1 RUDN University, Moscow State Pedagogical University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2 South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 9011-9017
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.2163
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Although the English language – the modern lingua franca – is officially considered to be an international language of business, science, tourism, aviation, new media technologies and other social spheres, in recent years more and more people in the world, especially the younger generation, are focusing their particular attention on studying Mandarin Chinese.

Mandarin, being the language of government and education in China and Taiwan, is based on the Beijing dialect, but not completely associated with it. It is known as a standard language that everyone can understand and communicate with. Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 800 million people around the world, and it is one of the six official languages at the United Nations.

In Russian Federation in 2019 Mandarin Chinese has officially become one of the state exams in foreign languages which school leavers may choose to take when finishing their secondary school education. Thus, in modern Russia more and more young people become interested in Mandarin Chinese L2 acquisition for their different reasons or motives.

In our research we pay a particular attention to the analysis of the young individuals’ motivation of studying Mandarin based on the example of Russian university students who have already been learning this language for a few years. Our working hypothesis is that students’ motivation to acquire Mandarin Chinese is not only based on China’s fast-growing economy and business perspectives for foreigners in this country. But it can also be explained by young people’s worldview and by mental changes which are taking place in their consciousness today. As one student said: "I am ready to completely change my life, to go to China, live and study there for a while, and then return back to Russia to teach Chinese." [1] Our second working hypothesis suggests that Mandarin Chinese L2 acquisition affects university students’ consciousness because (as a Soviet psychologist Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky once mentioned) “consciousness of the individual is not a static or fixed one, but the consciousness of an evolving, spiritually growing person who is committing an effort and work on his development and spiritual liberation" [2]. Therefore, studying Mandarin Chinese transforms students’ mind in a more “oriental” way, by easternizing their mentality.

In order to better understand the true motives which make young people study this language and their specific interest in China, we developed and conducted a special survey, interviewed university students of three higher education institutions (Moscow State Pedagogical University; RUDN university (Moscow) and South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University (Chelyabinsk)) and did a qualitative and quantitative data analysis. In the end, a group of motives of studying Mandarin Chinese among Russian university students was identified and presented in the research. Based on the data analyzed we also managed to build a model of young people’s consciousness perception of Mandarin Chinese language as well as traditional and modern Chinese culture.

[1] S. Pyatakov, ““Chinese fever” spreads across Russia: learning Chinese has gradually become fashionable”, Retrieved from:
[2] N.I. Guslyakova, Professional'noye soznaniye uchitelya: psikhologicheskiy aspect [Teacher’s professional consciousness: a psychological approach]. Chelyabinsk: Izdatel’stvo CSPU. 2013.
Mandarin Chinese, university students, L2 acquisition, consciousness, motivation.