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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Revolution, Mao exhorted the chinese language humans to “smash the 4 olds”: previous customs, previous tradition, outdated behavior, and previous rules. 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 show generic meanings of which chinese language audio system themselves will not be consciously acutely aware, and contributes to the continued debate over even if language shapes suggestion, or vice versa.

Perry Link’s inquiry into the workings of chinese language unearths convergences and divergences with English, such a lot strikingly within the quarter 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 related, 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 electorate learn how to play language video games, artfully wielding officialese to increase their pursuits or shield themselves from others.

Particularly provocative is Link’s attention of ways 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 might be essentially much less difficult for audio system of Chinese.

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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.

In the late twentieth century words like “interface” and “module” were stylish in American bureaucratic language. In the twenty-first, “robust,” “compelling,” and “multiple” have received faddish attention. There are plenty of other examples. It seems that not only words but rhythms can be involved in faddishness. This notion first occurred to me for the case of contemporary Chinese when I noticed how many slogans of the Great Leap Forward years (1958– 60) seemed to be four-syllable phrases: Duo kuai hao sheng!

42.  2. 43.  3. 44 In 1958, by contrast, four-syllable lines seemed unusually common, and they were often paired with a second line that might have four, five, or seven syllables. An example of a four-four pair is: Loushang louxia, diandeng dianhua ὐϞὐϟ⬉♃⬉䆱 Electric lights and telephones upstairs and down. 46 In the fall of 1966 rhythms of all kinds were more common in the pages of the People’s Daily than they had been in either 1951 or 1958. The Cultural Revolution rhythms seemed, too, to carry a more palpable “beat” than others.

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