Nouveaux riches and pollutants in new Chinese dictionary

August 28, 2014 8:18 am


Chinese men using brushes to write on the floor/AFP
Chinese men using brushes to write on the floor/AFP
BEIJING, Aug 28 – A new Chinese dictionary backed by the national language regulator offers a glimpse into the social and environmental concerns of the citizenry, adding nearly 100 phrases to the lexicon, a report said Thursday.

The additions to the third edition of the Standard Dictionary of Modern Chinese “underscore characteristics of the time”, publishing house Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press said in a statement.

They include a new definition of “tuhao”, a combination of “earth” or “uncouth” and “powerful” that used to refer to rich but despotic landlords in the countryside.

The word has now been adopted by web users for newly rich people who are “lacking in education or correct values”, the statement said.

China has enjoyed a decades-long economic boom, but at the same time inequality has widened, and a small elite have become extremely wealthy.

The dictionary was compiled in the 1990s and first published in 2004 “to implement the national standard for Chinese language and characters and to guide teachers and students”, the state-run China Daily said Thursday.

It is backed by the National Language Committee, the language regulator under the education ministry.

Other new entries include “particulate”, fine particles that make up much of the country’s widespread air pollution — a focus of public discontent in recent years, and “wealth management”, popular financial products that offer higher interest rates than bank deposits.

“Online shopping” was defined in terms of every step of the activity, from “looking up product information” to “submitting an order”, different payment methods and “delivery by courier”.


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