By Perry Link
During the Cultural Revolution, Mao exhorted the chinese language humans to “smash the 4 olds”: outdated customs, outdated tradition, outdated conduct, and outdated principles. but while the pink Guards in Tiananmen sq. chanted “We are looking to see Chairman Mao,” they unknowingly used a classical rhythm that dates again to the Han interval and is the very embodiment of the 4 olds. An Anatomy of Chinese unearths how rhythms, conceptual metaphors, and political language exhibit known meanings of which chinese language audio system themselves is probably not consciously acutely aware, and contributes to the continuing debate over even if language shapes idea, or vice versa.
Perry Link’s inquiry into the workings of chinese language finds convergences and divergences with English, such a lot strikingly within the zone of conceptual metaphor. diverse spatial metaphors for attention, for example, suggest that English audio system get up whereas audio system of chinese language wake throughout. different underlying metaphors within the languages are comparable, lending help to theories that find the origins of language within the mind. the excellence among daily-life language and legitimate language has been surprisingly major in modern China, and hyperlink explores how usual voters learn how to play language video games, artfully wielding officialese to enhance their pursuits or protect themselves from others.
Particularly provocative is Link’s attention of the way Indo-European languages, with their choice for summary nouns, generate philosophical puzzles that chinese language, with its choice for verbs, avoids. The mind-body challenge that has plagued Western tradition should be essentially much less difficult for audio system of Chinese.
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Additional info for An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics
The meaning is “flush the toilet even though you’re busy,” but how would one imitate the form? “Come in a flash, go with a flush” captures the four-syllable structure, some of the parallelism, and some of the rhyme. The lines are of equal length, but maybe a bit too long. “Enter rushing, exit flushing” is terser, and also has the right number of syllables and equal line length, and some rhyme. But note: we are now playing a game in English, and in that game any effort seems awkward if it is bad and too cute if it is good.
Menus, for example, easily show the cultural preference—not requirement, but preference—for four syllables in the naming of dishes: gongbao jiding ᆂֱ䲲ϕ ‘kung-pao chicken’, mapo doufu 咏ယ䈚㜤 ‘pock-marked lady tofu’, and so on. It doesn’t matter much if the names are literal (qingzheng liyu ⏙㪌冝儮 ‘steamed carp’) or fanciful (mayi shangshu 㵲㷏Ϟ ‘ants climbing a tree—pork and vermicelli Sichuan style’)—in any case four syllables are preferred. Their internal stress patterns can vary somewhat (to my ear gongbao jiding is close to 1–4–3–3 and mayi shangshu close to 1–4–2–1), but, grammatically and semantically, nearly every string splits into 2 + 2, not 1 + 3 or 3 + 1.
Without hen ᕜ or ting ᤎ or some other adverb 47. 4. 48. I am indebted to David Moser for this insight on de. Email message to author, April 13, 2008. 49. html. Viewed June 23, 2012. ”) But the phrase renmin gongshe hao was repeated so often that it not only came to seem natural but also established the pattern A–B–C . . 52 It seems that Mao added a permutation to the pattern with another inadvertent comment in the summer of 1966, when he said that the rebellious spirit of the Red Guards was hao de hen དᕫᕜ ‘really good’.