Reprinted From November 2, 2013
Updated: 2013-11-02 00:37
By JIN ZHU in Beijing and CHEN JIA in San Francisco (China Daily)
Words of Chinese origin are playing a key role in driving the ongoing globalization of English, experts in both languages say.
“The fact that some 300 million Chinese people are now studying or have studied English means the important impact of Chinese on the language can’t be denied,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president and chief analyst at Global Language Monitor.
The consultancy, based in Austin in the US state of Texas, documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis on English.
It says some 10,000 words are added to the English language annually, with about 1.83 billion people using English as their native, second, business or technical language.
But the global figure was only about 250 million in 1960, with English-speakers mainly located in Britain and its Commonwealth of former colonies, as well as the United States.
“It’s estimated that a new English word is created every 98 minutes,” Payack said.
“One example of a word used in English that originated from Chinese that has appeared recently is chengguan (city patrol officer). A quick Google search results in nearly a million citations, far in excess of our minimum number of required citations.”
The Oxford English Dictionary, which waits 10 years before entering a word to ensure it has “staying power”, now has about 1,000 words of Chinese origin, such as taikonaut.