Goropius Becanus Award nomination for 2019

Language Log 2019-09-04

It's been a while since the last Goropius Becanus Award — see "The envelope, please" and "The Language of Eve" (1/3/2007). But a worthy nominee has recently appeared, as reported by  Zin Kao, "English is actually Chinese, scholars claim", The Taiwan News 8/31/2019 ("World Civilization Research Association academics also believe all European history before 15th century is fake"):

"World Civilization Research Association" (世界文明研究促進會) scholars are claiming that Western civilization originates from China and all European languages are merely Mandarin dialects, the Liberty Times reports.

World Civilization Research Association Vice President and Secretary-General Zhai Guiyun (翟桂鋆) said during an interview with Sina Online that some English words derive from Mandarin. For example, "yellow" resembles Mandarin for "leaf falling" (葉落, yeluo) because it is the color of autumn, while "heart" resembles "core" (核的, hede).

Zhai concluded this "proves" English is, in fact, a "dialect" of Mandarin. He further claimed that after Chinese formed the English language, Russian, French, German, and other European-based languages, went through a similar process of sinicization.

The World Civilization Research Association group of scholars are professors from a number of Chinese academic institutions. Association member Zhu Xuanshi (諸玄識) further claimed that Western civilization is a "sub-civilization" of Chinese culture.

He said Europeans "felt ashamed" due to the "fact" there was no history in Europe before the 15th century, compared to China. In an attempt to paper over this historical humiliation, the Europeans "fabricated" stories about ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations – all based on Chinese history.

World Civilization Research Association founder Du Gangjian (杜鋼建) said the organization has set up branches in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Thailand, South Korea, and Madagascar to "restore" the truth of world history. "Do not let fake, Western-centered history hinder the great Sino-Renaissance," he was quoted as saying.

The Sina interview can be found here ("西方文明起源于中国 英语英人起源于中国", 8/26/2019).