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By Perry Link

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao exhorted the chinese language humans to “smash the 4 olds”: previous customs, previous tradition, previous conduct, and previous principles. but while the purple 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 show commonplace meanings of which chinese language audio system themselves will not be consciously conscious, and contributes to the continuing debate over no matter 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 sector of conceptual metaphor. assorted spatial metaphors for recognition, for example, suggest that English audio system get up whereas audio system of chinese language wake throughout. different underlying metaphors within the languages are related, lending help to theories that find the origins of language within the mind. the excellence among daily-life language and respectable language has been surprisingly major in modern China, and hyperlink explores how usual electorate learn how to play language video games, artfully wielding officialese to improve their pursuits or shield 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 will be essentially much less tricky for audio system of Chinese.

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Extra resources for An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics

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24 An Anatomy of Chinese ultimately mystical about stress patterns. ” Do I want, primarily, to study forests or trees? For stress patterns, I do not fi nd the leave-no-exceptions pursuit of apodictic certainty to be the most fruitful one for understanding the general cases, which in turn are often the best cases for illustrating how stress affects communication. So a few exceptions (or complexities, to put it more precisely) do not bother me. Of course, too many exceptions would indeed be a problem, because then a generalization itself comes into question.

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’. The August 23, 1966, issue of the People’s Daily published a front-page editorial under the headline hao de hen, and in the ensuing days this headline appeared three times: hongweibing de wuchanjieji geming zaofan jingshen hao de hen! ’53 Then many other things became hao de hen as well. 54 Eventually other phrases that used a 50.

Examples are Guilin shanshui jia tianxia Ḗᵫቅ∈⬆໽ϟ ‘the scenery at Guilin beats any in the world’ and si zhu bupa kaishui tang ⅏䉀ϡᗩ䭟∈➭ ‘dead pigs aren’t afraid of boiling water’ (a punishment, once it is applied, loses its deterrent effect). Many contemporary examples can be found in the satiric “popular ditties” (shunkouliu ䷚ষ⑰) that are passed around in Chinese society, orally and authorlessly, rather as jokes are passed around in Western societies. This example from the late 1990s protests the plight of elderly stateenterprise workers: An Anatomy of Chinese 30 Qingchun xian gei dang Lao le mei ren yang Shuo shi kao ersun Ersun xia le gang 䴦᯹⤂㌺咼 㗕њ≵Ҏ仞 䁾ᰃ䴴‫ܦ‬ᄿ ‫ܦ‬ᄿϟњያ I worked my whole life for the Party, And had nothing at the time I retired; Now they tell me to live off my kids, But my kids one by one have been fired.

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