Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chinglish Revisited, Once Again

We should take a minute to lament these last few weeks before the Olympics of the eradication of Chinglish that has taken place in Beijing over the past year in preparation for the games. They claim that signs on stores that read 'Face a Guest Soil Special Product Supermarket' are a national embarrassment, and are being removed and retranslated at an alarming rate.

While this brings up a number of issues that I won't go into here, such as the question of whether Beijing is whitewashing the city and giving a false impression of what life in China is really like, it robs the foreigner living in China of one of our most treasured games - 'Find the most ridiculously translated English sign in the city'.

In the midst of this lamentation, there's a fantastic article in Wired Magazine about the influence that Chinglish is having on the English language. It's an intimidating figure to think about - that there are actually more English speakers living in China than in America. As language is a constantly evolving organism, it seems a bit un-American to think that another country may have more control over the direction of our language than we do. Don't say you weren't warned.

Check out the link.

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