Scholars incensed at dictionary for including English abbreviations

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-29 0:25:05

Some 100 scholars handed over a joint letter Tuesday to press and education authorities over 239 terms using Latin alphabet letters in the sixth edition of the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, published by the Commercial Press in June.

In the letter, experts point out that including such terms breaches the Law on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language and the Regulation on the Administration of Publication.

The collection of terms using Latin or Greek letters in the dictionary violates the law, which stipulates that publications in Chinese should conform to generally-followed criteria and standards of the language.

"Listing those terms and replacing Chinese characters with letters in such a dictionary, which is supposed to be an exemplary linguistic standard, deals the most severe damage to the Chinese language in a century," Li Minsheng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Monday.

Fu Zhenguo, a reporter from People's Daily, said the dictionary opens a door to foreign languages by adding abbreviations using these letters.

The terms compiled include NBA, SARS, CPI and PM2.5, all acronyms and buzzwords that are common in China.

CCTV in 2010 followed a rule issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and changed the term NBA in its live games to Mei Zhi Lan, the three-character abbreviation for the National Basketball Association in Chinese, triggering public outcry.

The acronym NBA did not return to the fore until it was added into the latest edition of the dictionary.

"It's such a weird thing for authorities to use a different word from the generally-accepted one," Yu Dianli, manager of Commercial Press, said in July. "No needs to call it Mei Zhi Lan."

But for some, the return of NBA is a move back to the wrong track, sparking a debate as to whether these abbreviations can be part of the Chinese language.

A total of 39 such terms were first introduced into this dictionary in its edition published in 1996.

Global Times

Posted in: Society

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