Chinese language 'damaged by invasion of English words'

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Jim Tucker (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Mar 15, 2010

Oy vey!

 

Erica Salvaneschi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:05
English to Italian
+ ...
Mar 15, 2010

- "You rarely see Chinese characters in any English newspaper," he said. -

No, really???? I wonder!

- Mr Huang presented proposals to the recent Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference meetings in Beijing that would ban publications from using English names, places, people and companies. -

That seems the right solution indeed!

It all starts with saying "bye bye" instead of ??.

In a while Chinese people will turn into heartless robots, uncapable of expressing feelings at all, and the world will end.

All is lost!


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:05
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Mar 16, 2010

Erica, your irony is just too much! I'm laughing out loud!

 

Hartmut Pilch
Germany
Local time: 14:05
Japanese to German
+ ...
Mar 16, 2010

Apart from the caricaturisation by the Daily Telegraph, I think Huang Youyi is right on spot, and the guy from the academy of sciences whom they are quoting, is viewing the issue from a meaningless historicist perspective by which you can always justify whatever you want (see Popper's "poverty of historicism"), and on top of this, is ignorant about the successes of the French purists and the "natural", from a historicist's impoverished point of view, function of purism in the development of languages. To the rescue of that academician's honour I'll assume that the Telegraph is distorting his viewpoint in much the same way as it is distorting that of Huang Youyi.
Has anyone found more about "Mr. Youyi", as the Telegraph calls him, and his initiatives, on the web?


 

Hartmut Pilch
Germany
Local time: 14:05
Japanese to German
+ ...
Mar 16, 2010

I've found more detailed documents on the Chinese web and am preparing a dossier on this and on our own experiences with recent decline in Chinese language morale as we have been witnessing in the context of corrections to work of our Chinese translators.
Not to be misunderstood, the situation with the Chinese language morale is still much better than in Japan, Italy or Germany, and what I see as "language morale" (also called "pudore linguistico" by an Italian linguist) is a wider set of issues than just a refusal of undigested foreign text chunks.


 

jiangyuxia (X)
Mar 17, 2010

a bad news!

 

jiangyuxia (X)
Mar 17, 2010

i dont know it clearly

 

Erica Salvaneschi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:05
English to Italian
+ ...
Mar 17, 2010

icon_biggrin.gif

by the way, link your dossier after you finish it!

He's right about language "contamination", it's just he's being too much of a drama queen, don't you think? Arguing that Chinese people won't be able to express their feelings at all sounds like an exaggeration to me!

After all, languages tend to simplify themselves...


 

Hartmut Pilch
Germany
Local time: 14:05
Japanese to German
+ ...
Mar 18, 2010

An unfinished dossier is at
http://a2e.de/oas/10/03/zhongwen/
It contains links to some articles, of which the one with " ?????" in the title is the most informative.
It shows that our colleague Huang Youyi is not as isolated and pathetic as the Telegraph would have it.
Indeed the expression of feelings is one of the last things that, if ever, can decline in a language.
A more realistic fear is that the habit of coining new words and creating new expressions is largely lost and the language is superseded by another (here English) language and finally becomes clunky, clumsy and unsuitable also for poetic expression.
Languages like the Celtic ones in UK seem to have gone down that path.
Japanese has three sets of numerals: Japanese, Chinese and English, and it is normal to use English numerals for more and more uses, of course all based on context rathr than logic.
That way the language gets bloated, unsystematic and you ask yourself what could be the benefit of using it.
A logical language like Lojban has special mechanisms to keep foreign elements at bay.
Chinese used to have such a mechanism: the Chinese characters.
The breakdown of this mechanism is a very serious afair imho, and some concerted efforts by society and government can make a big difference.
I'll continue to work on my dossier, but now I have to translate a Chinese contract to English, which is written in a mixture of cruel lawyer and lazy translator's Chinese, in which one contracting party is named by its raw English name without translation (would they also name a Russian contracting party in Russian?), and which stipulates that in case of deviation between the Chinese and English versions the English version shall prevail. Even if we are still at the beginning of the path, the signs toward creolisation are set, and the march can pick up speed very quickly.


 

Jim Tucker (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Mar 23, 2010

Probably a misinterpretation:

CHINESE ENDANGERED?
Spoiler: the answer is "No." But a Telegraph story has been making the rounds that features Huang Youyi, chairman of the International Federation of Translators, allegedly proposing to "ban [Chinese] publications from using English names, places, people and companies." Actually, according to syz in the Language Log thread on the topic:

I *have* read a bit of what Huang actually said, as opposed to what the headline writers are hyping. In this Chinese article, for example, he seems to say that he just wants things to be written in the local script, Chinese characters: “?????????????????????????????????????”
Very roughly: "The international standard is to absorb foreign borrowings into one's own language, not to copy them over unchanged."

Hardly the language of a xenophobe rooting for a China where residents are "no longer … permitted to speak of 'lion' dances, 'honey' and 'honeymoons'…"

So once again what appears to be a loony proposal by a wacky scholar turns out to be another case of hype and misrepresentation by a sloppy journalist.

full article here: http://www.languagehat.com/archives/003816.php


 

Jim Tucker (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Mar 23, 2010

There is also a LL thread on this topic.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2185


 


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