Official refutes report that China will limit number of characters for new names 2009-04-13 17:30:06   Print

    BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese language official rebutted here Monday an earlier report saying that he said the government would allow only 8,000 approved characters to be used to make up newborn babies' names.

    Li Yuming, director of the Administration Department of Chinese Language and Information under the Ministry of Education, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview Monday that whether to limit the choices of characters for names should be decided by the public security departments, not by language experts.

    The Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News on Saturday cited Lias saying that China would limit the choices of new names to a modified list of 8,000 or so simplified Chinese characters to be released "soon".

    The report also cited Wang Ning, deputy director with the Institute of Linguistics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), but Wang was not immediately available to comment.

    The list of simplified Chinese characters for everyday use, including naming children but more commonly for textbooks and documents, is likely to be issued this year. It is the first move of its kind in nearly 20 years and is aimed at further standardizing a language used by billions around the world.

    "It is an effort to better implement the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language," Li said.

    "The list would include over 8,000 Chinese characters that, in combination, could convey almost any concept in any field," said Li, also vice chairman of the State Language Commission.

    Chinese people normally name their children by using one or two characters.     

Editor: Wang Hongjiang
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