Internet buzzword proliferation sparks public discussion in China

Xinhua
A recent survey showed that nine out of 10 respondents use Internet catchphrases in their daily life.
Xinhua

A recent survey showed that nine out of 10 respondents use Internet catchphrases in their daily life, sparking heated discussion on whether buzzwords are an effective means of communication or a threat to the Chinese language.

Among the 2,002 people polled, 93.4 percent said they use Internet buzzwords, whereas 67.4 percent expressed concern over threats of the overused new vocabulary to intergenerational conversation, the China Youth Daily reported Thursday.

Both a linguistic and social phenomenon, the use of informal, concise and catchy Internet buzzwords injects new vitality to modern Chinese language, and offers speakers more choices in daily communication, said Shen Xiaolong, a professor with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at the Shanghai-based Fudan University.

However, 66.5 percent of the respondents said the overuse could cause people to forget standard ways of expression and the cultural meanings of the Chinese language, and 76.5 percent had already felt they met difficulty in searching for the appropriate words and phrases to fully express themselves.

Shen did not think this was a problem: "The natural evolution of a language is healthy as the fittest and quintessence will always survive."

To enrich vocabulary and expression, 75.2 percent of people polled suggested that young people develop abilities of independent thinking and reasoning.

Of the respondents, 24.1 percent are born in the 1990s, and 54.8 percent in the 1980s.

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