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By Perry Link

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao exhorted the chinese language humans to “smash the 4 olds”: outdated customs, outdated tradition, previous behavior, and outdated principles.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 familiar meanings of which chinese language audio system themselves is probably not consciously conscious, and contributes to the continuing debate over no matter if language shapes suggestion, or vice versa.

Perry Link’s inquiry into the workings of chinese language unearths convergences and divergences with English, so much strikingly within the quarter of conceptual metaphor. diversified spatial metaphors for awareness, 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 electorate learn how to play language video games, artfully wielding officialese to strengthen 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 frustrating for audio system of Chinese.

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An advertisement for sanitary pads on CCTV used the phrase nüren yue zuo yue kuaile ཇҎ䍞‫خ‬䍞 ᖿФ, making use not only of qiyan rhythm but a pun on yue, which could be either 䍞 ‘more’ or ᳜ ‘month’, so that users could be either “happy every month” or “more and more happy,” depending on how one took the phrase. 26 An email provider, in touting the freedom of expression that its ser vices made possible, came up with the qiyan phrase wode dipan wo zuo zhu ៥ⱘഄⲸ៥‫خ‬Џ ‘I am master in my own domain’. From an historical point of view, the widespread use of rhythm in commercial advertising might be entirely expected, since its roots can be found in the hawkers’ calls that lasted into the early twentieth century and that almost invariably used distinctive rhythms.

Family planning examples included the wuyan example jiating zinü duo, xiaokang hui huapo ᆊᒁᄤཇ໮, ᇣᒋӮ⒥വ ‘with many children in a family, middle-class lifestyle declines’ and zinü zhiliang gao, shenghuo shuiping gao, xingfu zhishu gao ᄤཇ䋼䞣催, ⫳⌏∈ᑇ催, ᑌ⽣ᣛ᭄催 ‘quality of children high, standard of living high, happiness index high’. In qiyan there was chusheng quexian ganyu hao, bang ni sheng ge hao baobao ߎ⫳㔎䱋ᑆ䷤ད, ᐂԴ⫳Ͼདᅱᅱ ‘it’s best to intervene on birth defects; it’ll help you produce a good little treasure’ and sheng nan sheng nü yiyang hao, nüer yeshi chuanhouren ⫳⬋⫳ཇϔḋད, ཇ‫ܓ‬гᰃӴৢҎ ‘having boys or girls is equally good; girls keep the family line going, too’.

I am indebted to David Moser for this example. Email message to author, April 13, 2008. ’24 Even McDonald’s was using qiyan on CCTV: shike changxiang maidanglao ᯊࠏ⬙ᛇ呺ᔧࢇ ‘always keep McDonald’s on your mind’. Qiyan could help sell tonics: xueqi chongzu cai jiankang, buxue renzhun jiuzhitang 㸔⇨‫ܙ‬䎇ᠡ‫ع‬ᒋ, 㸹㸔䅸‫ޚ‬б㡱ූ ‘health requires that the blood-spirit be ample, and to bolster the blood you need Jiuzhitang’; also jinnian guojie bu shou li, shou li zhi shou naobaijin Ҟᑈ䖛㡖 ϡᬊ⼐, ᬊ⼐াᬊ㛥ⱑ䞥 ‘don’t take gifts at New Year’s this year unless the gift is Naobaijin’.

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