The Ministry of Education (MOE) held a press conference on August 16 in Anyang City, Henan Province to present the latest progress in the development of Chinese language and culture and release the Language Situation in China 2022. Director-General of the MOE’s Department of Language Information Management (DLIM) Tian Lixin, DLIM Vice Director-General Wang Hui, Deputy Mayor of Anyang City Chang Huiqin, Vice Director of the National Language and Characters Policy Research Center Zhang Ripei and Vice Director of the National Museum of Chinese Writing Wei Wencui participated in the event. Wang Lei, Vice Director-General of the General Office, director-general of the Information Office and spokesperson for MOE, moderated the press conference.
DLIM Director Tian introduced the achievements of several language projects. First, under the “Rediscovering the Ancient Chinese Language” project, a synergistic platform has been established, involving over 420 scholars and experts from 17 higher education institutions, cultural organizations and museums who are responsible for nearly 200 sub-projects. A number of books of monumental significance have been published as part of the project, including A Comprehensive Compilation of the Oracle Bone Script Copies, Oracle Bones from Yin Xu Collected by the Palace Museum, and Bamboo Inscriptions of the Qin Dynasty Collected by Peking University. To spread knowledge of ancient Chinese writing systems such as oracle bone script at the basic education level, the MOE and the State Language Commission also sponsored a program to publish book series such as Uncovering the Mysteries of Chinese Characters in Chinese Textbooks.
Second, digital technologies have been used to create over 20 smart language services such as the traditional and simplified Chinese conversion system. The “Handwritten Chinese Character Database” project has witnessed the creation of 40 calligraphy art products derived from the original calligraphy of renowned ancient masters of Chinese calligraphy.
Third, the Language Resources Protection Project was initiated to record language resources in a multimodal and standardized way. Its first phase was completed this year with the establishment of the world’s largest language database, which contains over 10 million entries of original language resources covering 120 dialects, collected from 1,700 field surveys.
Fourth, under the Chinese Cultural Terminology Project, more than 1,100 core cultural terms were collected, and 170 related books were published.
DLIM Vice Director Wang described progress made in the “Reading Classics” project. An audio textbook database was produced with the support of over 100 of the country’s top broadcasters and hosts. Teacher capacity-building activities were organized, benefiting 70,000 teachers in poor counties, minority-inhabited regions and rural areas. The website and mobile app of the Digital Museum of Chinese Language were launched this year, providing a new platform for lifelong learning.
Deputy Mayor Chang introduced teacher training and research on oracle bone script in Anyang, a city known for the unearthing of a large number of oracle bones with tremendous historical significance.
Vice Director Zhang of the National Language and Characters Policy Research Center presented the Language Situation in China 2022. He first reviewed the guidance on language work given in the Report of the 20th CPC National Congress. He then introduced the intensive efforts taken by relevant authorities in promoting Mandarin and implementing language-related projects, as well as the application of digital technologies in the creation of language service products. Compared with the previous editions, this year’s report made insightful observations on smart voice products, sign language tools, the metaverse, AI anchors, smart writing, livestream marketing, barrage texting and other emerging digital language-related phenomena.