Archive for the Chinglish Category

Chinese netizens create cyber words to make language more “geilivable”; government bans them in print [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Chinglish on January 2, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

For the record I support China’s efforts to limit this kind of preposterous linguistic nonsense; some Chinglish terms are simply insufferable abominations of language. And before anybody starts screaming about “freedom of speech” and how uniquely horrible the Chinese government is to regulate this kind of thing, note the calibrated measures that the government is taking. Furthermore, the French government also has an censorship agency to keep the French language free of similar defilement by foreign inputs. A problem with the article is that it’s about a measure to control Chinglish, yet it mixes up Chinglish examples with those of newly-coined Chinese terms which have no relation to English at all. – Zuo Shou 左手

December 25, 2010

Chinese netizens who like to create and use cyber words such as “geilivable” might find a new regulation very “ungeilivable”.

The new regulation by the General Administration of Press and Publication earlier this week banned the use of Chinglish buzzwords created by netizens for publishing in the Chinese language.

An unnamed official with the administration said that the regulation was aimed to purify the Chinese language.

“Geilivable”, combining pinyin of Chinese characters Geili (giving strength) with the English suffix for adjectives, literally means “giving power” or “cool”.

Different suffixes and prefixes were added to the word. “Hengeilivable” means “very cool”, and “ungeilivable” means “dull, not cool at all”.

Cyber language was popular among Chinese netizens, who created English words to reflect novel phenomenon [sic] in society.

One example was “antizen”, which referred to the group of college graduates who, earning a meager salary and living in small rented apartments, were like the tiny and laborious ants.

A “government” with “corruption” was “goveruption”.

“Niubility” was the pinyin of Niubi (a slang to say excellent) plus a suffix to make it a noun.

“Smilence” means smile but keep in silence, an attitude people take to comment on an issue which already has drawn consensus.

“Foulsball” showed the anger of netizens towards the woeful Chinese soccer affected by match-fixing, crooked referees, and illegal gambling.

“Emotionormal” came out with the media cliche, saying people are “emotionally stable” rather than outraged.

“Corpspend” was derived from the issue last year. Three college students died in central China’s Hubei Province while saving two drowning children, then fishermen tied the bodies to a boat to ask a high price for their recovery.

“Suihide” came from the death of a man in a detention center in the southwestern Yunnan Province. Police said he died after playing hide-and-seek with inmates, but this conclusion seemed doubtful.

David Tool, a professor with the Beijing International Studies University, first heard the word from his students. “They let me guess its meaning and I knew it was a kind of capability,” he said.

He said it very interesting to combine Chinese with English to create new words. “English is no longer mysterious to the Chinese people. They can use the language in a flexible way according to their own experiences,” Tool said.

Sergey Dmitriev, a senior student from Russia studying international politics at Liaoning University, believed the words are a way to learn more about Chinese society.

“In Russia, similar words were created, as well,” he said, adding that creation of the English words showed greater influence and more of an opening of China to the world.

Chinese words and expressions were created, as well, by netizens.

One example was “Suan Ni Hen”. This three-character expression originally meant “you win” and the first character carried the same pronunciation as garlic in Chinese. Netizens used it to satirize soaring garlic and food prices this winter.

“My father is Li Gang” was already known, even to some foreigners. It was first said by a drunk 22-year-old hit-and-run driver. Netizens worked it into classical poetry, jokes and ballads to vent their fury over the vicious behavior of the privileged and the children of power and wealth.

Chinese people use the character “bei” prior to a verb to show a passive voice, and it was used by netizens to show the helplessness in front of false conclusions and fake media reports. For instance, “zisha” means “suicide” while “beizisha” means “be officially presumed to have committed suicide”, and “xiaokang” means “fairly comfortable life” while “beixiaokang” means “be said to be living a fairly comfortable life”.

Some of these words and expressions were even picked up in serious media reports.

On November 10, China’s broadsheet, the People’s Daily, mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China, carried a front-page news story with the headline “Jiangsu geilivable cultural province”.

Although some netizens doubted the usage of the word, as “geilivable” was supposed to be an adjective rather than a verb, they hailed it as progress for the serious newspaper.

“This is a small step in the cyber world, but a giant leap in Chinese language,” said a netizen with the nickname Sheshangjun.

Another netizen, Yang Huatao, said, “I read the newspaper more carefully this time than in several months.”

Wu Zhongmin, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, saw the phenomenon of word creation as a natural response to young people to social issues.

“Cyber language is more vivid and it shortens people’s distances,” he said.

At the mentioning of the regulation by the General Administration of Press and Publication, netizens expressed their concern.

“The administration is totally ‘ungeilivable’,” said a netizen named laoda1713. “I know other netizens would shed tears with me…it is a good chance to enrich our language.”

“Language is always developing,” said a columnist, Wang Pei. “It needs to be updated to absorb foreign culture and folk wisdom.”

But an unnamed official with the administration said that, in fact, many senior staff from news media who supported the regulation were worried that years later, the younger generation would forget how to use formal Chinese expressions.

The official also pointed out that the regulation was only for publication of the Chinese language, and it only banned English, or Chinglish, to be exact, words in the publication.

“The use of ‘geilivable’ in People’s Daily, for example, is OK, so long as people see it as ‘geilivable’,” the official said.

(Xinhua writers Ren Liying from Hebei, Wang Ying from Liaoning, Cao Yan from Sichuan, and interns Chuai Xiaoyu, Ma Haiyang contributed to the story.)

Source: Xinhua

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Authorities ban mixed English words in publications [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Chinglish on December 26, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 21, 2010

Arbitrary use of English words and acronyms is now prohibited and coined terms that are not intelligible to everyone are not allowed to be used, according to a notice released by the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) recently.

The administration issued the notice to further regulate language in Chinese language publications.

The notice said that with economic and social development, foreign languages are increasingly being used in all types of publications in China, including in newspapers, periodicals, books, audio-visual products, e-books and on the Internet.

Abuse of foreign languages, including arbitrary use of English words; acronym mixing in Mandarin and coined half-English, half-Chinese terms that are intelligible to nobody, are commonly seen.

All these have seriously damaged to the purity [sic] of the Chinese language and resulted in adverse social impacts to the harmonious and healthy cultural environment.

According to the notice, press and publication administration departments are required to follow vocabulary and grammar rules of used languages in publications. The translation of foreign language should be consistent with the basic translation principles and practices. Proper nouns as well as scientific and technical terms should be translated into common language according to relevant provisions.

The notice required that press and publication administration departments at all levels to further strengthen inspection and management of language usage quality control in publications. The checking of foreign languages usage is required in daily censorship and annual inspection. Violations of norms shall be required to be corrected and will be punished according to law.

By Li Mu, People’s Daily Online

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Beijing’s new guidelines aim to rid city of Chinglish [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Chinglish on December 18, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 13, 2010

Currently, Beijing has taken another step forward in the battle against Chinglish street signs. The city has enacted new guidelines to provide consistent renderings of Chinese into English on public thoroughfares, said Zhang Qian, a Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality.

A launching ceremony for this series of activities to correct foreign language used in public signs was held at Beijing Foreign Studies University and sponsored by the Beijing Multilingual Service Center. More than 500 volunteers came from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, China Foreign Affairs University, Renmin University of China, Communication University of China, University of International Relations to participate in this activity.

It was reported that the volunteers will be assigned to the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), the underground station, Summer Palace, Beijing Friendship Hospital, National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest) and Water Cube to provides image acquisition and well-collated words services.

The volunteers will establish a database for the foreign language signs on the Internet, and then non-standard names will be corrected by a professional team of translators.

The usual language logos will be integrated into a unified database, including “No Smoking,” “No Visitors” and “Baggage Depository.” If a public place would like to add or improve a logo, they can check the related information by the available database in order to avoid embarrassment in public.

The database specifically aims to increase the information on the French language this time. With the increasing demands for small language translation services, the database will also add small language services in the future, including Spanish, Russian, Italian, Korean and so on.

By Zhang Qian, People’s Daily Online

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How to Pee and other Chinese Bathroom Signs: Chinglish in the WC – PHOTOS [Huffington Post]

Posted in Chinglish, Shanghai, Taiwan on September 27, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Doug Lansky

You made it all the way to the bathroom. Hope it’s not too much to ask for you to hold it for another 12 inches. Location: Taichung, Taiwan. Credit: Sharon Wong

Woman? Men? Or is it the first recorded trans-gender bathroom? Location: Nantong, China. Credit: Ole Rud Hansen

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, wait — it’s... Location: Shanghai, China. Credit: Richard Patenaude

Link to full photo article:  How To Pee & Other Insane Signs That Teach You To Use The Bathroom (PHOTOS)

“A Sampling of Chinglish” slide [New York Times]

Posted in China, Chinglish on May 13, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(Credit:  Oliver Lutz Radtke, New York Times)   Thanks Chris H.