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Chinese-born English words will go big   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-12-14 13:07:44 |Display all floors
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China's new hot words "Tuhao" and "Dama" may be included in the new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. The words have caught on in China, and they are now spreading around the globe. To date, about 120 words of Chinese origin have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary and have become part of the English speaker's language.

Chinese buzzwords normally reflect social changes and culture, and are increasingly gaining traction in the foreign media. Tuhao and Dama are both old words but have taken on new meanings.

Tuhao used to refer to a rural landlord who liked to bully his tenants or servants. Now it is used for a Chinese person who spends money thoughtlessly or who is rich and likes to flaunt their wealth. The BBC explains it as "nouveau riche". Simply expressed, a Tuhao is rich but lacks taste.

A Dama is a middle-aged woman, and first came to public attention as a term for the thousands of Chinese women who purchased large numbers of items of gold when the gold price slumped between April and June.


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Post time 2013-12-14 13:08:33 |Display all floors
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Various loanwords from Chinese

"The Chinese words Ganbu (cadre), and Guanxi (connections) were officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary many years ago; Tofu (bean curd), Peking duck (roast duck), and Chow Mein (stir-fried noodles) are now everyday terms in English countries; Cheng-guan (City management) and Dia (delicately pretty) have also made an impact,” said Professor Ran Qibin from the College of Chinese language and culture of Nankai University.

In recent years, a group of English words of Chinese origin has proliferated; some relate to Chinese culture, such as Confucius (Kongzi, politician, and philosopher of ancient China), Laozi (a philosopher of ancient China), Tao (a philosophical and religious tradition), Tao Te Ching (a Chinese classic text), Feng Shui (an area of Chinese metaphysics), and Mandarin (China’s official language). Some come from sports and entertainment, such as Kungfu and Taichi (Chinese martial arts), and have become known through the popularity of Chinese action movies. In the fields of politics and economics, Lianghui (the Chinese government's two annual meetings) is gradually being adopted by more international media agencies after it was first used by CNN news, and the Chinese currency unit Jiao (similar to a US 10 cents ), and Yuan (like the US dollar) are also to be found in English dictionaries. Sometimes Yuan is used as the name of the Chinese currency.


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Post time 2013-12-14 13:09:19 |Display all floors
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Chinese is an important source of new English words

A recent report by Global Language Monitor states that words of Chinese origin are playing a key role in driving the ongoing globalization of English. “The fact that some 300 million Chinese people are now studying or have studied English means the important impact of Chinese on the language can’t be denied,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president and chief analyst at Global Language Monitor.

Professor Yao Shuangyun from China Central Normal University’s Research Center for Language and Language Education gave three reasons to explain why more English words are coming from Chinese: the first is that English accepts a broad range of loan-words because it is an open and inclusive language; the second is the rapid development of science and technology and more frequent cultural exchanges between countries which are encouraging the blending of Chinese and English; the third is that the international status of Chinese is rising, providing favorable conditions for Chinese to strengthen its impact on English.

Professor Zhou Haizhong from Sun Yat-Sen University considers that English words of Chinese origin are an inevitable outcome of the meeting of English and Chinese, and of the integration of Chinese and Western cultures. China-related English is likely to increase with more frequent cultural exchanges.

There have been many studies on foreign-born words which have entered the Chinese language; in contrast, there has been little research on China-related English. Now, as Chinese buzzwords grow in popularity worldwide, Chinese language experts should focus on and discuss Chinese-born English as an emerging culture.  

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Post time 2013-12-14 13:09:56 |Display all floors
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The adoption process of English words with Chinese roots

Various English words of Chinese origin have been absorbed in different ways, including transliteration, free translation, partial transliteration plus a generic affix, or other methods. For example, Taikonaut is a combination word from Chinese Taikong (Space) and Greek's nautēs (voyager). And a translated Chinese phrase "long time no see" is now an English expression used as a greeting by people who have not seen each other for a while.

Meanwhile, Chinese-born English words need to go through a strict verification process before entering the English dictionary. Julie Kleeman, project Manager of Bilingual Dictionaries with the Oxford University Press, noted that Oxford's English language experts would need to see evidence of a Chinese buzzword in use across a range of English media and over the course of a period of time when they are considering including it in the Oxford Dictionary.


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Post time 2013-12-14 14:10:52 |Display all floors
Nice thread
Stan, you're holding a gun to God's head. I can't think of a metaphor that's better than this.

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Post time 2013-12-14 15:54:25 |Display all floors
I think one has to distinguish between those words who describe something specific for China and only present in China, and words that are used for describing "non-Chinese" things or phenomena.

The latter are, imho, quite rare.

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Post time 2013-12-15 16:13:13 |Display all floors
I don't see dama, tuhao or lianghui being used in the English language anytime soon. For a word to be accepted it needs to fill a concept that hasn't been filled already. Why say tuhao when the words "nouveau riche" already exist ? Hukou fits the bill, fengshui, guanxi, erhu, wushu, yin, yang, all fit the bills. Not dama, tuhao or lianghui.
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