No "Email" for Chinese Media

The Story

According to a BBC report, China has banned the use of English words in media, such as newspapers, books, and websites. Included in the ban are foreign abbreviations (for example, NBA), English words (for example,  email), and "Chinglish," which mixes Chinese and English.  Chinglish (for example, "3q," meaning "thank you") has become more commonly used, while the Chinese government prefers to keep the language pure.  Grammatical errors in translation are also becoming more common.  Read more here.

NY Times "Chinglish" Slideshow

Discussion Starters

  • What are the potential consequences of China's ban?  How do you think newspapers and website owners will react?
  • What examples of combined-language words have you heard or used yourself?  What, if any, words does your family use that don't represent traditional English?  Which of these words would you consider inappropriate for a business situation?

Assignment Ideas

  • Take a position on the ban.  Write a letter to the Chinese government (which you do not need to send!) either supporting the ban or encouraging the government to remove the ban.  Be sure to support your perspective with examples from the media.
  • Debate the ban in class.  Have one side of the room take the position of the Chinese government, while the other side opposes the ban.  First, research your side of the issue before class.  Individually, find at least three objective sources to support your position.  Share your sources with your teammates via email,  Google Docs, or a wiki.  Then, identify one team member to synthesize all of your research and compile a list of arguments.  In class, before the debate starts, meet with your team for about 10 minutes to finalize your plan and decide who will state which argument and in what order.  Finally, when you begin the debate in class, have one person present one of your arguments.  Alternate sides (and people on the team) until you can come to an agreement -- or when you have nothing left to say.  Which side made the strongest argument?