1337 $p33|< in china

TMD,7456,偶恨不得一脚TST? 1337 $p33|< the language of 12 year old script kiddies the world over has made it to the attention of the BBC Chinese news service, where it’s popularity on QQ and mobile phones has spawned a language as fresh as any street slang. ESWN has translated it with notes.


[Literal transalation]

Never thought image’s best friend would lie to image. TMD. 7456. I wish I could TST with one kick.

[Meaning-based translation] I never thought that my best friend would lie to me. Fuck his mother! I am so angry I could die. I wish I could kill him with one kick.

[key substitutions] TMD as the acronym for 他妈的 (fuck his mother!); 7456 as the homonym for 气死我了 (I am so angry I could die); TST as the acronym for 踢死他 (kick him to death).


According to the vice-chairman of the Chinese Linguistic Research Society, there are positive aspects of Internet language: terseness, livelieness and precision. Using 酷 (cruel) to stand for ‘cool’, to use 美眉 (or MM) to refer to ‘girls’ and to use 恐龙(dinosaur) and 青蛙 (frog) to express disgust is consistent with aesthetic customs. The emergence of QQ language reflects the progress of the times. But it was also pointed out that while jargon can circulate within a limited circle, it is not always appropriate to popularize it. Certain QQ language terms violate the principles of the language and should not be tolerated even under a tolerant approach. For example, using 太平公主 (‘princess of peace’ literally, although 太平 can be decomposed into 太 (very) and 平 (flat)) to denote a flat-chested girl is an insult.

Chinese as it is spoke

Following hard on the heels of French banning ‘le weekend’ and Quebec’s plans for air-traffic controllers to speak the international language of love, Chiense linguists are attempting to encase the language in concrete, ‘safeguarding of the healthy development of the language of the motherland’. Having banned all things ‘queer’ (read foreign or even worse, from Hong Kong) on CCTV, the next target of deviation is ‘OK’, and other useful foreign words.

At a seminar bringing together experts and media workers this week, it was acknowledged that China’s opening up and the consequent increase in interaction with the outside world, together with the popularity of the Internet, have led to this new trend.

The experts agreed that it has become a social issue that is detrimental to the healthy development of the national language, even causing ambiguity in the spoken language.

They divided the use of foreign terms into three categories:

Individual foreign words such as ‘Internet’ and ‘show’;

Abbreviations such as ‘WTO’; and

Combination of Chinese characters and foreign letters. For example, using B together with the Chinese character chao to mean ultrasound.

Social linguistics expert Li Bin told The Straits Times that experts were more worried about the first two categories and less about the third, where words were mostly sinicised.

Chinese language experts, he said, were not against the use of foreign words or abbreviations where it was necessary and appropriate, but were against overuse.

‘Why use a foreign word when there is a Chinese word for it? For example, there is a Chinese term for the abbreviation CEO, which is not understood by the common people,’ he

Which is why the word CEO is used, as well as DVD and K-OK or K-TV, and even email. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say ‘电子邮件’, but saying ‘e-mail’ everyone understands. I think there is less chance of Chinese becoming Disneyfied than there is of it wiping out Cantonese and other dialects on the mainland. In fact along with English, French, and Indonesian it’s one of the few languages of thousands that will be left in another hundred years.

Taiwan imposes left-to-right order on writing

Taiwan’s parliament has passed a new law ruling that all text in official documents must be written from left to right, like western languages, but leaving arts and literature exempt from the requirement.

Spokesman for the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, Tsai Ting-kui said today

The change to standardised writing also means that bureaucrats will also abandon the top-to-bottom style and go horizontal, he said.

The old method “looks very confusing especially when texts contain numbers and English,” Mr Tsai said.

Taiwan first considered switching writing styles early last year, to cope with increased computer use and to fit in with international standards.

“The change would help expedite the process of e-government while international exchanges are on the rise,” Mr Tsai said.

Critics accuse the government of making a decision that will further dilute Taiwanese culture, as well as standardize media and newspapers. It’s an admittedly somewhat strange decision when Arabic and Hebrew is still written right-to-left, and contemporary computers have no problem with fast-changing between languages.