Adding Spice to Alphabet Soup

Adding Spice to Alphabet Soup

  • Submitted By: 228228
  • Date Submitted: 03/10/2009 8:05 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 884
  • Page: 4
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BEIJING, Jan. 9 -- The English language is undergoing its greatest transformation ever, thanks mostly to translation mistakes made by some 250 million Chinese second-language speakers, according to the San Diego-based consultancy Global Language Monitor.

As the first truly global language, Global English's propensity for absorbing new words has made it the world's lingua franca, with globalization accelerating its rate of word assimilation.

At the same time, China's multitude of English learners and rising global influence means most of the new English words coined daily are being made in China. As these new denominations of linguistic currency circulate online, English's lexical bank grows richer by the day.

"Long time no see", a word-for-word Chinese-English translation, is now a standard English phrase, and more Chinglish terms are on their way according to the experts.

"Because of China's growing influence, it now has more impact on Global English than native English-speaking countries. That's pretty astonishing," said GLM president Paul JJ Payack.

Chinglish words, such as "drinktea" a literal translation of the Mandarin word for rest found on storefront signs and "airplane pulp" meaning airline food are being absorbed into Global English's lexicon at a remarkable rate.

Payack says about 30 percent of these new words and phrases are recognizable to native English speakers without explanation. Others, such as "beware, the slippery are very crafty" caution, slippery when wet are just confusing.

GLM has been using a predictive quantities indicator (PQI) to scan the Web for emergent English words and track their mainstream use over time. Using the Elizabethan definition of a word as "a thing spoken and understood", GLM has detected 991,000 words in mainstream Global English. The number is expected to hit the million mark around April.

It also found that Chinglish had contributed 5 to 20 percent of...

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