Click on the podcast button to listen.
Deborah Fallows explains that not only is Mandarin "new" to the majority of Chinese people, whose families never knew it until a century ago, but that much of Mandarin itself, including simplified Chinese and pinyin, is deliberately designed and considerably younger than even that.
The power of the Chinese government to make changes and insist on their adoption is probably unrivalled in the modern world. Will it extend even beyond China's boundaries?
If you fancy an Esperanto to Mandarin adventure of your own, you might like to consider starting at the Chinese Island of Hai Nan Dao (sometimes written Hainan Dao), which means "South Sea Island". The island is about half the size of Tasmania and was traditionally used as a place to exile people. Now they've noticed that it is a lovely place to be in the Chinese winter- being on the same latitude as the Phillipines, and are promoting its use for tourism.
It all makes for a dramatically different summer holiday and very affordable- the entire month of food, accommodation and instruction costs only $600 per participant- it'll cost you that much to stay home :-)
Click the picture to visit the website.