chapter  2
18 Pages

A new calling for former missionaries in the secular world

ByVivian Ling

British involvement in China preceded the Americans by several decades, and the missionary presence was concomitant with Britain's commercial, diplomatic, and military interest in China. The earliest Chinese language pedagogical tools were produced by the British from the early nineteenth century onward, with the Americans joining the movement in the latter part of that century. British involvement in China preceded the Americans by several decades, and the missionary presence was concomitant with Britain's commercial, diplomatic, and military interest in China. The history of Chinese language teaching in American academia can be traced even further back – to the late nineteenth century. Yale University claims credit as the first American institution to offer courses in Chinese, and that is based on its appointment of Samuel Wells Williams as Professor of Chinese Language and Literature in 1877. Henry C. Fenn's entry into Chinese language teaching came in 1943, when he joined Yale's effort to provide intensive Chinese language training for Army personnel.