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Scholars cry foul over inclusion of 'NBA' in dictionary

By Luo Wangshu (China Daily)

09:10, August 30, 2012

A group of 120 scholars have signed a letter of complaint over the inclusion of English words in a newly revised Chinese dictionary.

The scholars, including linguists and senior reporters, said the inclusion of words such as the basketball league "NBA" and "PM2.5", a measure of air pollution, violated regulations covering the Chinese language, including the Law on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language.

The 239 English words take up 15 pages in the latest Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, known as the authoritative Chinese-language dictionary.

Yu Dianli, general manager of The Commercial Press, publisher of the dictionary, said English words had already become part of daily language.

"A dictionary serves language use," he said.

"It also shows that the Chinese language is tolerant and willing to absorb and borrow words from other cultures," Yu said, adding that different languages will inevitably borrow from each other as languages develop and people mingle.

But Fu Zhenguo, one of the initiators of the letter and a senior reporter and editor at People's Daily, said during an online public chat on Wednesday that Chinese is increasingly absorbing English words and he is worried about it.

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