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Chinese Written Language To Dominate Internet 535

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the keep-'em-dominated dept.
Zothecula writes "In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English. Times change though, and the United States military's gift to civilization knows no national boundaries, and growing worldwide adoption of the internet has changed the audience make-up to such an extent that the dominant language of the internet is about to become Chinese. That's not to say the Chinese are all that comfortable with this either. There has just been an official decree requiring the use of Chinese translations for all English words and phrases in newspapers, magazines and web sites. While all countries have watched the unregulated global nature of the internet erode traditional cultural values and the integrity of national languages, it seems the Chinese powers-that-be have concluded that the purity of the Chinese language needs to be preserved."
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Chinese Written Language To Dominate Internet

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  • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @02:53PM (#34689596)
    There might be more data in Chinese, but English will still be the standard of international communication.
    • by Khuffie (818093)
      Also, one main thing the graph doesn't tell is: - how many of the Chinese users read/write English? - how many of the English users read/write Chinese?
    • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:49PM (#34690390) Homepage Journal

      The French have tried to purify their language for centuries. They even have a committee to determine what words can and cannot be added. Which is ironic - when French was first spoken, the French aristocracy regarded it as an inferior Pig Latin. These days, French media outlets are obligated to carry a certain percentage of their output in French.

      Now it is fair to say that language and culture are tightly coupled. It is also fair to say that multiple languages are important - current studies suggest that for each language you learn, you add 5+ years to your brain's functional lifespan and you add (an as-yet undetermined) degree of capacity to learn (it bulks the brain up, giving more room for more connections and more complex connections. It follows that preserving a large number of languages is not only socially a good idea but intellectually a necessity to produce the best thinkers.

      However, you'll never achieve that through "language purity". (The term for an international language is Lingua Franca - guess who coined the term - and yet despite the language that sparked the term being kept very pure indeed, it is hardly spoken today. Indeed, one could argue that English is the modern Lingua Franca because it is impure and therefore highly adaptable to new situations.)

      Language preservation and conservation is Good. Keep it up. But do so for the right reasons and in the right way. Purity is the short path to the Dead Language world. That which does not evolve is doomed to die.

      • by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @04:39PM (#34691030)

        "Lingua franca" is Italian, and means "Frankish language". According to my book (I'll copy the paragraph out if you ask), the Arabs used to refer to all Europeans as Franks, and the language they used to communicate was Frankish -- some kind of minimal common vocabulary for all the people from various countries.

      • Sigh. Repeat after me: correlation is not causation.

        current studies suggest that for each language you learn, you add 5+ years to your brain's functional lifespan and you add (an as-yet undetermined) degree of capacity to learn (it bulks the brain up, giving more room for more connections and more complex connections.

        Unless you have a medical explanation of how learning a language causes increased neural activity (for that matter, compared to what?), all you have is correlation.

        Learning a forei

  • I doubt it.

    I would RTFA but the summary makes it sounds like just another fluff opinion piece written by a journalist that doesn't know what he/she is writing about.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Yes, the article does have facts and figures supporting the claim.

      Somebody got a little too creative with the infographics [gizmag.com] though. Call me old-fashioned, but I like simple graphs I already know how to read.

    • I was trying to think of an amusing joke, which would no doubt be modded down by all the AC's swarming and insulting the Chinese.

      Suffice to say that the fact that Chinese will be the most prevalent language used for chatter between grandma and the kids, does not make it the "dominant" language of the internet(s).

      As for a fluff journalist summary on /., which means next to nothing or is downright deceptive-- welcome to /. This is not exactly new, is it? I beginning to think this is why some countries h

  • Chinese or French (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sabalon (1684)

    Keep in mind that the French are equally vehement about the purity of their language. This could be the next great war :|

    • by Yo Grark (465041)

      God how I wish this was so.

      Send the bloody Quebecor's to ACTUALLY fight for something rather than just complain to goverment all the time to get their way.

      Yo Grark

    • Re:Chinese or French (Score:4, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:05PM (#34689774)
      Beyond that I'm not sure why it would be Chinese. China has a huge number of people, but they don't really speak the same language, the words are written more or less the same way, but good luck using the same dialect all over China. Same reason why India won't use any of their languages as the default.

      I fully expect them to fail as between India and the US you've got nearly a full quarter of the world's populatation there alone, and we both use English as our language for government and such.

      French or Spanish could do that, but it's a pretty long shot that any of those could over take English for such matters. Considering how English is more or less the official language of quite a few things these days, whether or not that was a wise decision in the first place.
    • Keep in mind that the French are equally vehement about the purity of their language. This could be the next great war :|

      Fortunately, we already know [youtube.com] who's going to win that one:

  • Whats the problem? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arcite (661011) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @02:56PM (#34689640)
    In ten years time we will have perfected translation software to instantly translate the major languages on the fly with almost perfect accuracy.

    I work in the middle east and EVERYTHING written has to be translated into Arabic and English. What this means at the moment is that good translators are in high demand (of which there are not nearly enough).

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      In ten years time we will have perfected translation software to instantly translate the major languages on the fly with almost perfect accuracy.

      I remember people saying that in ten years time we would have perfected translation software.... in the 80s.

      • Well, we have perfected transliteration software, but good translation remains the domain of skilled specialists, and will likely remain so for several decades.
    • In ten years time we will have perfected translation software to instantly translate the major languages on the fly with almost perfect accuracy.

      Perhaps. But it's gonna be an interesting decade [google.com].

    • by wcrowe (94389)

      Good (not perfect) translation may be eventually reached, but it will certainly not be perfected in ten years. People make the mistake of assuming that language can be boiled down to a collection of algorithms. This is far from the case.

    • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:43PM (#34690292)

      Translation software needs work.

      For a bit of fun, try out Translation Party [translationparty.com], which uses Google Translate to convert text back and forth between English and Japanese until the English version is the same twice in a row.

    • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:49PM (#34690388) Journal

      In ten years time we will have....

      In the 1950s, we were only 10 years away from having flying cars. The same was said about AI, voice recognition and a million other things in 1990. There have been gradual improvements, but nothing remotely "perfected", to use your words. The first 90% is always the easiest to obtain, the last 10% of perfection is often never achieved. That might be "good enough", but it is never even close to "perfected".

      The whole story seems overly sensationalized. In 10 years, China may be poorer than they are now because of imports from yet another 3rd world country being cheaper than theirs. Or they may be the overlords. Or they may be in a nuclear war with the USA. Or Russia. In 2000, if you would have told me that the US government would have created the current semi-fascist state we are in, I wouldn't have believed it either. Your best for 10 years from now is not to bet at all.

  • Esperanto (Score:5, Interesting)

    by genjix (959457) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @02:56PM (#34689646)

    This language took me just 2 weeks to learn. It is fully expressive and totally logical- in my eyes as a programmer & mathematician it is beautiful. You can express things not possible in English even.

    English speakers often forget there's this whole other world out there. Imagine how unproductive it is that many nations are all working in parallel.

    Any questions? Go to lernu.net forums or #esperanto on freenode.

    Esperanto is EXTREMELY easy to learn. Apart from not having any exceptions which hinder language learning, it uses a system of prefixes and suffixes. This way you can start with a very small vocabulary base and build words. Often I just invent new words on the fly to express a feeling or concept which might not have an English equivalent.

    After 2 weeks of obsessive dedicated study I could speak it. A few months of occasional chatting and I use it naturally without effort in an expressive way.

    Example:

        sana = health
        sanulo (san + ulo) = healthy person
        sanulejo (san + ul + ejo) = place for healthy people
        malsanulejo (mal + san + ul + ejo) = hospital (place for unhealthy people)

    The vision of Esperanto is commonly misconstrued as the whole world speaking one language. This is not the goal at all. Esperanto is an AUXILLARY language- a language in addition to your native language just for the purpose of inter- communication with other cultures.

    Esperanto is often labelled as 'artificial', but it is anything but. The language evolves according to usage by people. Only the core grammar/10 rules remain fixed.

    Science papers, nobel nominated works of poetry and other works have all tested and used extensively the language demonstrating that it works. A century of usage has molded it.

    If you believe in preserving local languages, then the obstacle is the difficulty in learning current (transient) international languages which are hard and discriminatory (Esperanto is neutral to all countries and belongs to nobody). Encouraging it's use would help promote local languages, instead of conglomerating together with huge behemoth steamroller languages.

    I encourage you to approach the topic with an open mind and do some research first. Most people just like to immediately react emotionally and label it with preconceptions. Yet it's the saddest thing we're in a language extinction epoch. Here's a tool that can help us.

    """Four primary schools in Britain, with some 230 pupils, are currently following a course in "propedeutic Esperanto"—that is, instruction in Esperanto to raise language awareness and accelerate subsequent learning of foreign languages—under the supervision of the University of Manchester.[34] Studies have been conducted in New Zealand,[35] United States,[36][37][38]Germany,[39] Italy[40] and Australia.[41] The results of these studies were favorable and demonstrated that studying Esperanto before another foreign language expedites the acquisition of the other, natural, language. This appears to be because learning subsequent foreign languages is easier than learning one's first, while the use of a grammatically simple and culturally flexible auxiliary language like Esperanto lessens the first-language learning hurdle. In one study,[42] a group of European secondary school students studied Esperanto for one year, then French for three years, and ended up with a significantly better command of French than a control group, who studied French for all four years. Similar results have been found for other combinations of native and second languages, as well as for arrangements in which the course of study was reduced to two years, of which six months is spent learning Esperanto."""

    Not only is Esperanto good for the 'humanrace', it's very beneficial and practical to a fully selfish person.

    By learning the language you help rewire your brain in such a way as to accelerate subsequent language learning. And it is faster to learn Esperanto followed by your choice language, than just dedicatedly learning your choice language. Fact.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      I prefer this language myself -

      https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Lojban [wikimedia.org]

      Greatly appeals to my nerdy side.

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        I prefer this language myself -

        Yes, that's useful - let's have a war over which constructed language to use for universal communication.

        I wonder if the same fate that is befalling Blu-Ray will happen here - the war between HD-DVD and BluRay took so long to sort out that downloads will wind up winning.

        So English will wind up winning in the end, I expect. Sadly.

        I think we should all learn a pidgin combination of English, Chinese and Russian, like Mannie speaks in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

        "What hoohoo, cob

    • Why I am I seeing in my mind the image of Arnold J. Rimmer (H)??? Is 2011 the year of the Esperanto desktop? Nope. I suspect Star Trek has it correct that the Earth will be speaking english in the future with various local languages preserved for cultural reasons.

      As for illogical language rules, they could easily be removed from the language such as saying "swim" "swimmed" "have swimmed" instead of the archaic swim, swam, swum. Just the same way Americans replaced "metre" and "civilised" with the more

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        (ducks British spitball)

        I don't see how British ducks throwing spitballs have anything to do with this conversation. Perhaps if you tried explaining this in Lojban?

      • Shouldn't it be spelt meedurr then to reflect how you actually say the word?

    • The story's about the possible rise of the Chinese language in a place currently dominated by English, so you suggest everybody learn Esperanto? You're like that guy who tells the PC or Mac guys to switch to Amiga... or worse, that guy that chimes in on an iOS thread and says 'Nokia N900!'

      Normally I wouldn't mind, but you've written a frickin novel, here.

    • I've always wondered about how language shapes thought. I've never learned another speaking language, but I do know that this concept is absolutely true in programming languages. Some programming languages allow you to express things far easier than others. Reading a few lines of code in one language can be equivalent to a page of code in another. Other times the amount of code is the similar, but the code in one language is far easier to understand.

      Yet, learning a programming language doesn't take much tim
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Rimmer you smeghead, stop lying. We all know you suck at esperanto.

    • by discord5 (798235)

      This language took me just 2 weeks to learn.

      2 weeks? What a sad and barren language that must be. Or were you referring to the basics?

      English speakers often forget there's this whole other world out there. Imagine how unproductive it is that many nations are all working in parallel.

      I live in a country with 3 national languages. We are trained in the usage of those 3 languages, although most people have trouble to master a single one. English is not one of them. The fourth language we pick up in middle school is English.

      So let's compare Esperanto with English for a country such as mine. English is on the television, radio, in local cinemas and thanks to the digital age on the Internet. Esperanto i

  • Uh... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Haedrian (1676506)

    ""In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English.

    Times change though, and the United States' military's gift to civilization"

    The WWW was not US's military gift to civilisation. The internet =/= WWW. The author appears to use them interchangeably..

    • ""In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English.

      Times change though, and the United States' military's gift to civilization"

      The WWW was not US's military gift to civilisation. The internet =/= WWW. The author appears to use them interchangeably..

      Yes, that's true. The internet >> WWW.

      And, on behalf of the US military, you're welcome.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Where does that leave the interweb? That's how I get on the blagosphere.
    • The internet was started in spite of the military, not because of it. The myth that the internet was the result of research initiated by request of the Pentagon is getting old. The military jumped in only after it was shown that computer networks were possible. Arpanet was the result of military funding, yes. But inter-connected data networks were the result of model train geeks at MIT [mit.edu]. Read Steven Levy's Hackers [amazon.com].
    • hell even the claims that the internet was the US's military gift to civilisation is a load of nationalistic tripe.

      Arpanet was not the first packet switching network, it was not the first internet because you need to have multiple networks connected before you have an internet and there were multiple networks in multiple countries being run as part of research funded my multiple governments which contributed to the early internet.

      Funding from the US government helped some of the early development of the net

  • Chinese may be the biggest language, but it doesn't span the world like English does. If you write in english almost everyone will understand you, regardless if they are in northern Canada or the southern tip of South America. In the brushlands of Africa or standing in frozen Siberia. In Europe or far-off India, Australia, or Japan. English is a near-universal tongue thanks to the spread by the British Empire and later cultural dominance of the US Free Market.

    In contrast chinese is pretty much confined

    • The internet does not recognize geographic borders. If China ends up having the most internet users and they remain part of the main internet (if they don't go and create internet 2) then we will need a new open standard to create webpages than can traverse different languages with ease. I certainly don't have the time to learn Chinese ;)
    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      Moreover, are we talking about the free Internet, or the part behind the Great Firewall?
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Chinese isn't that big in terms of numbers. English is the unofficially official language of the US as well as the language you have to use in India for government matters.

      Worse for Chinese, while the written language doesn't vary too much, the differences between the dialects make them essentially different languages when spoken. Some have 8 tones and others have 6 and it's not standardized even across China.
    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Chinese (pinyin) is easier to learn and understand than English. I'd be surprised if the next 20 years didn't see a move towards the international language being Chinese (pinyin). The only issue with it is that pinyin is ambiguous (homonyms are numerous) and that the language itself is simple enough to cause confusion. It's entirely free of conjugation, and the grammar is much more open.

      Of course, spoken language and hanzi are harder than English, but if people learn it for written communication only, p
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:03PM (#34689746) Homepage Journal

    English has become the language of global business. and by has become, I mean ever since the East India Trading Company came to power.

  • by adenied (120700) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:03PM (#34689748)

    I'm only fluent in English and can get by in Spanish. Both are relatively easy from a typing perspective. How fast can one type a similar paragraph in a language that uses the Latin alphabet vs. Chinese? It can't be too daunting giving the large amount of Chinese that's out there but if one was fluent in both and context didn't matter, would they tend towards Chinese or English based on speed alone?

    • I don't think the difference is as great as you'd think. Most Chinese typists I know use some sort of input means that allows them to type the pinyin (like typing English) and then select a character corresponding to the pinyin from a list (done with a number at the end, so the hand never leaves the keyboard). It's actually not too bad, especially for a seasoned typist who knows exactly what they are typing and what the list will turn out to be for the characters. In addition, every Chinese input software I

    • Copy --> Paste --> click Translate. That fast.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Except there's 3 variations of chinese that are 'modern' and are used in typing. Which means that unless you know the particular usage(and it varies by region), and can pick out the pictographs that are different. You might have a problem understanding simplified, std. chinese, std. hang, or japanese.

        Most translation software that's good does std. chinese, and simple. But can't tell the difference between either, or that you've just pasted in a sentence in japanese. At least korean is easy to figure out

  • by seebs (15766) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:04PM (#34689770) Homepage

    I can't find it off the top of my head, but I once read an article about a Chinese intellectual who argued that the ideographs would have to go for China to reach its full potential.

    There are oddities of an ideographic language which do pose some difficulties. Even a fluent full-time writer can encounter new words. In an alphabetic language, if you hear a word, you can guess at how it might be spelled to look it up. In a language like Chinese, you usually (but not always) can't guess how it's written well enough to look it up. Then, if you see it written, you may not have any guess as to how it's pronounced, leaving you with the possibility of encountering a word twice in one day without even a clue that they're the same word.

    That's a bit of a simplification, as in some cases you can make a pretty good educated guess as to the sound of a word, or look things up by pronunciation. Still, it's an issue, and it's not just an issue for people who learn Chinese as a second language.

    • Chinese people do have dictionaries, you know. Every (modern) Chinese dictionary I've ever seen have two sections - one keyed towards a Pinyin pronounciation (then arranged by accent, and finally arranged by something like the number of strokes in a character) or one keyed towards the written character itself (selecting the radical of a character and then arranged by stroke order of the word).

    • by BetterSense (1398915) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:45PM (#34690342)
      Except that Chinese can predict the spelling of new words somewhat. Probably at least as well as English speakers can predict the spelling of new English words.

      Very few topics are shielded in as much bullshit as the Chinese language, and the Japanese language, and that holds whether it's illiterate Westerners discussing it or native speakers. You should read the book The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. I also recommend Ideogram:Chinese Characters and the Myth of Disembodied Meaning for at least some amount of antidote to the bullshit storm.

      Chinese characters are not ideograms. The characters are not little pictures. They contain no special amount of semantic content compared to alphabetic word roots.
      Chinese is not monosyllabic. Each Chinese character is not a complete word.
      Chinese characters are not indispensible. Chinese does not have to be written with Chinese characters. Japanese not only doesn't have to be written with Chinese characters, it's hard to imagine a language for which Chinese characters would be more unsuited. Chinese characters are more suited to writing English than to writing Japanese.
      Chinese people don't have to 'sight read'. Chinese characters are not devoid of phonetic information. They contain 'sound' information the same as any other writing.
      Chinese characters do not facilitate some special level of intercommunication between the different languages that employ them, at least not to any extent further than the common use of the Latin alphabet conveys a special level of intercommunication between the western languages that employ it.

      Tons of people will argue with me on every one of these points but one thing IS beyond dispute, however. Chinese characters are just a bitch to store, encode, print, look up, characterize in a book index, search, or do basically anything else but paint pretty calligraphy on wood boards. Whatever impediment Chinese characters are to literacy, writing ability, and legibility, they are a billiontyfold worse of an impediment when it comes to computing.

      This is what prompted Unger to write his "5th generation fallacy: Or why Japan is betting its future on artificial intelligence". If you can remember way back to the '80s, there was this big wave of computer research about "5th generation computing" which was basically AI research. The Japanese saw what a bitch it was to shoehorn their abortion of a writing system into computing, and so they were grasping at straws and predicting that great advanced AI computers would come out that basically could operate on contemporary Japanese text. It never really amounted to anything, the only thing that happened was Moore's law, which allowed us to store entire multi-megabyte font sets and use 2-byte language encoding, and predictive input methods using regular old 104-key keyboards. In a way it's a shame that it happened, because it only enabled the Japanese to continue limping along with their teeth-gnashing archaic writing system rather than simply adopting one of the very efficient, superior, and easily computable 38-character phonemic syllabary scrips that EVERYONE JAPANESE PERSON ALREADY KNOWS ANYWAY.
      • by robbyjo (315601) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @04:32PM (#34690932) Homepage

        You seem to look at Chinese words from Japanese perspective. Correction:
        1. Chinese characters are logogram.
        2. Classical Chinese is mainly monosyllabic, while Modern Chinese is mainly disyllabic for disambiguation purposes. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion-Eating_Poet_in_the_Stone_Den [wikipedia.org]
        3. Chinese characters *are* indispensable. Pinyin or other romanization techniques (plus tones) simply cannot convey the same meaning as the original characters, though you can guess. Remember that Chinese language is tonal and tones for one character can change depending on the other word(s) it is paired with. Even with the tonality marks, there are still ambiguities remain in the romanized version of the words. The same problems occur in other "simplification" or "phonetic abugidas" (e.g., bopomofo). Tonality does not exist in Japanese. See the wiki URL above.
        4. Since Chinese characters are indispensable, you have to sight-read them. Yes, some phonetic clues do show up, but not always lead you to the right one. Also, there are false friends, alternative spelling (even worse in Japanese), and one dot or one slash difference may make dramatic differences in sound.

  • This is certain to be a winner, look how well the lnguage purity laws have worked out in France.

    This sort of thing is a sign of desperation, they see their culture being eroded by Western ideas and being a dictatorship use the one tool at thier disposal, tyranny and top down rules. Thomas Friedman is probably in a state of ectasy ut everyone else should either denouce them or just hope they someday collapse like the other communist hellholes are in the process of doing.

    China, and their pet Norks are about

    • This sort of thing is a sign of desperation, they see their culture being eroded by Western ideas and being a dictatorship use the one tool at thier disposal, tyranny and top down rules. Thomas Friedman is probably in a state of ectasy ut everyone else should either denouce them or just hope they someday collapse like the other communist hellholes are in the process of doing.

      Friedman's position might be more nuanced than you'd think. Despite his recent and somewhat bizarre love affair with Chinese autocracy, he's had a lot to say about globalization and the inability to resist it for years.

      To me, he's a guy I think is wrong as much as he's right, yet, always has something interesting to say. He makes you think even if often what you think is, "He's totally wrong about that."

  • I always thought the swearing and yelling in Chinese was a realistic outcome as the world becomes more meshed. It looks like it may come sooner than later.
  • Pretty soon the world will be just like Firefly!

    Mal: Petty?
    Inara: I didn't mean petty.
    Mal: What did you mean?
    Inara: Suo xie?
    Mal: That's Chinese for petty.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      It's not so long ago that everyone in the future was going to be speaking Japanese. We know how well that prediction turned out.

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        It's not so long ago that everyone in the future was going to be speaking Japanese. We know how well that prediction turned out.

        Which is proof enough that how easy a language is to write and speak has nothing to do with how well it will be adopted. I'm talking about using the Kana as far as the written part goes - no one in their right mind should be suggesting Kanji for anything other than putting cool-looking tattoos on foreigners who have no idea what it really says.

        Japanese has very few sounds (way fewe

  • China has one simple problem: It's significantly different from most other languages. It's related to Japanese, Korean and a few other east-asian languages, but it's extremely difficult to learn unless you speak one of those. English is an Indo-European language - it's related to everything from German and French to Arabic and Hindi. Thus, there's more people, by far, who can easily (for varying values of easy) learn English than there are who can easily learn Chinese. Thus, English is much better suited to
    • by infinite9 (319274)

      Thus, there's more people, by far, who can easily (for varying values of easy) learn English than there are who can easily learn Chinese.

      I once talked with a naitive chinese speaker about learning english vs learning chinese. The guy was very smart and had a good vocabulary in english, but he had real problems with his accent. He says that while learning to read and write chinese is a nightmare, actually speaking chinese is surprisingly easy for americans. He says the major cities are full of foreigners who can speak chinese, have great vocabularies, and nail the pronunciation, even with the crazy intonation. But they may not be able to

      • I am a native Chinese speaker who learned English (albeit at a fairly young age). I am now in my late 20s and I still have some problems with the grammar. I think the biggest problem that Chinese speakers have in English is with regards to past/present/future tenses and also for plurals. In Chinese, there's no such thing as tenses or plurals, so I always get confused with stuff like subject-verb agreement or sentences that use have/has.

      • by oodaloop (1229816)

        There's 600,000 to 1,000,000 million words depending on who you ask.

        Whom. Get it right.

    • by angus77 (1520151)

      It's related to Japanese, Korean and a few other east-asian languages...

      Japanese and Korean are not related to Chinese (they are drastically different from Chinese on pretty much every level you can think of!), although Japanese makes use of Chinese characters in its written language (albeit in a highly idiosyncratic way). North Korea has apparently done away with Chinese characters, and in South Korea their use is limited.

  • Language purity is a myth. What makes a language identifiable is its oddities and idiosyncracies. Language "mashups" tend to enrich all sides.

  • Chinese TYPED language to dominate the Internet.
  • I don't see a big change in the internet's language. Rather I see more translators available for each site, either manual or automated.

  • Few things could more hearten those who worry about the coming Chinese domination of the world than the news that they are taking their cue from the French obsession with the purity of their language (presumably Mandarin and not any of the others, I suspect.)
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @03:29PM (#34690112) Homepage Journal
    ... remembering how to write their own language [slashdot.org] thanks to auto-completing Latin-to-Chinese. The Chinese takeover of the Web may yet happen, but I wonder how long it will be before Chinese itself is overtaken by some Latin transliterations.
  • ...Latin ...Spanish ...French ...German ...Japanese ...Spanish ...Chinese

    Languages myths rise and fall. If your economic value is their, people will find a way to talk to you. If not, it won't.

    China has one thing going for it - numbers. That is the same, tired old argument made by my teachers to learn Spanish. Nope.

    Chinese is a beautiful, ancient, language that is totally unsuited for modern life. The second China created the print, the language should have been redone. Yes, they had a poor man's p

  • Sure, if you go by strict "what's your mother tongue" criterion, then mandarin might outweight english when simply summing up the internet penetration of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, NZ and a couple of smaller nations. But this leaves out India and pretty much most of Europe where you simply don't exist as a conversation partner without knowing english.

    Point in case, I'm a hungarian guy who leaves english comments/posts on slashdot, facebook, twitter, tumblr, stackoverflow and the list goes on. Chinese
  • You see, By speakers there's 330 million Spanish speakers and 330 million English speakers, there's also 240 Million Hindi/Urdu speakers. That's more then the 800 Million Mandarin speakers in itself, but that doesn't matter. Because if the Spanish want to talk to the Hindi/Urdu speakers, or the Chinese to the Spanish, they'll just use English. That is of course to the delight of everybody else who also speaks English (either natively, or as a second language, or because their countries official language is
  • Really, haven't we grown up past this sort of FUD article yet?

    The fact that 32% of the internet users are Chinese (and that segment is growing the fastest) doesn't ipso facto mean they're using Chinese on the internet.

    Why do editors even post this crap? I'd rather see Roland linking his blog every day again.

  • and apparently the author of the summary doesnt either.

    The people of China do not speak "Chinese." Depending on the region they speak either Cantonese or Mandarin in varied regional dialects. While they do not differ all that much, they are still unintelligible when compared to each other in spoken form. Apart from being spoken differently, they are written differently aswell

    Standard written Chinese is Mandarin, and spoken word for word as Cantonese it sounds unnatural because its expressions are ungrammati

  • Too bad slashdot doesn't allow Chinese characters.

  • by vampire_baozi (1270720) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @04:06PM (#34690612)

    It is highly unlikely Chinese will displace English as a lingua franca, in the near future. There will be more Chinese pages or more Chinese internet users, perhaps, but that will not make the dominant language of the "internet" Chinese. For the rest of the world, English will remain the dominant language. Chinese users wanting to speak to most non-Chinese will need to resort to English or another third language.

    As for "preserving the purity" of the language, that's just bullshit. TV shows and such are subtitled in Chinese for two very simple reasons: first, many Chinese
      don't speak Mandarin Chinese, the official language! Most Chinese dialects are mutually unintelligible. Only the written language is common to the whole of China, and allows communication between users/people who don't speak the same (oral) language.

    Second, it also promotes integration into mainstream society by ethnic minorities. Some call it cultural genocide, but in America we (the American government) promote ESL and only offer most classes in English, just as Germany promotes German language education. Hardly preserving the purity of the language; it is more directed and cultivating a sense of national character, by everyone having a common language, and also making sure everyone can understand what's being said. Dialects (and people who can't understand English) are far too common not to demand translations and subtitles.

    So what is the author saying? Inferring that whichever language group has the most users, dominates the internet? I'm sorry, but Chinese users aren't anywhere near a 50% majority, much less any sort of "overwhelming" majority. English has a huge number of users; many of the users who speak Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, and even Chinese are also part of the English hegemony. And the participation of these groups in the English internet is what makes it dominant, not its number of users.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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