As the use of English as language of global communication is on the rise, an increasing number of conversations in English happen between non-native speakers.
English is the second most spoken language in the world, and it is estimated that by 2020 native speakers will make up only 15% of those using or learning the language.
Photo: The Chinglish Files by olr
According to Wired magazine the massive numbers of Chinese speakers using English in daily life is leading to an English of the future which will take on more and more aspects of Chinese translation quirks. Others believe that Chinglish’s days are numbered.
With increasing use of English as lingua franca between different nationalities (as opposed to conversations with at least one native speaker), it was inevitable that the ‘international English’ used would evolve into a pared down, simplified version of the language. And a native speaker in a room of non-native speakers has to adapt or risk not being understood by the rest of the group.
It remains to be seen whether Chinglish will grow in strength or blend into other versions of ‘international English’ as China-based English speakers come into contact more and more with the outside world.
Next week we will be posting an interview with Oliver Lutz Radtke, author of the book Chinglish: Found in Translation. (Read the interview here)
About the authorLucy