level 2
In the last week, the Chinese and foreign media published the idea of Miyun county in the Beijing area, establishing a touristic town of European-English architecture style, where tourists shall only speak English. It is not clear whether this idea will come through, but some journalists have already analyzed this agenda. This article, originally published by Hunan Hongwang (rednet.com.cn), introduces the story and expresses sarcasm, and perhaps nationalist criticism.        

今后5年,密云(Miyun)将建设"绿色国际[1]休闲之都",主要在某个镇建一座欧洲(European)建筑风格[2]的"英语城[3]"。这个"英语城"的独特之处[4]在于,进入英语城就像出国一样,弄一个‘护照'然后盖章[5],进城之后不允许说汉语,说汉语会扣分[6]。这将成为今后北京最大的欧洲风情小镇。

但县长没有告诉我们这座欧洲风情的小城里面,要如何监察[7]游客[8]究竟在说什么话。"英语城"准备接待什么样的客人呢?如果是外宾[9]的话,说德语(German)法语(French)意大利语(Italian)之类的外宾会不会抗议[10]呢?如果是国内游客的话,从哪里来这么多会流利英语的游客呢?其实,"只限英语"不过是一个噱头[11],挣钱才是目的。  
  
以外语作为卖点[12]让我们看到汉语的危险。日前,教育部(Ministry of Education)苦心经营[13]的"汉语四六级考试[14]"在六个省区试考,据说这是为了维护汉语的纯正[15]。看着密云县以蔑视[16]母语为卖点的官方[17]行为,汉语确实有危机。

In the next five years, Miyun county shall construct a 'green international leisure town', mainly establishing an 'English language town' of European architecture style. This 'English language town' is unique, because entering it feels like going abroad, handling a passport and having it stamped. After entering the town, one cannot speak Chinese, as speaking Chinese results in 'points deduction'. This will become the biggest European style town in the Beijing area.

However, the county's magistrate hasn't told us how will this European-style town supervise the language spoken by tourists. 'English language town' is preparing to host which kind of visitors? If it is foreigners, then will there be objection that visitors speak German, French or Italian? If we are talking about mainland Chinese visitors, then where could we find so many visitors who speak fluent English? Actually, the 'English limitation' is no more than a gimmick; the real objective is making money.

Making foreign language the focal point allows us to see the danger for Chinese language. At present, the Ministry of Education puts great efforts in the '4-6 level Chinese exam', tested in six provinces, aiming to protect the purity of Chinese. Seeing the act of the Miyun county government, setting the idea of 'ignoring the mother tongue' as the focal point, the Chinese language seems to be indeed in danger.

[1] 国际 guójì - International

[2] 风格 fēnggé - Style

[3]英语城 yīngyǔ chéng - 'English language city'; here referring to the idea of a town where only English is spoken

[4] 独特之处 dútè zhī chù - Uniqueness, the unique aspect

[5] 盖章 gàizhāng - Stamp

[6] 扣分 kòu fēn - Deduct points (here in the context of the system that encourages people to speak English)

[7] 监察 jiānchá - Supervise

[8] 游客 yóukè - Tourists, visitors

[9] 外宾 wàibīn - Foreigners

[10] 抗议 kàngyì - Oppose, protest

[11] 噱头 xué tóu - Gimmick

[12] 卖点 màidiǎn - 'Selling point', focal point, title

[13] 苦心经营 kǔ xīn jīngyíng - Put great efforts

[14]汉语四六级考试 hànyǚ sì liù jí kǎoshì - 'Chinese language 4-6 level exam'; a new language exam initiated in some locations in China, offered to foreigners and locals, who wish to prove their Chinese language proficiency

[15] 纯正 chúnzhèng - Purity

[16] 蔑视 mièshì - Ignore

[17] 官方 guānfāng - Government



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