Shandong University for the first time in China opened an experimental graduate school in the field of Linguistic Economics. In 2004, the first special institute for linguistic economics was created at Shandong University (it has now been transformed into the Center for the Study of Linguistic Economics), and in 2006, a postgraduate course in this specialty was officially opened and the first dissertation was defended on the topic “The spread of the Chinese language in world: economic analysis and proposals regarding the schools of Confucius” (Ning Jiming), which became the first study in China where the linguistic-economic approach was applied. This work played an important role in promoting the Chinese language abroad and establishing Confucius schools.


It is through the Confucius Institutes that China is spreading the Chinese language and culture throughout the world, and with them its modern political principles, where foreign language policy has become one of the priorities of the Celestial Empire. Thus, in 2009, it was included in the concept of “soft power” and the state development strategy, which helps to increase the competitiveness of China’s national culture both abroad and on a global scale.


In turn, the State Committee for Work in the Field of Language and Writing, the Department of Language Information Management of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China and the Office of the International Chinese Language Council stated that linguistic economics should increasingly become a state development strategy, thereby promoting the development of the language industry and the promotion of the Chinese language abroad, because it is of great strategic importance for the economic growth of the country.


And it bears fruit. This is evidenced by the fact that interest in learning the Chinese language throughout the world is continuously increasing from year to year. This factor is determined, first of all, by the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and China’s authority in the international arena, which in turn is a stimulating factor for learning the Chinese language. And the Central Asian republics are no exception.


China has been “working” intensively with the Central Asian elites for many years, trying to draw them into its orbit of preferential influence. Naturally, by investing in the Central Asian region, Beijing will, whether anyone likes it or not, protect the interests of Chinese capital in Central Asia. Moreover, Chinese experts attach great importance to the initiative in the Central Asian direction and emphasize the strategic importance of its implementation in Central Asia. For Beijing, economic development is the key to solving many, if not all, problems. This is why soft-power support for such a grandiose project as “One Belt – One Road” is necessary. Unlike the United States and the European Union, the Chinese approach differs primarily in its effectiveness. Thus, the main tool for using China’s “soft power” in the Central Asian region is Confucius Institutes and Classes (currently 13 Confucius Institutes have been opened in the countries of Central Asia. In Kazakhstan – 5, in Kyrgyzstan – 4, in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – 2 each – E.B. ), where students study the Chinese language, history, spiritual and cultural values of China. Thanks to this, the perception of China is changing for the better. China is becoming closer, clearer, and friendlier for people. Value elements of the Chinese worldview and spirituality, including the ideas of Confucianism, are introduced into the cultural and civilizational environment of Central Asia. By spreading culture and language through the Confucius Institute, Beijing is trying to strengthen the attractive power of China, to eliminate the prejudice, hostility and feelings of threats allegedly emanating from China that exist against the backdrop of “Sinophobia” from past times.


Already, Chinese has firmly taken second place in learning after English and is becoming increasingly popular among young people. Most likely, in terms of language, Central Asia will follow the formula “develop Chinese, preserve Russian, learn English.”


At the same time, unlike the West, and also in order to avoid conflict situations generated by cultural expansion, Beijing is making efforts to ensure that its cultural and civilizational presence in Central Asia is not perceived as a manifestation of hegemony, but only as a partnership interaction in for the purposes of mutual participation in the development of multicivilizational relations. The intercivilizational synthesis that arises in this way contributes to national, regional and global security, as well as the conflict-free development of humanity.


If we take Kazakhstan specifically, the Chinese language is becoming more and more in demand, meeting the professional aspirations of students. In addition, the increased interest in the Chinese language in the country of Abai and Dimash Kudaibergen is explained by both the traditional interest in the history and culture of China, and the dynamic economic development of this country, and the growth of its geopolitical influence in the modern world. In the 21st century The goal of teaching the Chinese language can no longer be only the transfer of linguistic knowledge, skills, and not even the encyclopedic mastery of regional information limited to geographical and historical concepts and phenomena. A central place in the process of teaching the Chinese language should be occupied by the formation of the ability to participate in intercultural communication, which is especially important now, when the mixing of peoples, languages, and cultures has reached an unprecedented scale and the problem of instilling tolerance for foreign cultures, awakening interest and respect for them has become more acute than ever. , overcoming the feeling of irritation from the redundancy, insufficiency or simply dissimilarity of other cultures. It is from these positions that today it is necessary to rethink approaches to teaching Kazakh students, undergraduates and doctoral students in various aspects of the Chinese language.


At the same time, mastering the Chinese language is inseparable from students’ acquaintance with the facts of history, social phenomena, and social conditions in the country of the language being studied. All this should be carried out along with a deep study of centuries-old Chinese culture. Therefore, studying the Chinese language in the conditions of modern Kazakh society has great prospects, since it is inextricably linked with various contacts, and ultimately, it will contribute to the development of friendly relations between Kazakhstan and China, which will have a beneficial effect on the process of intercultural communication between our countries and peoples, becoming an indicator of a high level of mutual understanding and cooperation.


Erkin BAYDAROV , The China Studies Centre