SHANDONG, East China — The unmistakable wail of the suona pierces the dusk in the village as Wang Ruiyong plays a traditional tune on the double-reed instrument. The elderly funeral attendees approve, recognizing the melody. Yet for nearly five years now, Wang and other suona masters have been recording their repertoire in the fear that the songs could soon be forgotten as their tradition increasingly comes under threat.
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Henan Polytechnic University (HPU), with a history of nearly 100 years, is the first mining university in Chinese history. Its former is Jiaozuo Coal Mining School which was established by the British Syndicate Co. Ltd., in 1909. It has changed its names several times in the course of development, namely, FuZhong Coal Mining University, Jiaozuo Private Institute of Technology, North-west Institute of Technology, Jiaozuo National Institute of Technology, Jiaozuo Mining Institute and Jiaozuo Institute of Technology. The University resumed its name of Henan Polytechnic University in 2004.
But that imbalance can build resentment. In France, the secretary of the Academie Française called last December for a “reconquest of the French language” from loanwords; in China, government-friendly papers printed screeds this spring against “Wi-Fi,” “VIP,” and “e-mail.” Even as many governments work to protect languages from the spread of English, however, speakers in those countries go blithely off to “hot jooga,” meaning that official policy and the daily reality of English may be very different things.