Back in 2008 I took a close look at U.S. post-secondary enrollments in foreign languages and the position of Mandarin. I’ve recently been examining the latest figures (for which there is still a lag of a couple years).
I’ve included data for all available years, other than 1969 and a couple years in the early 1970s because the numbers were calculated differently then.
These represent the total enrollments for courses labeled “Mandarin” or some form of “Chinese” (including “classical” but excluding modern languages such as Cantonese, Taiwanese, etc.). Failure to add the sometimes separately categorized “Mandarin” to the figures for “Chinese” would produce the wrong results.
As can be seen in the graph below, over the most recent period (2009–2013) growth in enrollments in Mandarin in U.S. universities basically came to a halt, increasing just 0.6 percent. I do not expect a return to the dramatic increases common before 2009.
Click to enlarge.
Here’s another in my series of photos of English with Chinese character(istic)s, that is Chinese characters being used to write English (sort of). I want to stress that these aren’t loan words, just an approximate phonetic rendering of the English.
Today’s entry — which was taken a few weeks ago in Xinzhu (usually spelled “Hsinchu”), Taiwan — is Mi2ke4 Xia4 (lit. “lost guest summer”).
Here’s a public-domain script font: Promocyja.
Last week I put online China’s official rules for Hanyu Pinyin, the 2012 revision (GB/T 16159-2012). I’ve now made a traditional-Chinese-character version of those rules for Pinyin.
Eventually I’ll also issue versions in Pinyin and English.
(Note: The image above is of course Photoshopped. I altered the cover of the PRC standard simply to provide an illustration in traditional Chinese characters for this post.)
I tend to think of Hanzi being used to write English words as “Singlish,” after John DeFrancis’s classic spoof, “The Singlish Affair,” which is the opening chapter of his essential book The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. But these days the word is mainly used for Singaporean English. So now I usually go with something like “English with Chinese character(istic)s.”
For a few earlier examples, see the my photos of the dog and the butterfly businesses.
Today’s example is “Crunchy,” written as ke3 lang3 qi2 (can bright strange). Kelangqi, however, isn’t how to say “crunchy” in Mandarin (cui4 de is); it’s just an attempt to render the English word using Chinese characters, probably in an attempt to look different and cool.
Crunchy, which is now out of business, was just a block away from the Dog (dou4 ge2) store, which is still around.
I’ve just added to Pinyin.info the tenth and final issue (December 1989) of the seminal journal Xin Tang. I strongly encourage everyone to take a look at it and some of the other issues. Copies of this journal are extremely rare; but their importance is such that I’ll be putting all of them online here over the years.
Xin Tang 10
Although I’m giving the table of contents in English, the articles themselves are in Mandarin and written in Pinyin.
- FEATURE ARTICLES
- ZHOU YOUGUANG: The Next Step of Language Modernization
- CHEN ENQUAN: Experiments Should Be Carried Out on the Phoneticization of Chinese Characters
- LI YUAN: Romanized Chinese Must Be Finalized
- LI PING: To Be a Promoter of Script Reform
- ZHENG LINXI: Wu Yuzhang and Chinese Phonetic Spelling
- ZHANG LIQING: How Should the Tones of Chinese Spelling Be Indicated?
- LIQING: Elephants
- CHEN XUANYOU (Tang Period): The Wandering Soul
- WU JINGZI (Qing Period): Third Daughter Wang
- LU XUN: On the Collapse of Thunder Peak Pagoda
- RUI LUOBIN: The Adventures of Chunmei and Mimi
- COMIC DIALOGUES: Toad Drums
- WEI YIJIN: Dreams at Twenty
- DIAO KE: In Praise o f the Spirit of Bees
- GE XIAOLING: A Song to the Disabled Children
- YBY: The Story of the Magic Square
- SHORT SKETCHES
- DIAN EWEN: Interesting Tidbits about Script Reform Abroad
- LI YUAN: A Few Statistics on Tones Notations in Romanized Chinese
- LEARNING MANDARIN
- FROM THE EDITORS
Essays 1743 is a public-domain font family that has all of the vowel/diacritic combinations needed for Hanyu Pinyin, though the third-tone marks tend to look a bit stiff relative to everything else. Regardless, I’m a sucker for old-style figures (e.g., examples B and D).
In 2012 China revised its official guidelines for writing Pinyin.
These are the Hanyu Pinyin Zhengcifa Jiben Guize (official translation: “Basic Rules of the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet Orthography”), promulgated as GB/T 16159-2012.
Among the changes are that some alternate forms are now allowed, for example “wo de” (my) may also be written as “wode”. I’m not thrilled about that; but I know some people will welcome this.
I’ve added a few notes, such as for errors in the original document.
So far I have made only a version in so-called simplified Chinese characters. But eventually I’ll add one in traditional Chinese characters and an English translation.