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China’s rise is unstoppable: it’s all about yuan, yum cha, guanxi and more

  • As China’s cultural and economic influences grow, more Chinese words are entering the international vocabulary
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 7:01pm

I am writing in response to “Why Oxford’s nod to ‘add oil’ fills Hongkongers with pride”, (November 7). While Hong Kong people may lay claim to the term of encouragement derived from “ga yao”, the addition of the latest Chinglish phrase to the Oxford English Dictionary helps to further highlight the rising international profile of China as a whole.

In fact, the term “Chinglish” itself made its way into the dictionary 14 years ago, and the number of Chinese or Hong Kong-origin words in the dictionary has increased significantly in the past two decades, to now include dai pai dong, guanxi, shroff and yum cha. The acceptance of more Chinese words into the most dominant foreign language is arguably a reflection of the rising stature of China, as well as its influence and soft power. There is also a growing interest among foreigners to learn Chinese.

Why Cantonese is a real language in Hong Kong

Earlier this year, the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration’s report on the 100 Chinese words with the highest overseas recognition put “shaolin” at the top of the list. Among the most well-recognised, many were economic terms, with yuan and renminbi both among the top 10. Both words for the Chinese currency also feature in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Language is the most sensitive index for changing times. Behind the prosperity of Chinese English is the closer exchange between China and foreign countries, and the enhancement of China's international influence.

Anna Deng, Tseung Kwan O