Nanjing Commie Academy

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From Don Snow:

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This from a sign in a Nanjing subway station directing people to important places:

中共省委党校
Commie Academy of Provinial (sic) Committe of Chinese Communist Party

I can see why they wanted to shorten the English translation a bit, but still….Commie?

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I haven't yet been able to get my hands on a photograph of this sign, but I'd love to have one for documentation.  It will probably disappear quickly after this post.

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12 Comments »

  1. Adrian Petrescu said,

    May 26, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    I love the Language Log and I'm sure it's very influential to many people, but I couldn't help chuckling at the presumptuousness of thinking that the Chinese government is going to be rushing to change their signs based on a post by some random Western blogger.

  2. Henning Makholm said,

    May 26, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

    Could it be the opening move in an embrace-the-epithet campaign?

    (Warning: do not expose this theory to open flame, direct sunlight, or Occam's razor)

  3. Philip Tan-Gatue said,

    May 26, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    Not to mention they already spelled out communist later in the sentence…

  4. Outis said,

    May 26, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

    This is in anticipation for the planned adaptation of 共匪 as a more modern and dynamic alternative abriviation to 中国共产党.

  5. Outis said,

    May 26, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

    "Academy of Provincial Committe of Chinese Communist Party" already translates the whole of "中共省委党校". The "Commie" is quite redundant…

    BUT: if you read the "党" (Party) as an abbreviation for "中国共产党" (Chinese Communist Party), one could imagine why the very literal translator would feel the need to add an English "abbreviation" of "Chinese Communist Party" to qualify "Academy".

  6. Marc said,

    May 26, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

    Adrian Petrescu said,

    May 26, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    I love the Language Log and I'm sure it's very influential to many people, but I couldn't help chuckling at the presumptuousness of thinking that the Chinese government is going to be rushing to change their signs based on a post by some random Western blogger.

    It's probably more likely that some disaffected, backpacking undergrad would take it as a souvenir to put up in their dorm room. :-)

  7. Jo said,

    May 27, 2010 @ 9:03 am

    If they're embracing the epithet, wouldn't "Pinko Academy" sound catchier? Though they might get sued by the Italian fashion company. A couple of years ago half the female population here was sporting glitzy purses emblazoned with the words "Pinko Bag" and I had no end of fun asking puzzled friends whether their new €200 accessory was Leninist, Maoist, or just vaguely sympathetic to socialism.

  8. arthur waldron said,

    May 27, 2010 @ 9:51 am

    They aren't "pinko"–but what are they ? PRC sweeps lots of info from their well-equipped embassy in DC and elsewhere this blog included, put it in massive computer memories, and have tens of thousands of people checking it, plus high speed computers looking for key words. This is thanks, I think, to Cisco Systems. The only secure way to communicate is . . . First Class Mail, as the USPS abolished its steam and read capability years ago. As for the student taking the sign to put it in the dorm room. Do they still post announcements of executions with a big red writing brushed check mark on them when the wretch has been shot? Years ago . . . all my recollections are years ago . . . when I still had a dorm room in the US, I was in Harbin–the old place, now vanished pretty much–in the park where the old foreign cemetery was (with the headstones broken to bits) and a small funerary chapel that served as the Orthodox church. A big yellow execution poster tenuously affixed to a tree was blowing in the breeze. I thought, why not scoop it up, fold it, and put it in my dorm room? Then my mind cleared and I realized that if I were ever discovered to have done that and be in possession of such a poster we would have an international incident at the minimum. So I carefully walked away. But this would have trumped all the Maoist kitsch on the North American continent. Wu hu! Ai zai! But at least I didn't spend time as a guest of the commie or gongfei (let's get with the program) government.

  9. Brendan said,

    May 27, 2010 @ 10:49 am

    My favorite example of unintentional truth in Chinglish advertising is still the old sign — gone since 2004 or 2005 — that directed motorists in north Beijing to "民族公园 RACIST PARK." It's been a while since I was last up in this part of town, so I'm not sure whether the new sign points the way to "MINORITIES PARK" or "ETHNIC MINORITY PARK." In any event, it's now something more accurate in language, if not in substance.

  10. Bob Violence said,

    May 27, 2010 @ 11:19 am

    I believe the equivalent signs here read "Qingdao Party School of CPC", which is more formal if still redundant. I guess "Qingdao Party School" could be misleading on its own.

  11. mollymooly said,

    May 27, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

    "Commie" might be a redundant duplication of "Committe" rather than of "Communist".

  12. Michael Rank said,

    June 5, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

    i would love to see a pic of this sign, does anyone know which subway stop, I hope to find someone in Nanjing who could take a picture. To tell you the truth I'm a bit surprised that Nanjing has a subway, haven't been there since 1975…

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