The most successful band in Pingyi County is headed by 29-year-old Liu Ji. In jeans and a tight white T-shirt, with a gleaming stud in his ear, Liu looks the perfect antithesis of Wang, the traditionalist in gray trousers and a loose white shirt. Yet Liu, too, learned to play the suona with a reed and a water basin, he says, practicing through hot summer days until the sweat from his feet soaked prints into the ground. He, too, inherited his band from his family, but he added young acrobats, dancers, singers, and Western instruments.
^ Nicholas D. Kristof (January 5, 2013). "Looking for a Jump-Start in China" (opinion). The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2013. Ling feared a scandal and reportedly began a cover-up. He went to the morgue, according to the account I got from one Chinese official, and looked at the body — and then coldly denied that it was his son. He continued to work in the following weeks as if nothing had happened.
Despite media censorship regarding the event, news of the crash was widely circulated in China. The incident was also later reported on major international media, including the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Online Chinese-language communities also questioned how Ling Gu could afford a car worth some $500,000 when his parents had government jobs. The crash and subsequent suppression was said to have led to Ling Jihua's demotion in August 2012, and his wife Gu Liping's removal from her job in January 2013.
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.
When England became an empire, English began borrowing less and became the prolific word lender it is today, Haspelmath told me. If we start borrowing again—the way Arabic stopped exporting words to the rest of the world once its empire crumbled and started borrowing more from French and English—we’ll know we’ve seen the apex of our cultural influence. Until then, at least we’ll be able to find a hot yoga class just about anywhere in the world.
Linguistic loans can appear in a number of forms: Some float on the surface of a language, while others are more integrated. Because English and Japanese have very different sound systems, for instance, Japan often adapts words in ways that make them nearly unrecognizable to English-speakers. Über-Japanese media franchise Pokémon actually takes its name from English (“pocket monster”). Japan’s “puroresu” is another abbreviated compound, from “professional wrestling”; similarly, the extra syllables required to pronounce English consonants have given rise to “purasuchikku” (“plastic”) and “furai” (“fry”). Then there are loans where a word stays intact but the meaning shifts. A “smoking” is French for a tuxedo, and a “dressman” is a German male model. Chinese people say they want to “high” when they want to have a (non-drug-related) good time.
EUdict (European dictionary) is a collection of online dictionaries for the languages spoken mostly in Europe. These dictionaries are the result of the work of many authors who worked very hard and finally offered their product free of charge on the internet thus making it easier to all of us to communicate with each other. Some of the dictionaries have only a few thousand words, others have more than 320,000. Some of the words may be incorrectly translated or mistyped.