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Chicken Means Prostitute? Dictionary Upsets Parents

A dictionary designed for pupils and middle school students is considered unsuitable by many parents for their kids.

The Xinhua Dictionary with English Translation, published by Nanfang Press in 2003, defines the Chinese word "chicken" as either a kind of poultry, or the derogatory short form for prostitutes. The dictionary also gives "pimp" as one of the meanings of the Chinese word "duck."

The dictionary describes itself as a "modern, up-to-date dictionary specially designed for pupils and middle school students in the new century."

An anonymous parent, however, said she thinks some of the definitions are unsuitable for young kids and teenagers.

According to an on-line survey on the People's Daily website, 560 out of 878 people who took part in the survey think the dictionary will have a bad influence on kids and teenagers, and 322 of them believe the editors should be punished. 318 respondents think the definition given by the dictionary will not harm young readers.

An editor surnamed Zhang with Nanfang Press said in an interview with Beijing Youth Daily on Thursday, "There is only one edition of the dictionary, published in 2003, so any bad influence on pupils is limited."

He said that if Nanfang Press publishes other dictionaries, definitions of this kind will be deleted.

The country's most authoritative dictionary, Xinhua Dictionary published by Commercial Press in 2005, and other commonly used dictionaries for pupils and middle school students define "chicken" only as poultry.

There is no connection between Commercial Press' Xinhua Dictionary and the Xinhua Dictionary with English Translation by Nanfang Press.

The Xinhua Dictionary with English Translation is now unavailable in most Beijing bookstores and on eBay and TaoBao, China's biggest on-line auction sites. But according to Shenzhen Evening News, hundreds of copies of the dictionary can still be bought in the city's Shenzhen Bookmall.

(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2006)

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