This page is currently under development.
The Marco Polo Project intends to build a multilateral community, going beyond exchanges between English and Chinese. People inside and outside China often have a simplistic picture of the world, where ‘dialogue between China and the West’ only implies two languages, Mandarin and English.
It is true that English and Chinese are the dominant languages on the internet, representing about 25% of users each. It is easy to be impressed by these figures, and decide that they would exclude the necessity to integrate any other language. However, looking at numbers can be instructive. Together, Latin languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian, with a high level of inter-compatibility) account for another 15%. French only account for 2.5% of all internet users. That is about 60 million people.
We will need to make choices, as a critical mass of users is necessary to make the effort worth pursuing. In the first instance, we want to focus on English, French, and Spanish, as these are the language spoken by our directors, and in the countries where we have contacts. but in the future, our platform will expand to other language groups: Japanese, Russian and Korean – languages of most interest to Chinese learners; Indonesian – a key relay for Australia; German, Arabic and Portuguese – the other three world languages.