UNIT OPENER: Film clip - What does Chinglish tell us about China?

One of the first things foreign tourists are likely to notice on visiting China are the many signs translated into English, into very bad, often highly amusing English. We're use this phenomenon to explore some issues of language difference and translation.

First, watch the video (about 1:30 minutes long) below:

=> YouTube version

After watching the video, think about the following:

  1. What do the signs indicate about differences between English and Chinese?

  2. Many Chinglish signs are professionally printed or type-set - how could such flagrant language mistakes escape proof-reading or even spell-checking?

  3. Do the Chinglish signs reveal anything culturally about China?

  4. What is likely to be the reaction of young Chinese who have learned English when they see Chinglish?

  5. Are there any counterparts in American culture to the Chinglish phenomenon?


Now, turn to the next page for comments.