Declining standards of Chinese language use

Updated: 2012-01-10 22:08


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BEIJING - More than 80 percent of the people quizzed in a new survey said they saw a decline in Chinese people's use of the Chinese language, according to results released on Tuesday.

In the survey, conducted by the China Youth Daily Social Investigation Center through websites and, 45 percent of 1,770 participants replied there had been a "huge decline" in people's use of Chinese.

Nearly 73 percent thought that frequent use of computers had resulted in declining standards of Chinese writing and 67 percent thought the diversified language often used online had led to irregular use of Chinese, the survey showed.

Yang Guohua, a lecturer at Guangzhou Modern Information Engineering Vocational and Technical College, said many students have problems in writing Chinese papers and even note-taking, troubled by wrongly written characters and unidiomatic sentences.

"I once taught calligraphy in class but quite a lot of my students failed to handle the writing brush not to mention appreciating different styles of calligraphy," Yang said.

Sun Shan, a student at Changzhou University School of Foreign Language Studies, said that people's vocabularies are decreasing in size.

Eighty two percent of the survey participants thought someone with good Chinese language skills would be able to better appreciate fine culture.

However, Wan Jianzhong, professor at Beijing Normal University, denied the decline of mandarin use, arguing that the only areas of language suffering are dialects and old Chinese.

"Computer use and cyber-language have enriched Chinese language. Language diversity leads to culture diversity," Wan added.

Yang suggested that a good education should combine professional courses with language teaching, and that employers should attach importance to Chinese as well as English when recruiting.