WANG Guofu and ZHANG Yongxian

Australian Studies Centre directors

About This Project

Wang Guofu: The publication of the first Australian English-Chinese bilingual dictionary is closely linked to my study in Australia.

 

When I first went to Australia in 1979, I was already a middle-aged man who had been learning English for over 20 years. I thought I was a qualified English speaker at the time. But when I arrived in Australia, I found things were not what I expected. Puzzled by the colloquialisms and the special words of Australian English, I thought how nice it would be if there existed an English-Chinese Australian Dictionary in China.

 

In 1992, I returned to Australia to study. I was soon admitted to Macquarie University’s Dictionary Research Centre because I compiled and published the English-Chinese Australian Dictionary. Just before I returned to China, I was entrusted by Macquarie Press to bring the Concise Macquarie Dictionary to China, translate it into Chinese and then publish the Chinese version.

 

When I finished the last translations in September 1995, I felt greatly relieved, with a sense of excitement beyond description. The dictionary was published in April 1999.

 

Zhang Yongxian: In the 80s, I went to Melbourne to study together with five other classmates, supported by academic Wes Blackmore (1930-2014) from the University of Melbourne.

 

It was the Macquarie Dictionary that Mr Blackmore introduced me to, that inspired my interest in Australian slang. I went to Melbourne in 1983 and spent three years with Mr Blackmore and his family. I had the pleasure of making many new Australian friends, and gained a deep understanding of Australian English, including its colloquialisms,  through years of conversation with people from all walks of life.

 

I am now the Director of the Australian Studies Centre at Renmin University of China, established in 1999. I have always wanted to do more to promote academic exchanges between China and Australia. In 2014, my book From English to Globlish, which includes a section on Australian English, was published, and has become a standard textbook for English majors in colleges and universities throughout China.

 

Wang Guofu is Honorary Director, Australian Studies Centre, Suzhou University. Zhang Yongxian is Director, Australian Studies Centre, Renmin University of China, Beijing.

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