TV programs reviving love of Chinese language

By Zhao Xinying ( ) Updated: 2014-07-11 21:46:58

The popularity of TV programs related to Chinese characters will re-ignite people's love of traditional Chinese culture, scholars and media experts believe.

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"Traditional Chinese culture and Chinese values are gaining their second life because of such programs," said Li Bo, a professor who teaches Chinese literature at Nanjing Formal University.

Li's remarks were made at a seminar in Beijing on Thursday to share the successes of Chinese Idiom Congress, a weekly TV quiz program broadcast on China Central Television.

The congress was jointly organized by CCTV and the State Language Commission to test people's proficiency in Chinese idioms — four-character phrases that express sophisticated ideas.

Three congresses about Chinese characters and culture were broadcast on CCTV, running each week from April 18 to July 6, and watched by 348 million people across China.

Along with the Idiom Congress, the other two were the Dictation Assembly of Chinese Characters and the Chinese Riddle Congress.

With 90 percent of the participants being young people aged 20 to 30 years old, the program attracted large numbers of young viewers.

It also was favored by those with more education, statistics showed.

Guan Zhengwen, director of the program, said the program has made Chinese idioms a phenomenon in the country, with an increasing number of people showing interest in learning about it.

"More and more people are becoming Chinese idiom hobbyists after watching the program, as we can see by an increasing number of publications on Chinese idioms, and the fact that schools, organizations and institutes are holding their own Chinese Idiom Congress," Guan said.

Li echoed Guan by saying "there were no more than 50 academic papers on Chinese idioms before the program, but now the number is growing quickly".

Zhang Tengyue, anchorman for the program, said it was a good chance for him to review the idioms.

"Like many in our audiences, I learned these Chinese idioms when I was a student in school but have forgotten how to use them now. The program gave me an opportunity to get familiar with the idioms again," he said.

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