Chinese Language

Number of Chinese speakers in US rises 360pc in 30 years

A student points to Chinese characters beside a drawing of a US flag at Broadway Elementary School in Venice, Los Angeles. Photo: Reuters

The number of Chinese speakers in the United States has increased by almost 360 per cent over the past 30 years, new government data has revealed.

Saturday, 10 August, 2013, 10:57am

China must make its mark on global language map on its own terms

Some Chinese words are untranslatable. Photo: Reuters

Most people believe that the secret to promoting Chinese culture is to have as many foreigners as possible studying the Chinese language. But there is a better way.

3 Jun 2013 - 2:32am 4 comments

South Asian students thwarted by lack of Chinese-language skills

Equal opportunities campaigner Fermi Wong is flanked by students Igra Khan (far left) and Thas Mohamed. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Local primary students have no problem reading and writing the Chinese characters for common words such as “mushroom”, “pumpkin” or even “universal suffrage”. Not so for Pakistani girl Igra Khan, who is in Form Three.

6 May 2013 - 10:51am 1 comment

Hard labour for lawyers who speak only English

The use of Chinese in Hong Kong's courts has taken off. Photo: SCMP

With more court cases being heard in Chinese, lawyers who know only English say the amount of work available for them has dropped, causing some to earn less, go into early retirement or move abroad.

1 Apr 2013 - 9:57am 8 comments

Hong Kong trails rival Singapore in students' English skills

King Ling pupils use English in some classes. Photo: David Wong

Many parents spare no efforts in brushing up their children's language skills - and not just in English. Demand for Putonghua teachers is soaring as China's clout in the global economy increases.

4 Feb 2013 - 10:22am 19 comments

Publisher receives funds to revise authoritive Chinese dictionary

Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Chinese Word Dictionary)

A mainland publishing house was given 27 million yuan (HK$33.2 million) in state funding to revise the Hanyu Da Cidian (Comprehensive Chinese Word Dictionary), in the first revision of the premier Chinese language dictionary in nearly two decades.

12 Dec 2012 - 4:32am

Putonghua lessons can be supplemented out of school

Successful language learning continues away from school.Photo: K.Y. Cheng

My son has been learning Putonghua at school and I want him to make progress. But I am not a Putonghua speaker, so how can I help?

10 Sep 2012 - 9:32am

Keeping Chinese language free from outside influence an impossible goal

Nations with a proud history and culture are also likely to be jealously protective of their language. For a country fast on the rise like China, that is guaranteed to be doubly so.

3 Sep 2012 - 1:44am

'NBA' condemned for Chinese dictionary

Millions of basketball fans refer to their favourite league as the NBA, rather than mei zhi lan, the official Chinese translation. Photo: Mark Ralston

A group of Chinese academics has said English-language abbreviations that have become part of everyday life on the mainland should be struck from the country’s top dictionary.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

American Metro Vocal Group makes splash with Canto-pop covers

Back row: Sean Oliver (left), Kevin Thornton, Eric Monson, Michael Lance and Orlando To with Michelle Li (front left) and Detroit Diamond. Photo: David Wong

When four Americans came to Hong Kong in 2005 to sing at the opening of Disneyland they had little idea what they would be doing four years later - singing unaccompanied in two Chinese dialects, releasing a Cantonese album and staging concerts in Hong Kong.

15 Aug 2012 - 3:47am

Lai See

Census department's population projections begin to wobble

15 Aug 2012 - 10:47pm

Designated Drivers: How China Plans to Dominate the Global Auto Industry

Designated Drivers: How China Plans to Dominate the Global Auto Industry by G.E. Anderson Wiley

29 Jul 2012 - 12:00am


Putonghua is a vital language for us

Putonghua, also known as Mandarin, is the mainland's official language. In Hong Kong, it is the third language all students have to learn as a core subject.

More than a billion people speak the language, mostly on the mainland and in Taiwan as well. That means knowing Putonghua can help you to communicate with many people.

26 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

UK was escape hatch for New Territories' poor

Of all the Chinese who have emigrated from Hong Kong to the UK, the vast majority have been from the New Territories.

In her 38 years in Northern Ireland, Anna Lo, the first Chinese woman to become a lawmaker in Europe, has come into contact with many of them in her extensive work with ethnic minorities, and has no doubt as to why they left their place of birth.

22 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Copying musicals of the West 'not the way to go'

Mainland producers, hampered by a lack of big-name Chinese musicals, are adapting and translating more Western works into Putonghua, but one expert has questioned whether that is the best way to develop the art form.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats will become the second top Western musical to be performed in Putonghua next month, following last year's Mama Mia.

15 Jul 2012 - 12:00am