Archive for the ‘Chinese’ Category

Leading the Way

Posted on June 23rd, 2013by Melanie
In Chinese, English, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

Spanish, Chinese, EnglishIt seems as though the race is on for the top spot of the most spoken language in the world. The two main contenders are English and Chinese. Mandarin Chinese has the highest number of speakers, however, the majority of these are native speakers and the language is mainly concentrated in China, Taiwan and Singapore. China has become the second largest economy in the world and the need for others to learn the language is becoming more apparent. A new interest in the language has emerged and, in particular, businesses are starting to appreciate the need to address this issue for the future. Relations between the Unites States of America and China are gradually increasing and the US are making a concerted effort to promote the learning of the Chinese language.

English is the most widely spoken language throughout the world. It´s usage can be found almost all over the planet and it is the official language in at least one country of every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Historically, this is inevitable due to the extent of the reign of the British Empire. It is the foremost business language and is compulsory in many countries as the first foreign language.

Is any other language in the running to compete with these two hugely popular languages? Spanish has gradually been creeping up the ladder and is now a major international language, being rumoured to overtake English as the most widely spoken in the world. It is spoken across four continents and is the official language of 21 countries. It´s becoming increasingly common in the US due to the rise in immigration, where the number of Spanish speakers is said to have reached 30% of the total population. As a rapidly expanding market, Spanish as a business language has also become more prominent. It´s an official language of the European Union and one of the official languages of the United Nations.

So make sure that you´re ready for the future and don´t get left behind. Start learning Spanish with these courses in Bristol to increase your standing in today’s linguistic society.


Posted on November 28th, 2012by jake
In Chinese, Swahili | Leave a Comment »

Chinese student Shen Yuning has set himself the laborious task of compiling a Swahili-Chinese dictionary.

The 26-year-old plans to include 25,000 words in the dictionary by August before he heads back to university in Germany, where he studies African languages.

“There is an increasing exchange of labor between Africa and China, but many Chinese workers here can speak only Chinese, while locals only speak Swahili and poor English,” said Shen, an exchange student at Kenya’s Kenyatta University.

In writing for this site it has become apparent to me that the world of business has a dramatic impact upon language. Once again we find language learning is being undertaken in order to increase business relationships between nations. Swahili is spoken by many countries including Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and there are more than 80 million speakers worldwide

There was one Swahili-Chinese dictionary compiled in the 1970s, but this hasn’t dissuaded Shen from continuing.

“Vocabulary changes over time. Many words and meanings have gone through immense changes over the past decades considering China’s tremendous changes during the same period,” Shen said.

. [via: China Daily]

Web Language

Posted on November 25th, 2012by jake
In Chinese, English, Technology | Leave a Comment »

According to TechInAsia 24% of web content is now written in Chinese.

At the end of 2011, 27 percent of web content was in English, while 24 percent was in Chinese. Despite that, the graphic’s creators, the translation management platform Smartling, lament that the web is still too monolingual, with “56 percent of online content [being] English-only.” It calls for a more multilingual approach to the web.

Considering that North America and Europe account for 26% of web users whereas Asia accounts for 45% it is quite surprising that the statistic for Chinese web content is not higher. In the year 2000 39% of web content was written in English which shows a dramatic reduction to only 27% in 2011. In 2000 only 9% of web content was in Chinese now soaring to 24%. From these statistics it is quite likely that Chinese will become the majority language of the web, and it is quite likely to happen soon. The statistics offered in the article were complied by Smartling who also offer the astounding statistic that ‘China added more internet users in three years than exist in the U.S.’.

[via: TechInAsia]

Czechs Learning ‘Business Languages’

Posted on November 22nd, 2012by jake
In Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

The Prague Daily Moniter has written an article about the decline of English learning amongst young Czechs. Although the article suggests that ‘almost all young Czechs know some English now compared with the early 1990s’, it suggests that knowledge of more than one foreign language increases young Czechs career prospects. The foreign languages being chosen by young Czechs appear to be dependent upon ‘business trends that now put emphasis on Spanish, Russian and Chinese’. Orientalist Sarka Litvinova told the paper that ‘Czechs choose mainly Spanish and Russian as a second foreign language according to her statistics.’

It is not just Litvinova’s statistics that indicate that learning English is being surpassed by other languages, the trends are also partially confirmed by the data of the Education Ministry.

Russian is now studied by almost 30,000 children compared with about 11,000 in 2004, according to the ministry.

The number of students interested in Spanish more than doubled in the same period. It rose from 11,000 in 2004 to 24,000 now, the ministerial data show.

The article suggests that these increases are the result of Czechs wanting to do business with Russia and South America. Interest in Chinese is also growing within the country due to China’s ever increasing economy and presence on the global stage.

[via PDM]

Nobel Prize

Posted on October 31st, 2012by jake
In Chinese, Events | Leave a Comment »

Chinese author Mo Yan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mo Yan when literally translated means ‘don’t speak’. He is one of China’s most highly regarded authors and he has written nine novels and many short stories.

‘The Swedish Academy praised his work which “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”.

The 57-year-old is the first Chinese resident to win the prize. Chinese-born Gao Xingjian was honoured in 2000, but is a French citizen.’

I was delighted to hear that a Chinese author had won the prize. I wrote my dissertation on Chinese literature and feel that it is underrepresented in Western culture. If you are interested in Chinese literature I would recommend the work of Mian Mian, Jung Chang and Ai Weiwei. Although Mo has written novels that are critical of the Chinese government he has not been as vocal as some of his peers with some critics accusing him of being ‘too close to the Communist Party’.

“A writer should express criticism and indignation at the dark side of society and the ugliness of human nature,” the author said in a speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009.

“Some may want to shout on the street, but we should tolerate those who hide in their rooms and use literature to voice their opinions.”‘

Quotes via the BBC

Chinese dictionary – for restaurant

Posted on May 18th, 2012by Michelle
In Chinese, Culture, English, Translation | Leave a Comment »

Any idea what “hand shredded ass meat” is? Does it sound like a delicious restaurant meal?

If the answer’s no, then a new dictionary may be your new best friend. “Enjoy Culinary Delights: The English Translation of Chinese Menus” was originally created in 2006 with the “Beijing Speaks English” campaign. The book was modified in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and proved to be so successful that work has continued on it.

The dictionary does exactly what it says: instead of providing the potentially inaccurate machine translation of a dish, it will tell you exactly what it is. So “hand shredded ass meat” becomes “hand shredded donkey meat”. Over 2,000 translations are provided (although this does mean you will miss out on gems such as “Tofu made by woman with freckles”).

Some of the dishes kept their original names, which people familiar with Chinese food may understand: jiaozi, baozi, mantou, tofu or wonton.

Some more complicated dishes come with both Chinese pronunciations and explanations: “fotiaoqiang” (steamed abalone with shark’s fin and fish maw in broth); “youtiao” (deep-fried dough sticks); “lvdagunr” (glutinous rice rolls stuffed with red bean paste), and “aiwowo” (steamed rice cakes with sweet stuffing).

Chen Lin, a 90-year-old retired English professor from Beijing Foreign Language University, was the chief consultant for the book.
He told NBC News that about 20 other experts – like English teachers and professors, translators, expats who have lived in China for a long time, culinary experts and people from the media – helped develop the final version. (Source: NBC News)


Swahili in Chinese

Posted on April 28th, 2012by Michelle
In Chinese, Swahili, Translation | Leave a Comment »

Just last week I posted about a man who had made it his life’s work to produce a Yiddish-Japanese dictionary.

Now it’s revealed a Chinese man is compiling a Swahili-Chinese dictionary. Twenty-six year old Shen Yuning announced the plan on his blog last December, and has so far completed nearly 5,000 words.

Yuning is studying African languages at university in Germany, but is currently an exchange student in Kenya. He works up to 15 hours a day on the dictionary, and plans to include 25,000 words by August. The words included come from interaction with locals as well as Yuning’s study of books, newspapers and television.

Yuning’s friends say he is very interested in linguistics and can talk about word meanings for hours. He hopes that his dictionary will help international workers:

There is an increasing exchange of labor between Africa and China, but many Chinese workers here can speak only Chinese, while locals only speak Swahili and poor English,” said Shen, an exchange student at Kenya’s Kenyatta University.

“Of the several African languages I’ve learned, Swahili is my best,” Shen said, adding that Swahili is also the most important language in East African countries including Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, with more than 80 million speakers.

He hopes the dictionary will be helpful for Chinese workers in East Africa.

“There are free online translation tools, but they are rubbish when it comes to the translation of African language,” Shen said.

“Moreover, most Chinese workers in Africa don’t have easy access to the Internet, while a dictionary is portable and much more convenient to use.” (Source: China Daily)

English enclave in China?

Posted on January 12th, 2012by Michelle
In Chinese, Culture, English | Leave a Comment »

Ever wanted to visit China but fear the language barrier? You’re in luck!

In one of the oddest pieces of news I’ve seen in a while, it’s reported in China’s People’s Daily that a Beijing suburb is to build a European style town where no one will be allowed to speak Chinese. To be built within 5 years, the town will have an English castle and create “the illusion of being abroad”.

The local mayor, Wang Haichen, said one courtyard has been turned into a boutique hotel, and promised to transform Miyun County into an international tourism and leisure attraction.

We shall have to wait and see how successful this is!

Google Translate updated

Posted on December 28th, 2011by Michelle
In Chinese, Japanese, Translation, Writing | Leave a Comment »

Google Translate recently got a fantastic new update: the ability to recognise handwriting!

Translate can now recognise written words in seven different languages, including English, Italian and German. This is great if you have an old-school pen pal who writes you letters rather than emails, or if you can’t quite figure out what the waiter wrote on your receipt.

Possibly the best part of this news though, is for Chinese and Japanese language learners, who can now use the app for characters that are not usually found on English keyboards. Perhaps it can also be used for checking that you are creating characters correctly when practicing your written language skills.

Can anyone think of other language learning uses for this new function?

(Source: Android Police)

Top 10 internet languages

Posted on March 28th, 2010by Michelle
In Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Research, Russian, Spanish, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Graph of Top 10 languagesThe internet is a great resource for language learning, but only if you can find the information you need.

Good news for English speakers and language learners as English is the language most used by internet users. According to research by Internet World Stats, English is the language used by almost 30% of users. This is quite closely followed by Chinese and then Spanish. Japanese, French, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Russian and Korean round out the top 10.

Keeping this in mind, try out this game to see if you can guess the world’s top 20 most spoken languages. I think the number one will surprise you!