Archive for Diglossia and digraphia

Creeping Romanization in Chinese, part 4

Overheard

After a race, one Beijing marathon runner asks another:

pb le méiyǒu  pb了沒有…? ("did you meet / match / make your personal best?")

méiyǒu 沒有 ("no")

wǒ de pb shì… 我的pb是… ("my personal best is…")

I don't even know if "pb" is used this way in English, but such usage of Romanization (abbreviations, words, phrases), which often amounts to Englishization, are widespread in China, particularly on social media.

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English as an official language in Taiwan

I could see this coming years ago.  The writing was on the wall:

"Some subjects in Taiwan's schools to be taught in English:  As part of the goal of making Taiwan a bilingual country by 2030, some subjects in schools will be taught entirely in English", by Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer (2018/12/6/18)

That's quite an ambitious goal (a bilingual country by 2030), is it not?  Especially since English will be one half of the bilingual equation, while a mixture of Sinitic and Austronesian languages will together constitute the other half, though Mandarin will doubtless be the main component of the latter, at least initially.

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Creeping Romanization in Chinese, part 3

A highly educated Chinese colleague sent me the following note:

More Chinese phrases with Latin alphabet, such as C位, diss, etc. have become quite popular. Even one of my friends who is so intoxicated by the beauty of the Chinese classic language used "diss" in her WeChat post. She could have used any of the Chinese words such as wǔrǔ 侮辱 or dǐhuǐ 诋毁 to express her idea, but she chose "diss" instead. It was quite a surprise. I feel reluctant to use this kind of word, especially in writing.

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Font adjustment: Times Beef Noodle

Tweet  by Noelle Mateer:

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Love those letters

Here we go again.  More Roman letters and English words on police and security guard uniforms in China (see below for some earlier posts).  Here's a doozy:

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Home party

Recently, Tong Wang's husband told her that he would not be home for dinner because he was going out with friends to this place:

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Official digraphia

More than twenty years ago, I wrote a science fiction novel called "China Babel" (still unpublished) in which I described a time in the future when Chinese would merge with English.  Judging from current usage, the future of the mid-90s is fast impinging on the present.

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Polyscriptal, multilingual packaging for thousand-year eggs

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Toilet: A Love Story

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Blindly busy

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Biscriptal ad in the Hong Kong subway

Jenny Chu spotted this ad from a campaign for Nescafe currently being shown in the Hong Kong MTR:

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∆ in Chinese

Karl Smith saw this sign in Taichung, Taiwan:

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Ampersand in Chinese

From Caitlin Schultz:

I was eating at a place called Yaso Tangbao in Midtown Manhattan recently and snapped these photos of Chinese characters and ampersands. I thought it was unusual!

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