CityU survey reveals new Chinese phrases in 2006

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Thousands of new words entered the Chinese language in 2006. Of these, five have made the “2006 Pan Chinese New Word Roster” which is compiled by the Language Information Sciences Research Centre at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

They are (1) 倒扁 “Anti-Bian”[1], (2) 終統 “Cessation of Unification”[2], (3) 八榮八恥 “8 honours, 8 disgraces”[3], (4) 自選自聖 “self-selection-self-sanctification”[4], (5) 社保案 “pension fund case”[5].

“These were the most representative and commonly found terms in Chinese newspapers in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei, according to rigorous surveys conducted by the Language Information Sciences Research Centre, and so were placed on the 2006 Pan Chinese New Word Roster,” said Professor Benjamin Tsou Ka-yin, Director of the Centre and its 11-year-long LIVAC project on the characteristic use of the Chinese language in different Chinese communities (more details can be found at

Two of the five new terms are attributed to events in Taiwan, and to one individual, while the remaining three are based on events in mainland China. Events in Hong Kong, by comparison, appear to have drawn less interest in the Pan-Chinese context.

“Considering that the 2006 Roster of Pan Chinese Celebrities, which was released by our Centre last week, did not include any celebrities from Hong Kong, the issue of the possible marginalization of Hong Kong deserves attention,” Professor Tsou suggested.

There are separate new word rosters for Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei. Further details may be obtained from

[1] Opposition to the continuation of Chen Shui-bian as the President of Taiwan because of corruption.

[2] President Chen proposed the discontinuation of the (Mainland-Taiwan) Unification Council in Taipei.

[3] Eight kinds of honours to be sought and eight kinds of disgraces to be avoided for the moral citizen of China.

[4] The ordination of bishops by the Patriotic Catholic Church of China without prior agreement by the Vatican.

[5] The scandal on colossal corruption surrounding the case of Chen Liangyu, former communist party chief secretary of Shanghai.


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