The People’s Daily, of all places, has an interesting article about Chinglish. OK, the article isn’t really that interesting but the premise is; essentially they’re reporting that contingent of Chinese and foreigners oppose the correction of Chinglish signs on the grounds that Chinglish is more interesting that regular English and is a sort of cultural relic. As evidence of the movement, they cite the existence of a Facebook group with over 8,000 members.
The idea is that this affection for Chinglish isn’t ironic or mocking, but we’re not entirely convinced. For example, from the Facebook group’s front page:
This group is for all of those people who love to giggle at poor grammar, wrong context, and embarrassing spelling of the English language.
On the other hand, there are plenty of comments that make a legitimate argument for the “language”. One girl posted:
I just want to say,inspite of being a true Chinglish fan, I speak and write a bit of Chinese,so I think that if we would tanslate our signs/posts (here in the West) in Chinese everywhere it would be equally hilarious if not even worse considering the complexity of Chinese language/culture
Another boy wrote:
We live in a world of economic crisis, terrorism, famine and disease – dark times for many. If we all took time to smile at ourselves and each other then the chances of people meeting these challenges together rather than at odds with one another would be vastly bettered. Chinglish is an effective form of communication which means that in spite of an often serious and important message one can’t help but smile. It is a lovely, well intentioned and warm-hearted expression. The world should not be robbed of Chinglish.
Interesting, to say the least. The article in People’s Daily also makes some bold claims:
Chinglish has contributed five to twenty percent of newly-added English words since 1994, exceeding any other source.
This one doesn’t seem to be true. It’s difficult to find a complete list of all the words added to dictionaries since 1994, but checking year by year we found that probably more like 1-5% came from Chinese. Most came from the internet. The article also alleges that “the phrase “good good study, day day up” […] has become a famous Chinglish sentence,” which is true in China but not anywhere else (except, perhaps, Chinese language classrooms).
So what do you think? Does Chinglish breed affection or misunderstanding and derision? Is it worth saving, or should the Chinese government get rid of it? Can the government get rid of it?