Thu, Dec 23, 2010 - Page 1 News List

China says no to English in bid to preserve ‘purity’

AFP, BEIJING

Chinese newspapers, books and Web sites will no longer be allowed to use English words and phrases, the country’s publishing body has announced, saying the “purity” of the Chinese language is in peril.

The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), which announced the new rule on Monday, said the increasing use of English words and abbreviations in Chinese texts had caused confusion and was a means of “abusing the language.”

Such practices “severely damage the standard and purity of the Chinese language and disrupt the harmonious and healthy language and cultural environment, causing negative social impacts,” the body said on its Web site.

“Henceforth, the willful mixing of foreign-language phrases, such as English words or abbreviations in Chinese publications, creating words of vague meaning that are not exactly Chinese, or of any foreign language, is banned,” it said.

GAPP said companies that violate the regulation would face “administrative punishment” without offering specifics.

The body left a small loophole, saying that “if necessary,” English terms could be used, but they must be followed by a direct translation of the abbreviation or an explanation in Chinese.

The names of people or places in English must also be translated, the China Daily reported yesterday.

An editor at a Beijing publishing house told the newspaper that the new regulation could actually result in reduced understanding.

“The intention of protecting the Chinese language is good, but in an age of globalization, when some English acronyms like WTO have been widely accepted by readers, it might be too absolute to eliminate them,” the editor said.

“Conversationally, people also use these words all the time, so the regulation could create discord between the oral and written uses of language,” the editor said.

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