MIT Global Studies and Languages is rolling out a pilot program to teach beginning-level Cantonese in January 2016 during the Independent Activities Period (IAP). Until now, only Mandarin Chinese has been taught in the MIT Chinese program. Cantonese is spoken by some 60 million people globally, including China’s Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and Chinese diaspora communities worldwide. Cantonese and its dialects are widely spoken in Chinatowns throughout North America.
Senior Lecturer Haohsiang Liao told Babel newsletter that in addition to offering a new Cantonese class, the Section also has plans underway to develop a class in Business Chinese. Section Head, Professor Emma Teng, said the new subjects “couldn’t come at a better time” because MIT has recently announced a new Hong Kong innovation node, a collaborative space that will connect the MIT community with unique resources and opportunities in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and neighboring areas in Guangdong province.