An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics by Perry Link

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During the Cultural Revolution, Mao exhorted the chinese language humans to “smash the 4 olds”: outdated customs, outdated tradition, outdated conduct, and previous principles. but whilst 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 finds how rhythms, conceptual metaphors, and political language exhibit well-known meanings of which chinese language audio system themselves will not be consciously acutely aware, and contributes to the continuing debate over no matter if language shapes concept, 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. 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 reputable 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 develop their pursuits or safeguard 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 problematical for audio system of Chinese.

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

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The Scholar’s Mind: Essays in Honor of Frederick W.  120–125. 30. ” See David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything (London: Par tic u lar Books, 2011), p. 135. Rhythm 39 In Chinese, with its monosyllabic morphemes, lines of equal length are much easier to produce. The phrase-maker has much more flexibility to arrange content within a set form. A phrase can fall into a formal pattern without seeming in any way odd, and there is no sense that the formal requirements of a phrase are attracting too much attention to themselves.

Each line is seven syllables long (although the rhythmic pattern is not the same as in qiyan), and the evidence of conscious craft is overwhelming. The first syllable of each line is yi ҹ, and the sixth is wei Ў ‘take [something] as [something else]’; the seventh syllable in each line is either rong ᾂ ‘honor’ or chi ᘹ ‘shame’ in alternating lines; and the four syllables from number two to number five are all balanced 2 + 2 phrases, the first five of which are a two-syllable transitive verb followed by a two-syllable object, and the last eleven of which are parallel two-syllable verbs.

He begins with some trochees: Ni xiang duzi hunhao? Դᛇ⤼㞾⏋ད? TAH-ta TAH-ta, TAH-ta, then Shei bushi name xiang de? 䂄ϡᰃ䙷咑ᛇⱘ TAH-ta-ta TAH-ta TAAA(elongated)-ta? Then, a moment later: Yige ren neng you shenme beng? Kanjianguo mazha ba? ϔ‫ן‬Ҏ㛑᳝⫮咑䐺? 6 TAH-ta-ta, TAH-ta, ta-ta-TAH. TAH-ta-ta TAH-ta-ta. The rhythm, although not a standard pattern, oozes from the language and enchants the reader. There are no formal signs to mark the rhythm, but readers who are native speakers of Chinese, asked to read the sentences aloud, consistently converge on 6.

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