China and Taiwan to Publish ‘First Joint Dictionary’

A new project, the Great Chinese Dictionary, is underway to ease cross-Straits linguistic confusion. BBC News reports on this dictionary, and the linguistic drift that has developed between mainland and Taiwanese Chinese:

There are also variations in tones. And each side uses different characters to translate new scientific, medical and English terms, as well as names of important foreign places and people.

Such differences can sometimes cause confusion even at a high level.

On a groundbreaking visit to China in 2005, Taiwan’s current ruling party Kuomintang’s then-chairman Lien Chan used the phrase “yuan jing”, meaning a positive goal for the future, to express his hopes for good bilateral ties.

Chinese journalists had no idea what he meant because they had never heard of the phrase.


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