New Terms for New Ideas: Western Knowledge and Lexical Change in Late Imperial China

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Overview

This volume is about the lasting impact of new (Western) notions on the 19th and early 20th century Chinese language; their invention, spread and standardization. Reaching beyond the mere cataloguing of the thousands of lexical innovations in this period of change, the essays explore the multiple ways in which initially alien notions were naturalized in Chinese scientific and political discourse.
Topics examined range from preconceptions about the capacity of the Chinese language to accommodate foreign ideas, the formation of specific nomenclatures and the roles of individual translators, to Chinese and European attempts at coming to terms with each other’s grammar.
By systematically analysing and assessing the lexical adaptation of Western notions in Chinese contexts, the book will serve as a valuable reference work for all those interested in the historical semantics of modern China.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'…it should be read widely because of its close interrogation of the intersections between language and history and because of its problematization of the role of translation in inventing linguistic commensurabilities between peoples and cultures. Borrow it from the library and read each of the articles carefully. They are filled with information and new points of view.'
Benjamin Elman, EASTM, 2004.
'A rich bibliography of both Chinese and Western publications and “Index” contribute to the high academic value of this compendium of multidisciplinary research into the transmission of Western knowledge into China accompanied by far-reaching lexical changes.'
Zdenka Hermanova, Archiv Orientalni, 2003.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004120464
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Series: Sinica Leidensia Series , #52
  • Pages: 460
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Lackner, Ph.D. (1985), University of Munich, is Chair of Chinese Studies at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Iwo Amelung, Ph.D. (1999), Free University of Berlin, is Researcher in the History of Chinese Studies and Technology at Technical University Berlin.
Joachim Kurtz, M.A., is Researcher in Chinese Studies at the University of Göttingen.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Contributors
Introduction 1
Chinese Terminologies: On Preconceptions 15
Language Contact and Lexical Innovation 35
Language in the Modernization Process: The Integration of Western Concepts and Terms into Chinese and Japanese in the Nineteenth Century 57
'Liberty', 'Democracy', 'President': The Translation and Usage of Some Political Terms in Late Qing China 69
Yi, Yang, Xi, Wai and Other Terms: The Transition from 'Barbarian' to 'Foreigner' in Late Imperial China 95
The Notions of 'Power' and 'Rights' in Chinese Political Discourse 125
Coming to Terms with Logic: The Naturalization of an Occidental Notion in China 147
An Inquiry into the History of the Chinese Terms Jiqi (Machine) and Jixie (Machinery) 177
Weights and Forces: The Introduction of Western Mechanics into Late Qing China 197
Yan Fu and the Tasks of the Translator 235
Natural Philosophy, Physics and Metaphysics in the Thought of Tan Sitong: The Concepts of Qi and Yitai 257
A New Inquiry into the Translation of Chemical Terms by John Fryer and Xu Shou 271
The Creation of Technical Terms in English Chinese Dictionaries from the Nineteenth Century 287
On Mathematical Terminology: Culture Crossing in Nineteenth-Century China 305
The Formation of Botanical Terminology: A Model or a Case Study? 327
Some Reflections on the Sources of the Mashi wentong 341
Circumnavigating the Unfamiliar: Dao'an (314-385) and Yan Fu (1852-1921) on Western Grammar 357
May Fourth Linguistic Orthodoxy and Rhetoric: Some Informal Comparative Notes 373
Works Cited 411
Index 449
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