Saturday, June 27, 2015

Chinese Medicine Terms in the English language

Thorsten J. Pattberg, PhD, writes about
Chinese terminologies and global
language (Image: FLP Beijing, 2013)
"I think what you say is true, but there's more to it than that. Of course, being vacation in lovely Hawaii, it's understandable that you should be outdoors and enjoying the scenery, rather than spending time typing long comments on a blog! So this is not a criticism. But I'd like to suggest some further ideas in this vein.
As you note, China being richer is fundamental. This means a larger number of students able to afford study, and able to become scholars and writers and other producers and interpreters of Chinese knowledge able to communicate in English (as well as other non-Chinese languages) and in Chinese. It takes years of personal effort and institutional support to nurture scholars and talents. A richer and more economically vibrant Chinese society generates opportunities for careers for individuals seeking to tap into this economy. This provides opportunities for not only the population of ethnic Chinese, but also non-ethnic Chinese. Scholars like Professor Pattberg who have devoted years of their lives to Chinese studies play an enormous part in helping people understand the significance of Chinese intellectual and cultural traditions.

This doesn't "just happen" as a result of China becoming wealthier – after all, individuals need to choose to study these fields, to find meaning in what they do, and the subject matter needs to be intellectually enriching for them to build a professional scholarly career upon. But of course, the wonderful thing is that the richness of Chinese traditional intellectual culture (including the period in the last 150 years as it has confronted western and modern traditions, as well as the fracturing of Chinese social and political institutions under the onslaught of Western (and Japanese) imperialism) provides so much of interest to the scholar that there is an endless profusion of material on which to generate new ideas and new knowledge for consumption in education, cultural and markets for applied knowledge.
One of the areas in which we have seen a proliferation of "Chinese terminology" in English language during the past few decades are terms relating to Chinese martial arts and medicine. The terms "kung fu", "qi", "Tai chi (Taiji)", "yin yang", "tao" (dao) and "feng shui" have become almost commonplace English language concepts."

by DeWang [Sourcetext]