Opinion / From the Press

Word quiz nothing but a temporary fad

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-31 08:14

A word quiz show has sparked an online guessing game on the pronunciation and meaning of rarely used words - one word per week. The program has made some archaic popular, and the director of the show says the game will contribute to the preservation of the Chinese language and culture. But this sudden popularity of outdated words based on people's curiosity is nothing but a flash in the pan as far as preservation of language is concerned, says a commentary in Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts:

Millions of people have signed up to "play" the weekly word game, which has made words found only in ancient Chinese literary works popular overnight. The initiator of the game says the interactions with netizens will help raise people's awareness of traditional Chinese culture.

The truth is that, the word game is no different from other online games that come and go quickly. Words drop out of everyday use - and even from literary texts - as a society evolves. So, obsolete words don't necessarily represent the sophisticated side of Chinese culture, and their sudden popularity won't breathe life into them.

Internet users are a highly curious lot, but their attention span is short. They become interested in something new as easily as they abandon it. People have signed up to take part in the word game because they are curious to know what the uncommon words mean, not because they have suddenly become desperate to deepen their knowledge about ancient Chinese words. It's highly likely that the game will soon meet the fate of the archaic words that it is trying to popularize.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Most Viewed Today's Top News