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Language Culture

In: Other Topics

Submitted By lude
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Yuchen Xiao
Comp 099
Critical Essay #1
February 8,2016

Language Culture Min-Zhan Lu in “From Silence to Words,” describe the struggle she faced speaking english when she grew up in China, and how she learn English under China Culture Revolution. She was so upset that she can not use english at school, and she feels she cannot write without the influences of her language and culture at home. Lu believe that one’s writing will not influenced by the outside world, because the opinion must be accurately conveyed. However she let herself to omit these opinions when she writing English. She convey her dismay lose the command of the language. And how to spare “ the language of school” and “ the language of home”. Through the story, she is trying to find her own identity in the China Culture Revolution, in struggle with language. After that, she feel better and even more thankful for the circumstance that her grew up. At the end, She become a teacher and teaches her student English use her experience, let them writing without much struggle. Lu writes, “ This incident confirmed in my mind what my parents had always told me about the importance of English to one’s life”(438). With the globalization process of the economy and the informationalization process of the society, the importance of English is prominent. Due to cultural and linguistic differences between English and Chinese and different in ways of thinking between East and West, a new type of English has created by Chinese, which is called Chinglish. Today, it is undeniable that English has become an international language around the word. As a bridge of international communication tool, English is widely used by many countries, like China, Japan, Brazil. With the further development of China’s open-up, previously China does not accept any outside cultures. more Chinese people have started learning English. Under the difference between Chinese culture and Western culture, many problem in learning english have come up, especially the controversial language Chinglish. English as a foreign language in China has become a nationwide at all academic level, from the kindergarten to the University, even fetal education some pregnant lady will play English music to their babies. The reason for learning English is diversified, include linguistic, culture, social. This is a intricate problem. Chinglish is a irregular language has created by Chinese who learning English in China influence by their mother tongue and culture. Chinglish, as a mixed language that is neither complete English or Chinese, it can be called unofficial English with Chinese characteristics. Although we can see that Chinglish is start accepted by standard English, but it also has an negative influence on cross-cultural combination and worse, that is it will never disappear by itself. As an communication languages and with its own characteristics, Chinglish appearances is objective and inevitable for people who are learning English in China. Although it has the character of China, it is also non-standard English. This is a universal phenomenon appear in English learning. Because English as a second language in China, which means in English words corresponds to the Chinese words. But here is a problem, sometime a Chinese word corresponds to various English words. Student usually translate from Chinese to English by word to word. For example, “ Tastes differ”, every person has his own individual preferences, by in Chinese it will translate to “ some prefer radish but others prefer cabbage”, because Chinese has a idiom called “萝卜白菜,各有所爱” which means “Tastes differ”. Chinese thinking also different than English thinking. Chinese thinking is following to the time and logic sequence. People always from first to last by time sequence when they remember things, and in the logic sequence from cause to result. But English is the opposite. For example, Chinese student will write a sentence following the time sequence : “ I wanted to go traveling abroad at Christmas; however, I had to cancel it makes me disappointed”. But English people will write it like: “ It was disappointment that I had to cancel traveling abroad at Christmas.” For Westerners, sometimes they think Chinglish is mysterious, funny and cute, but more often confusing, embarrassing and annoying. For example, some Chinese will translate “vegetative patient’ to “vegetable patient”, or translate “brittle bone disease” to “glass doll”. Accordingly Westerners think Chinese people are insensitive to the suffering of patients, but the Chinese word itself does not mean that the speaker has no disrespect. In fact, English and Chinese often borrow vocabulary influence to each other; some Chinglish have been accepted by standard English, such as “running dog”, “ long time no see”, “no can do” and “paper tiger”. Like “long time no see”, the correct way of saying it should be: I haven’t seen you for ages. People think “ long time no see” is more straight to the point and more simple than other one.But this does not mean Chinglish accord with English usage, but quite on the contrary; it is precisely because those sentences are technically Chinglish. The reason why is English is a universal language, as the world cultural exchanges increasingly widespread, English vocabularies are constantly expanded. Along with the development of internet technology, people have more opportunity to take a close look at the Chinese culture, discover the true meaning of Chinglish. Let Chinglish become a very interesting and widely accepted expression. And since 1994, joined the ranks of the vocabulary of international English , Chinglish, contributed 5% to 20%, more than any other source. There are other major difference between English and Chinese language; that is, English usually use substitute word when they need repeat some words are necessary to repeat in sentence. But in China, people will not use substitution word for everything, even though translate English to Chinese they usually never use any substitutes either. Like, in English “ Many American universities are accept Chinese students, and many Chinese university are maintain academic with them.” But in Chinese “ Many American universities are accept Chinese students, and many Chinese university are maintain academic with American universities. Although many Chinese schools began hire foreign teachers, but in fact it’s only in first-tier cities school and university. And the main reason influence Chinglish appear are laziness and defect and widely popular translation software. People usually like literal translation from Chinese to English. For example, in winter, some place will put a warning sign:“Be careful, slippery slopes”, but some Chinese will translate to “ To take notice of safe: The slippery are very crafty”. In some public parking lot, you will see “ Be sure to lock your doors and windows and take all valuables with you”, but in Chinglish it will translate to “When you leave car, please turn off door and window, take your valuable object”. It is embarrassed that we can see Chinglish in our life everywhere. Chinglish is a common phenomenon when students learning English in China. Because they are so familiar with their Chinese writing skill and they usually put it into English writing. And this has become an obstacle to their English learning. Main reason is they learning foreign languages without language environment, they will ignore the difference between two languages. Without personal reason, other reason is Chinese English teachers usually have poor ability in pragmatic aspect. Student leaning English is always focused on how to take a text in China. Therefore teachers will focus on root analysis, part of speech,synonyms and antonyms. This is a good way to memorize vocabulary, but it has limited help for improving students’ ability to apply the vocabulary to practical use. That’s why some Chinese have wide vocabulary but their English communication skill quit limited. For example, when someone explain something, most of the students will respond: “ Oh, I know”, but the correct answer is: “oh, I see”. This is because the most to students are customary to translate ‘understand’ in ‘konw’ in any case. Indeed, with so many people communicating in English every day, we can see that it will be more important to have a good knowledge of English. Chinglish is cause by the Chinese thinking and culture, it’s characterized by widespread, multiple, ignoring pragmatics. Therefore, in order to learn English, Chinese students must be abandon using the Chinese sentence structure for English. Deeply understanding of the history, culture, society, customs and other background knowledge of Westerners. People need read English-English dictionary, read English books extensively. Visit English language websites, they are full of good ideas for learning how to structure a sentence. With the improvement of people’s consciousness, Chinese people will seek the way to eradicate Chinglish in public.

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