Project Type

Faculty Scholarship

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The first linguistic surprise a speaker of English will encounter upon arrival in China is Chinglish. Chinglish is found everywhere in China. Oliver L. Radtke (2007) puts it so well in his book, Chinglish: Found in translation, “I spotted it throughout, often in the most unsuspected places. I found it on hotel room doors and brightly lit highway billboards, construction sites and soccer balls, condoms and pencil boxes” (p. 6). Chinglish is characterized by its humor and sometimes mis-use of grammar. “Chinglish,” says Radtke, “is very funny because of the sometimes scarily direct nature of the new meaning produced by the translation. A “deformed man toilet” in Shanghai or an “anus hospital” in Beijing is funny because it instantly destroys linguistic euphemisms …” (p. 7). The questions posed in this paper are:

  1. Is Chinglish intelligible, comprehensible, and interpretable from the communication point of view?
  2. If yes, what lesson do we draw from a second/foreign language teaching perspective?

Permission type

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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The Use of Chinglish (Chinese-English) in the Public Places in China

Fishbowl

The first linguistic surprise a speaker of English will encounter upon arrival in China is Chinglish. Chinglish is found everywhere in China. Oliver L. Radtke (2007) puts it so well in his book, Chinglish: Found in translation, “I spotted it throughout, often in the most unsuspected places. I found it on hotel room doors and brightly lit highway billboards, construction sites and soccer balls, condoms and pencil boxes” (p. 6). Chinglish is characterized by its humor and sometimes mis-use of grammar. “Chinglish,” says Radtke, “is very funny because of the sometimes scarily direct nature of the new meaning produced by the translation. A “deformed man toilet” in Shanghai or an “anus hospital” in Beijing is funny because it instantly destroys linguistic euphemisms …” (p. 7). The questions posed in this paper are:

  1. Is Chinglish intelligible, comprehensible, and interpretable from the communication point of view?
  2. If yes, what lesson do we draw from a second/foreign language teaching perspective?