A Study into the Alphabet Words in Chinese
The mixed using of Chinese and alphabet words formed by English letters is becoming more and more popular in China. In most situations, the assistant of alphabet words is necessary to make the conversation go smoothly. This language phenomenon is drawing increasing attention of the Chinese language speakers.
The alphabet word in Chinese is a special kind of loanwords which kept the original form in donor language, but it already becomes a part of Chinese vocabulary and the fifth edition of Modern Chinese Dictionary published in August 2005, has included 182 words which “begin with western letters” in total.
As the further operating of the revolutions and opening-up and the caring of the foreign language education, Chinese people are getting more and more chance to get access to English. People who have received education generally have some knowledge of English or the Chinese pinyin. The form of alphabet words is not completely strange for them. The direct use of the foreign new words which represent the new things and new concepts, will save the trouble caused by inaccurate or not timely translation. On the other hand, people always sought for something new or different in the use of language. Alphabet words just match this thought. These all provide a very good background for the birth of the alphabet words.
The standard definition of the alphabet words has not yet been given out. After Liu YongQuan first named such words as “lettered-words”, and defined as “the words formed by foreign letters”, there were more than ten different definitions of the alphabet word which were given by different scholars. In this thesis the alphabet words will be defined as the word in Chinese language which are “fully or partly written by letters ”(Jia Baoshu, 2000)（在摘要中不引用，不出现作者名字等。只间接转述）. And the “letters” in the definition includes numbers or the characters from other languages such as Japanese or Korean.
The main data of the alphabet words in this thesis comes from the “vocabulary of the words beginning with Latin letters” in Modern Chinese Dictionary. Based on this data, an analysis of the characteristic and classification of these words was made. Both quantitative analysis and qualitative have been adopted in this research. Concrete statistics will be used as support when a point is given out in the thesis.
Since the appearance of the first alphabet word, a lot of changes have been experienced by this kind of word. In this thesis a comparison of the old and new data has been used to show these changes of the alphabet words through time. At last the author gives out the possible reasons for the appearance of the alphabet words.
The English letters composing Chinese word is also a very interesting phenomenon. It is hoped that through this thesis people’s interest will be aroused to study this emerging category of Chinese vocabulary，and thus help to regulate the using of alphabet words.
Key Words: Alphabet words Chinese language features
1. Introduction 1
2. Literature Review 2
2.1 Definition of Alphabet Words 2
2.2 Previous Researches of Alphabet Words 2
3. Methodology 3
3.1 Research Questions 3
3.2 Data Collection 3
3.3 Data Analysis 4
4 Results and Discussion 6
4.1 Features of Alphabet Words 6
4.2 The Reasons for the Appearance of Alphabet Words 8
6. Conclusion 10
7. Bibliography 12
A loanword is the word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation(出处？？). As Sapir argued, "The simplest kind of influence that one language may exert on another is the borrowing of words. When there is cultural borrowing there is always the likelihood that the associated words may be borrowed too" (1921, 206). As the communication of culture between China and the other countries is becoming more and more commonplace, without doubt, a large number of loanwords have been imported to Chinese language. And in recent years, the words like DVD, MTV, MP3 which we directly use its foreign form instead of giving them a translation in Chinese, have emerged as a new type of loanwords. We call these words the “alphabet words”（是否有人曾经这样叫过，如果是借用的就必须标明出处）.
A alphabet words, in this thesis, is the word in Chinese language which are “fully or partly written by letters ”(Jia Baoshu, 2000). And the “letters” in the definition includes numbers or the characters from other languages such as Japanese or Korean.
Many people have noticed this language phenomenon, then begin to think about the influence of the alphabet words. Even the Chinese government has began to pay attention on the influence will be caused by these special words.
The fifth edition of Modern Chinese Dictionary published in August 2005, has included in total 182 words which “begin with western letter”.
These words are the alphabet words which were formally introduced into Chinese vocabulary. In daily life there are still a lot other alphabet words being widely used. Some well-known companies’ names such as IBM, LG because of the restrictions of dictionary were not included; and the words beginning with numbers like 3D and 3G were not counted, either, let alone the newly emerged names of items and so on. The real number of the alphabet words being used every day is much greater than just 182.
It is not difficult to find out that such terms have become part of Chinese vocabulary which can not to be ignored. Counting the Wuhan Evening Paper from March 1st to April 1st 2008, there were averagely 1.19 alphabet words appearing on each page. We can say that in China reading will be difficult if one does not recognize the English alphabets.
Based on the examples being chosen from the vocabulary of the “words begining with western letters” on the 5th edition of the Chinese Modern Dictionary, this thesis will discuss the features and the regulations of the alphabets words.
2. Literature Review
2.1 Definition of Alphabet Words
In as early as 1994, Liu YongQuan named such words as “lettered-words”, and defined as “the words formed by foreign letters ”. In the same year, he published a dictionary named “Lettered-words Dictionary ” which included about 2000 lettered words or alphabet words in this thesis?????.
However the standard definition of the alphabet words has not yet been given out. Similar as Liu YongQuan’s version, Zhang Hui(2001) and Yang JinJu(2002) defined alphabet words as “the words composed by letters”. However, these two definitions do not include the words formed by both letters and Chinese characters, such as BP-机, IC卡, or by letters and numbers, such as 3G and 3C.
Based on that a more acceptable definition which was given by Wu Baoan(2002) and Guo Xi(2005), which stated that the alphabet words can be defined as “the words fully or partly composed by letters in Chinese language.” This definition deals not how many letters one word owns or where the letters existed in the word. The word form could be very free under this definition. When new kind of alphabet words were invented, this definition will also work as well.
Feng Zhiwei(1998), Chen Zhengyu(1999), Li Xiaohua(2002), and Zhou Yukun(2002) stated that alphabet words are the words composed by letters in “Chinese writing system ”. Because the pronunciation of alphabet words would also be “Chineselized”(which will be discussed in later part), it is difficult to judge whether a word belongs to the alphabet words just by hearing. To the opposite, an alphabet word can hardly find a corresponding Chinese character in writing, so it is very obvious when reading. Thus defining the alphabet words from writing seems a better option.
In this thesis the alphabet words will be defined as the words in Chinese language which are “fully or partly written by letters ”(Jia Baoshu, 2000). And the “let