China Orders Chinese Media to Cease Using Foreign Words

China’s  General Administration of Press and Publication has ordered Chinese newspapers, publishers and websites to stop using foreign words and acronyms. Chinese media has also been ordered to avoid using examples of the Chinese/English linguistic Frankenstein monster known as “Chinglish.”

According to the People’s Daily Online, the new rules were put into place to protect the Chinese language and to make sure that news is intelligible to all Mandarin speakers, whether they speak English or not:

“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 of the Chinese language and resulted in adverse social impacts to the harmonious and healthy cultural environment.”

To make sure that everyone can understand the news, when foreign words must be used they are required to be translated.  Ensuring that everyone can understand what’s on the evening news is a laudable goal, and there’s nothing wrong with expecting professional media outlets to use proper grammar, but protecting the “purity” of the language may be an uphill battle. Also, having to translate or explain even commonly understood acronyms creates unnecessary hassles for both news professionals and consumers. Read more

Adopt a Word for the Holidays

The Oxford English Dictionary is on a mission: to save old, forgotten, little-used words from ending up on the scrap heap of linguistic history. As the OED explains on its Save the Words website:

“Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the English language. Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved and unwanted.”

Isn’t that horrible? Doesn’t it just make you want to burst into tears? Then you’ll be glad to know that you can help by “adopting” one of these older, more obscure nuggets of the English language. To adopt a word, just choose one of the many, many examples on the OED site and start using it. The OED recommends using these words to make you sound smarter in meetings, naming pets after them, writing them as graffiti, and perhaps even getting “your” word as a tattoo. Or, you know, you could just throw them into conversation whenever they seem appropriate. Read more

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