The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

Read more about this historic project.

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  • Chinese Daily Times -- March 14, 1935
    The Importance of the Educational Nationalization

    The problem of democracy is a problem of education. Experience has shown that true democracy and illiteracy do not go together. They are like ice and fire. True democracy must be built on intelligent citizenship, a thing not possible in our homeland where only twenty percent of the population can read and write. Since 1911 the thinking class, which embodies the twenty percent, has tried desperately to make the populace literate but has failed to achieve much. It is our conviction that the lot of the common people cannot be bettered until they are able to read and write. From the standpoint of national progress it is impossible to develop a country without the strength of an enlightened people, and the further enliightenment is spread in any land the greater is the progress of that people.

    2

    Unless we make the masses literate through a revolutionized educational system, our country will continue to be exploited by militarists from within and imperialists from without.

    The main factor responsible for the high percentage of illiteracy in our country has been, undoubtedly, the difficulty of learning the Chinese written language, which is altogether different from the spoken language. It has been taught for centuries as the only literary medium, though to attain a proficient knowledge of it would require almost a life time. The call for a reform of the written language is therefore of the utmost importance, if one fourth of the world's population is to be made safe for democracy and prove a blessing to mankind.

    3

    Fortunately a literary revolution took place in 1919, which was the simplification of the process of learning to read and write, providing the people with a more simplified tool for expression called "Pei-Hwa," which combines the written and spoken languages, and thus reducing the problem of illiteracy.

    One far reaching effect of the adoption of Pei-Hwa is the replacement of all old literary writings in the text books of elementary schools by writings in the conversational style. A national convention of the teachers from the government normal schools petitioned, a few years later, the teaching of Pei-Hwa in the elementary schools in place of the classical language. Accordingly, the following proclamation was issued:

    4

    "We have received from the convention of the National Educational Association their decision to promote a national language, in order that the spoken and written languages may become one. Moreover, they asked the Ministry of Education to take this matter into consideration and give effect to their decision. A further recommendation has been received by us from the Organizing Committee for the unification of the National Language, urging the consideration and prompt change of the present Classical Department to National Language Department etc.

    "We recognize that because of the difference between our classical and spoken languages, education in the schools makes slow progress and the keen edge of the spirit of union both between individuals and in society at large has thereby been blunted. Moreover, if we do not take prompt steps to make the spoken and written languages the same, any plans for developing our civilization will surely fail.

    5

    "This Ministry of Education has for several years made positive advances in promoting such a national language. All educators, moreover, throughout the country are in favor of a change, by which the teaching of the national spoken language shall take the place of the classical language. Inasmuch, therefore, as all desire to promote education in the national language, we deem it wise not to delay the matter any longer.

    "We, therefore, now order that beginning in the primary schools, all shall be taught the national spoken language rather than the national classical language. Thus the spoken and written languages will become one. This Ministry requests all officials to take notice and act accordingly, and requires all schools under their jurisdiction to respect this order and carry it into effect."

    6

    The above is an old order from our Ministry of Education but how many of us have responded to the order? No doubt, we are living here in an educationally systemized country where the need of hard - pressing educational revolution of our homeland is hardly felt directly, but we as citizens of China should realize that every one of us is responsible for our national progress, especially fundamental education.

    Our educational movement of today differs from the United States - in that the American Educational Movement is entirely a governmental affair whereas ours is a people's movement, though local officials do come in to assist. Lately the educational movement is even pushed in the army by men like Gen. Chiang Kai-Shek, etc. who have come to realize the importance of army education.

    7

    The result is immensely gratifying. Not only have many of the illiterate soldiers learned to read and write, but the morale in the army is also fostered. Yes indeed, better education makes a better citizen and a better citizen makes a better nation.

    The significance of the Mass Educational Movement was characterized by one of our foremost educators, Mr. James Yen, in the following statement: "Reading has been traditionally looked upon by the people as a specialty to be pursued exclusively by the scholar. There has been in reality what is called the'aristocracy of learning.' The Mass Educational Movement, in championing the cause of 'education for all,' and in working systematically and persistently to bring education within the reach of all, bids fair to revolutionize the thought life of the masses.

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    "It is a movement by the people. The promotion of the campaign and the teaching and supervision of the schools are done voluntarily by businessmen, gentry, teachers and students of the schools and colleges. The campaign fund is contributed by the well-to-do members of the community. One of the inevitable results is the boosting of education wherever it goes. On the one hand it arouses the public sentiment of the leaders for general educational reform, and on the other hand, it creates a desire on the part of rank and file for more adequate education.

    "The Mass Educational program provides favorable conditions for united effort where no material gain is possible and where unselfish service is demanded. Furthermore, by participating in this program the well-to-do and the educated come to the realization that the welfare of the community depends upon the development and the intelligence of the masses.

    9

    In the meantime, as the illiterate themselves are given the opportunity for self development, it creates in them a sense of personal worth as well as a sense of responsibility in the life of the community and the nation."

    How true it is, that the future of any national government is totally dependent upon the educational progress of the nation. While the need for constructive efforts is felt on all hands by our national government, the nationalization of education to curb illiteracy is by far the most urgent, and calls for the support of all of us who have the welfare of our fellow countrymen and national government at heart.

    Let us all begin right from where we are, in this little community, to promote more educational activities - not particularly for ourselves as most of us perhaps feel that we are beyond the learning age, but for the benefit of our children who will shoulder the heavy responsibility of our national future.

    The problem of democracy is a problem of education. Experience has shown that true democracy and illiteracy do not go together. They are like ice and fire. True democracy must ...

    Chinese
    III H, I A 1 b, I A 3
  • Chinese Daily Times -- September 12, 1935
    Chinatown People's School

    It is over a year since the opening of the Chinatown People's School. The accomplishment has been meritorious.

    Now they have decided to have some evening classes for the adults. Hours will be from 6 P. M. to 9:30 P.M. Monday to Friday inclusive.

    All Chinese, over fifteen years old, who are anxious to learn either Chinese or English should register as soon as possible. There will be only a limited number accepted.

    It is over a year since the opening of the Chinatown People's School. The accomplishment has been meritorious. Now they have decided to have some evening classes for the adults. ...

    Chinese
    II B 2 f, I A 3
  • Chinese Daily Times -- September 12, 1936
    The Opening of Chinese Sunday Schools

    All Chinese businessmen in the United States are handicapped due to the lack of proper knowledge of the English language. Those who are interested in learning English have accomplished little, due to lack of time.

    So for the benefit of the Chinese countrymen, the churches have established the Chinese Sunday Schools. Many have grasped the opportunity and consequently they have benefited by them. There are nine Chinese Sunday Schools in the various Chicago Churches and they are for the Chinese.

    According to Rev. T. Y. Li of the Chinese Christian Church, all Chinese Sunday Schools will begin classes on Sept. 13th- Sunday afternoon.

    All classes will be taught by Americans. And the text books are prepared 2by Rev. T. Y. Li.

    Aside from the Sunday School lessons there will be classes in English conversation, composition and grammar, etc. All lessons have both English and Chinese definitions.

    We wish all Chinese countrymen will utilize their precious moments to better themselves by attending one of the nine schools.

    Remember, its free to all and for further information, please write to the Chinese Christian Church on 22nd and Wentworth Avenue.

    All Chinese businessmen in the United States are handicapped due to the lack of proper knowledge of the English language. Those who are interested in learning English have accomplished little, ...

    Chinese
    III C, II B 2 f, I A 3
  • Chinese Centralist Daily News -- January 27, 1938
    A Bulletin from the Chicago Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (Education)

    The Chinese adult school sponsored by this association is at last ready for commencement.

    We have engaged Mr. C. S. Chang and Miss I. T. Yi to instruct the various classes.

    The commencement date will be February 14th, 1938.

    We learn that Mr. Chang is a graduate of Kuo-min university in China and was on the staff of the Canton State Normal School. He has been a student on the Standford university.

    Miss Yi is a graduate from Chung-San University in China and now 2a student at the Chicago University doing research work. She was formerly a senior high teacher at Canton State Normal for girls.

    Both Mr. Chang and Miss Yi have had excellent scholarship and rich educational experiences.

    Those who desire to learn should register early in order to avoid possible exclusion from the limited number acceptable

    Registration office will be the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, It is open from 3 P.M. to 10 P.M. every day. Registration will end on February 2, 1938.

    There will be no tuition fee except 50 cents a month per student for class expenses.

    Jan. 26, 1938

    The Chinese adult school sponsored by this association is at last ready for commencement. We have engaged Mr. C. S. Chang and Miss I. T. Yi to instruct the various ...

    Chinese
    I A 3, II D 1