NEW JERSEY — High school students in New Jersey will be learning Mandarin in a new swimming lesson on Friday that is part of the state’s effort to promote Mandarin as a global language.
The Mandarin class will take place at the New Jersey Aquatic Center, located at the northern edge of New Jersey, about 25 miles from Newark.
It will be taught by a former state senator and an actor who also teaches Mandarin in the United States.
In a video released by the Aquatic Centre, a young man wearing a black cap and a red-and-white striped shirt is shown in front of the center’s swimming pool and swimming pool attendants.
“I have to teach you Mandarin, but I don’t know if I can speak it,” he says.
He pauses to demonstrate a word, “bao” meaning “bath,” followed by another, “ma,” or “me.”
The video shows the instructor, who speaks in Mandarin, saying that students should be able to learn Mandarin in 10-15 minutes, and that the lessons would be conducted in Mandarin.
New Jersey is one of four states that teach Mandarin as an official language, along with California, New York and Rhode Island.
A spokesperson for the Aquatics Centre said it was unaware of the video and could not comment on its authenticity.
While Mandarin is the official language of China, it is not widely used in mainland China.
Chinese-speaking people are increasingly trying to adapt Mandarin to their own language.
Some schools are teaching Mandarin in English and others in Mandarin and Tagalog, a mixed language that includes Tagalog and some Chinese dialects.
The New Jersey swimming lessons are being held in the wake of an outbreak of H1N1 coronavirus that has spread to more than 1,500 schools in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Some of the lessons will be in English, with a video showing students using the language to learn the fluency of Chinese characters.
At the Aquarium, students are encouraged to wear a mask, including a face mask that is not required for most public pools.
As the state tries to spread Mandarin to other countries, New Mexico is teaching Chinese to children at public pools in Mexico City and in Brazil, according to The Associated Press.