China bans English words in media

A newsstand vendor in China China's state press and publishing body says the use of foreign words is eroding the purity of Chinese

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China has banned newspapers, publishers and website-owners from using foreign words - particularly English ones.

China's state press and publishing body said such words were sullying the purity of the Chinese language.

It said standardised Chinese should be the norm: the press should avoid foreign abbreviations and acronyms, as well as "Chinglish" - which is a mix of English and Chinese.

The order also extends existing warnings that applied to radio and TV.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication said that with economic and social development, foreign languages were increasingly being used in all types of publications in China.

It said such use had "seriously damaged" the purity of the Chinese language and resulted in "adverse social impacts" on the cultural environment, reported the People's Daily newspaper.

If words must be written in a foreign language, an explanation in Chinese is required, the state body said.

Here is a selection of examples of Chinglish which were sent by BBC News website readers:

Chinglish is a lot more present in Cantonese than in Mandarin, such as "BB" for baby. In Mandarin, I think the most common English word is "email," followed by brand names like Google and Windows. "Hello" seems to be gaining on the native forms of address, and "bye bye" or "bai bai" is ubiquitous. I've noticed here in Shenzhen almost everyone has a self-chosen English name, and they refer to each other by these names. So if Billy Cheng and Vivian Wong get together, they call each other "Billy" and "Vivian," instead of their Chinese given names.

Roscoe Jean-Castle Mathieu, Shenzhen, China

There are words like "offer", like when you get an offer from companies or universities. Although these words do have equivalents in Chinese, younger generation prefer to use English words to communicate their meaning, while for my father's generation, most of them have no idea what "offer" is. So the overuse of English words will make them confused. Another example is NBA. The Chinese equivalent is a really long sentence, so people are most likely to use NBA. Most bilingual Chinese prefer to use English words under some situations.

Zhang, Beijing, China

There are plenty of words in English which have made their way into Chinese. One which I hear all the time is "OL", which means "office lady". People also have told me about a word called "ding ke", which stands for DINK, or "double-income, no kids" - referring to married couples without children. Does this sully the purity of the Chinese language? Actually, a little bit. However, Chinese language is so old and with such a rich history behind it that it is questionable to try and block this latest round of change. Many Chinese words have come from other languages, including Hindi, Mongolian, and even Japanese (though very few Chinese people want to admit that).This is simple language evolution, mixed with silly pop culture.

JR, Najing, China

To be honest, in Chinese there is nothing you can't do without using English words. But just for the convenience of communication, people are likely to use some English abbreviations instead of the official Chinese expression like CPI, UN, NBA, etc. In today's global environment, English is the lingua franca of the world. It is understandable that Chinese government is so sensitive about the impact on the Chinese own culture. After all, Chinese is the only official language in China. To ban English words in media could also effectively reduce the production of so-called "Chinglish", but it doesn't affect the learning English of Chinese people. For example, earlier in this year, the CCTV-5 Sports Channel has banned broadcasters from saying "NBA" during the NBA games. Because the majority of the next generation of Chinese do not understand what NBA means.

Michael Wu, Nantong, China

The English words I cannot do without is "CPI" and I blame it on the price hike. Another one is "kindle", my favourite gadget that helps me get over the great firewall into the real world. The most commonly used Chinglish word is "3q", meaning "thank you".

Diana, China

I've lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong and at least in these two places, there are so many loan words from English that there would simply be some things that you cannot express by using the "pure" Chinese language. We call music fans "fensi" and when we talk about style in the fashion sense, we say the English word. "Ok" is also used regularly as if it was a normal part of the Chinese language.

Charlie Tsai, Taipei, Taiwan

There are two most common loan words from English. I wonder how PRC government is going to stop them. Cantonese, people from Hong Kong in particular, say "bye-bye" or the Chinese equivalent which is "worship-worship." And "show" which is pronounced exactly as a Mandarin word which was first used in Taiwan and is now spread ubiquitously in the Chinese mainland PRC. English and Chinese somewhat share some similar meanings.

Tan Zun, Vancouver, Canada

I am a Chinese in ethnicity and came to US as a graduate student in 1947. The word "Hi" is common in American Engish. "Hi" sounds like High in homonym and would elevate the addressed person with high status as a built-in-compliment. Moreover, HI is the short postal code for the State of Hawaii with many Chinese Americans living there. It may be a joke in essence.

Xie Shihao, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, USA

English words are widely used in Chinese media. Some abbreviations and acronyms are actually convenient for writing and speaking such as 'GDP, GDP'. But recently, English words are becoming abusive. We create many Chinglish words which I think not good for both Chinese and English.

Liyang, Suzhou, China

I think this is mainly aimed to reduce Chinglish, as Chinglish use is quite popular and fashionable among young people. Words such as "geilivable" are deliberate made-up Chinglish words.

Hao Wu, Xiamen, China

Most of the use of Chinglish is for instant messaging. To avoid typing long words, people will try to use some English word plus modal words, e.g. "no la", "he go home la", "exactly wor", "not my fault wor". Or direct translation style like "People mountain people sea", "Open door see mountain", "one stone two bird".

Lam Chun Sang Johnson, Hong Kong

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