Controversy surrounds the latest edition of the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, as academics are in uproar over the inclusion of English language abbreviations.
Even though such terms are in daily use in China, a group of 100 scholars from across the country have signed a letter condemning the addition of 200 such acronyms to the dictionary, which is China’s most authoritative linguistic reference book.
The academics feel that the use of abbreviations such as NBA (National Basketball Association) instead of the Chinese translation, Mei Zhi Lan, are detrimental to the preservation of the Chinese language.
“If we don’t make standards, more and more English expressions will become part of Chinese,” said Fu Zhenguo, one of the scholars behind the protest letter.
The writers at China Daily hold a different opinion, stating that “Chinese culture is inclusive in nature.”
“The most important use of language is for communication. Today, cultural exchanges have become common and, hence, it is not wise to create “barriers” that would stunt a language’s growth. For example, “NBA” is widely accepted worldwide. So it is meaningless to use pinyin to express its meaning just because it is not a Chinese word.”
Do you think that the Chinese dictionary should remain exclusively Chinese? Or do you think that terms in everyday use should be included, whatever language they may be in? Please post your thoughts!
Source: The Beijing News
The United Nations HQ in New York celebrated Chinese Language Day on Thursday (April 20th) with a series of special events. The day has been celebrated since 2010, and the April date was selected from Guyu to honour Cangjie, the legendary figure in Ancient China credited with inventing Chinese characters 5000 years ago.
The day featured displays of traditional Chinese dancing, musical performances, art exhibits and a demonstration by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.
The UN Department of Public Information (DPI) introduced language days in 2010 to celebrate each of it’s official languages and to encourage cultural diversity. Chinese is one of the six official languages of the UN, along with Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish and English.
The other official UN Language Days were selected for their historical importance connected with each language:
- French (20 March – International Day of Francophonie)
- English (23 April – William Shakespeare’s birthday)
- Russian (6 June – Alexander Pushkin’s birthday)
- Spanish (12 October – Dia de la Hispanidad)
- Arabic (18 December – the date the General Assembly designated Arabic as the sixth official language of the United Nations in 1973)
A 15 year old from Glasgow has won a trip to Beijing in a Mandarin competition.
Ellie Koepplinger, who began learning Mandarin a year and a half ago, impressed judges in the Beginners category of the British Council Speaking Competition, held at the British Museum.
“It’s a beautiful language that’s full of cultural references and stories – there’s a history to every word and phrase. The way the characters are formulated is also fascinating. I want to become an international politician when I’m older and that means you will have to interact with China and the Chinese. The more people that learn Chinese the better-connected and richer Britain will be in the future. China is going to be a superpower and if we can speak their language it’s going to help us massively, so I think it’s great that the British Council is encouraging people to speak it,” she said.
Ellie will join winners of the other language ability categories on a trip to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.
Those of you hoping to go to China and only speak in English have had your plans thwarted!
The planned controversial English language town project, which was to be based in Miyun, a county in the suburbs of Beijing, was vetoed by local government officials who felt that it was discriminatory against the Chinese language and people.
The proposed European-style town was in the process of being developed by a private enterprise, with the main objective of promoting the learning of the English language to internal tourists. Visitors to the town would have only been able to communicate in English.