Why is English Everywhere??

I’ve said this a few times: Chinese will never/not for a long time be a truly international language. A man from Mexico and Saudi Arabia will meet each other and promptly speak English or Spanish or Pig Latin. They will probably not be speaking Chinese to one another. It will be an international language insofar as people interested in China will need to speak it, but it will never been a lingua franca throughout the globe the way English, French, German and Spanish are/have been. (Maybe I should eat my words? 2016 was a bad year for safe predictions and long-standing records.)

Saying that, obviously Chinese doesn’t use our alphabet but a bunch of pictographs. It would be weird as all hell, if there was the ubiquity of Chinese characters in American media the way English is in Chinese media. You flip through Chinese TV and you’ll see English everywhere. If it’s not a direct translation like it is on the evening news, it’s simply the pinyin or the Romanization of the language. (Meaning putting the sounds of their language into our letters.) So you watch basketball and their jerseys don’t use characters to say 广东, they literally say Guangdong. It must be weird to see that infiltration from an outside language and culture. And in a time of increased nationalism, it’s weird to see state-run media pushing English translations and official Facebook accounts on its primary news channel.

It seems to be by all accounts linguistic imperialism, but the funny thing is that it seems quite welcome at times. Many Chinese genuinely enjoy learning English (many obviously do not), and often learn to go abroad. Letters are seamlessly incorporated into society, and whether that’s a long term problem remains to be seen.

Foshan Dragon Lions
Imagine seeing Chinese on a Patriots logo


Like what you’re reading on China? Check out some other related articles in: The China Chronicles!








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