Chinglish: Eye Sore for China?


Chinglish, as the inaccurate use of the language is known (in China), has long been a source of embarrassment for the authorities in China.

As a result China has banned usage of English words in media according to news published last week from the BBC. China has banned newspapers, publishers and website-owners from using foreign words – particularly English ones.


It said standardized 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. If words must be written in a foreign language, an explanation in Chinese is mandatory, the state body said. China’s state press and publishing body says the use of foreign words is eroding the purity of Chinese

It’s a widely known fact that this is not the first instance China has shown that it is disgruntled, before this end number of things has happened as testimony to China’s apathy for other nations.

People—especially cultural and nationalist elites—have been complaining about their language being infiltrated by English around the world for quite some time; witness the exasperated coinages like Deutschlisch, Spanglish and Franglais / Franglish & Hinglish (not so popularly known though).

Chinglish, is by far the most talked about. Looks like Linguistic nationalism (defined as a dominant culture’s use of language to exercise its dominance) is here to stay. But linguistic mixing is as natural as the genetic kind, too. Well I don’t think the People’s Republic will successfully stop Chinese people from using English words. They may drive many of them out of print & create news all over the world.

So dear readers what do you feel will be the next manifestation of Chinese imperialism?

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  1. Jodie says

    I can’t blame anyone for wanting to protect their own language. I, for one, was absolutely disgusted when “bootylicious” got into the OED. But at the same time. I don’t object to foreign words being used in English, if we do not have an equivalent term or if it translates badly. Languages have to evolve and they always will.

    I must admit, I will miss Chinglish cropping up in print. Aside from anything, it shows that the Chinese are making an effort with another language and unfortunately, the same cannot be said of many English people, myself included. And sometimes, it can even be beautiful. I read one where a sign meaning to convey “keep off the grass” read something like:

    “Young, tender grass. How hard-hearted to trample it”.

    Definitely better than “keep off the grass”.

    That said, for important signs, or documentation, that’s when you have to bring in a professional translation company. But otherwise, I’d want to see Chinglish left alone.

  2. nkk says

    Obviously, you are a typical anti-Chinese Indian nationalist.

    As an overseas Chinese, I can tell you that even without English language mingle with the Chinese language, there already have different versions of Chinese language used in the different parts of the world. Many terms are coined for a same subject especially for new invention is a communication barrier for Chinese themselves.

    Without standardization exercise (first one was occurred at 2000+ years ago), Chinese language will become a few alien languages, only understood by its speakers in a constrained region.

    Why there is ISO? Without standardization in a language, measurement system, quality standard, etc, the world will be fell apart.

    May be Indians are so proud to have English as your official communication language. In reality, your people have too many languages and this diversity makes your people cannot communicated among your people without English.

    As a nationalist, you should feel ashamed for borrowing foreign language as your official language.

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