Oh No! Is Chinglish an Endangered Species?

Wikipedia’s definition of chinglish is, “Slang for spoken or written English language that is either influenced by a Chinese language or is poorly translated.”

It’s easy to be critical. The languages are so different. Imagine the “funny” mistakes that a westerner like me would make if I tried to write something in Chinese.

Back in 1996 when I first started attending Taipei Cycle, chinglish was everywhere, both within the expo booths and out on the city street signs and shopfronts.

I ran a couple of similar photo articles about it back in those early days. One time I focused upon the chinglish tag lines that every model of motor scooter seemed to have at the bottom of its brand decal.

I have to say that it’s yet another sign of how much more globalised and affluent Taiwanese society has become, plus perhaps through the assistance of the internet and translation software, that chinglish is dying out fast. You could say it’s on the endangered species list.

But if you look hard in the smaller booths and back corners of the show, you can still find some amusing lines. Some of these exhibitors might not be Taiwanese at all, but international exhibitors from a range of other non-English language countries.

If you go to Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings, you’ll find a huge multi-level shopping centre on the lower levels that includes just about every global brand that you can imagine. The ‘luxury goods’ section of this is as large and glitzy as any I’ve seen in London, Paris or New York. The problem is, it’s the same brands with the same signage and store design as it is in all of those other cities.

Global stores like these are definitely chinglish free zones. I hope that the entire country doesn’t become homogenised. Chinglish adds a unique charm.

Bike sign
Next time you want some hubs desige, you know where to go.
Shop signage
Don’t just be a rebel without a cause…
Shop signage
You can’t beat a good mission statement.
Shop signage
A sign outside what I think was a late night bar. I was too afraid to go inside and confirm this.
Shop signage
Nailed it!
Shop signage
This should become a new word. Even better than durable rims, these are extra durable when you’re doing an enduro ride.
Bike expo signage
How could you go wrong dealing with this manufacturer?
Bike expo display
A great tag line!

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