[photopress:MBA_Mp3_user.JPG,full,alignright]What follows is an argument as old as time and is in no way confined to China and China universities or indeed, to MBAs or higher education. But it is totally relevant.
The question is whether modern technology poses a threat to the purity of the Chinese language?
And the instant and immediate answer must be yes.
The other question is whether it will totally destroy the Chinese language. And the instant and immediate answer must be no.
A language is a living thing modified by experience. There has to be a common platform when communicating especially across generations.
Professors must be able to communicate with students and vice versa. But the idea that a language can be threatened by the use of imports from other languages is ludicrous. English itself is a language totally composed of a mix of importations and that process continues.
Thus if many Chinese — true, mainly the young — use instant messenger tools such as MSN or QQ, listen to music on MP3 players and log on the Internet using ADSL then they may not know, probably will not know, the literal Chinese translation of the abbreviations.
But they don’t have to, as many English letters have become part of the local lexicon.
And if MBA students use American marketing expressions it is because in the world of management these forms, however obnoxious a purist may find them, are an accurate way of communicating.
According to a report on the 2006 Language Situation in China, which was released in Beijing, a dozen abbreviations including GDP, NBA, IT, MP3, QQ, DVD and CEO are among the 5,000 most-frequently used words in the Chinese-language media last year.
The study collected more than 1 billion language samples from newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and websites last year. The annual report is jointly compiled by the Ministry of Education and the State Language Commission.
Hou Min, a professor at Communication University of China said, ‘Nowadays, more and more English abbreviations are being used in Chinese, making them an important part of the contemporary language. The abbreviations have gained popularity because of the ease of usage.’
She said, ‘As more Chinese people learn foreign languages, especially English, in recent years, using abbreviations has become a trend among educated people.’
Some language scholars fear such usage will contaminate the purity of Chinese and cause confusion in communication. This is a baseless fear.
As Li Yuming, deputy director of the State Language Commission, said: ‘Chinese is a tolerant language which can absorb every advantage from other languages. We are trying to build a linguistically-harmonious society. It is ideal that people speak some foreign languages besides their mother tongue.’
Source: China View