BEIJING Chinglish is alive and well at the
Beijing Olympics and its survival is no "cryshame," say
linguists who have monitored its quirky progress.
With the eyes of the world on Beijing, Chinese authorities
have tried to eradicate from menus and road signs many offbeat
and nonsensical translations they fear could offend foreigners.
Gone are exploding shrimp and signposts to the Garden with
But the Texas-based Global Language Monitor (GLM), which
analyses word usage trends, said Beijing was fighting a losing
battle and should celebrate "this delightful mixture of Chinese
"Chinglish will persist and even thrive far after the Games
have ended," the Austin institute forecast.
English is now widely accepted as the main global language
and up to 250 million Chinese currently study English, whose
vocabulary is now approaching one million words.
As two vibrant tongues collide, the verbal gymnastics of
Chinglish should be celebrated, GLM argued.
It hailed "the astonishing complexity and richness of the
Mandarin language" and forecast a rosy future for Chinglish
because "Chinese people evidently enjoy wearing Chinglish on
Garishly colored and linguistically tortured T-shirts
abound in the malls and markets of this sprawling city.
Fashion designer Scarlet Page, who sells T-shirts with
deliberate Chinglish on them, said "There is no way the
government can police the T-shirts."
The Chinese authorities set up a hotline for the public to
report strangled language and have corrected hundreds of road
signs including the infamous "Racist Park" signpost for the
Ethnic Minorities Park.
"Some of the translations are confusing or even offensive
to foreign visitors," explained Chen Lin, a consultant with the
Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Programme.
The U.S institute said Chinglish was at the epicenter of
"cross-pollination between English and Mandarin" and picked
some of its own personal favorites to celebrate the
-- If you are stolen, call the police
-- Airline Pulp (food served aboard airlines)
-- The slippery are very crafty (slippery when wet)
-- Do not climb the rocketry (rock wall)
-- Deformed man toilet (handicapped restroom)
(Additional reporting by Gillian Murdoch)
(Editing by Miles Evans)
(For more stories visit our multimedia website "Road to
and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china )