A Chinese couple tried to name their baby “@,” claiming the character used in e-mail addresses echoed their love for the child, an official trying to whip the national language into line said Thursday.
The unusual name stands out especially in Chinese, which has no alphabet and instead uses tens of thousands of multi-stroke characters to represent words. “The whole world uses it to write e-mail, and translated into Chinese it means ‘love him’,” the father explained, according to the deputy chief of the State Language Commission Li Yuming. [Full Text]
Also on the subject of Internet lingo, China in Transition blog reports that a list of supposed “new vocabulary” originating from the Internet is actually incomprehensible to most Chinese netizens:
Many Chinese web users found themselves nearly illiterate in front of a list of new vocabulary said to be mostly originated from the Web, which was released on Thursday by China’s Ministry of Education.
The list, containing over 170 new Chinese words, is compiled by language experts at the ministry, as part of its report on the use of Chinese language in 2006.
…But a majority of the over 1000 netizens commenting on the new release, including some heavy web users, said they did not recognize most of these new words. Indeed, except for only a few terms, such as blog article, grassroots netizen, second-generation one-child family, and Gu Ge, the Chinese version for Google, the list is full of words that do not make much sense to even native Chinese speakers. [Full text]
[Image: ‘@’ from Reuters.]