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《Applied Linguistics》 2002-02
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Remarks on “Words with Foreign Letters” and English Abbreviations in Written and Spoken Chinese

Hu Mingyang  
In recent years,a considerable number of words with foreign letters,such as “X 光(guang)",“γ 射线(shexian)",etc.and English abbreviations such as “WTO",“CDMA",etc.have kept cropping up in Chinese newspapers and other publications,and on radio and television.Ordinary Chinese people are of course not able to understand what they mean,even are not able to guess what they mean from the context.Linguists divide widely in opinion as to these linguistic phenomena.Some of them strongly criticized the unnecessary introduction of foreign words into Chinese which have very good Chinese equivalents already in use. One non linguist,worried by such a linguistic trend,condenmed it as a token of colonial mentality in national culture.However,some of them supported the introduction of these foreign words into Chinese and praised it as a step forward towards globalism,and others called these bizare alien words or expressions “Chinese lettered words",as if these English or other foreign letters were ordinary Chinese letters,and ordinary Chinese people could or should understand them as easily as other newly coined Chinese words with Chinese morphemes or root words. The wirter of this paper is of the opinion that neither support for or opposition to the introduction of these words with foreign letters and English abbreviations on the side of linguists or of state authorities in charge of language and writing will have any substantial influence on it,and the direction of linguistic trend can be only decided by the destiny of the nation and the country concerned.
【CateGory Index】: H136.5
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