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Connotations Of Creature Words In English And Chinese Dialects Essay

Abstract This newspaper aims to review the characteristics of different kinds of dog words in British and Chinese. Due to the close relationship between human beings and animals, pet animal words have been given abundant connotations. However, due to the differences of customs, living conditions and social backgrounds of various nationalities, each nationality has its understanding about canine words. According with their features, this paper divides animal words into three categoriesјone is same dog words, similar connotations, the first is same creature words, different connotations, another differs canine words, similar connotations. Also, it is to help expand review the translation strategy for every group of canine words and discover a rule for the translation of pet animal words.

Key Words intercultural communication; pet animal words; difference; connotation; translation strategy

1. Introduction

Animal words take over a huge amount in English and Chinese. As the effect, it is significant to master different meanings of pet animal words in intercultural communication.

1. 1 Research Background

With the fast development of the global world, folks have more and more chances to communicate with foreigners. Intercultural communication is becoming increasingly more important. It really is a common phenomenon in our daily life, which can occur anytime and anywhere just between two people from different countries. Due to the differences of cultures and sociable backgrounds between your countries, folks have diverse understandings toward a same term. An effective intercultural communication demands exact interpretation and accurate appearance.

The creature is meticulously related to the human beings. In the daily life, people use many animal words expressing the emotions or express some situations. Pet words contain large cultural information. As two of the very most widely used languages, both Chinese and British are filled with animal words which have accumulated considerable connotations as the time passed by. To know the right connotation of the animal term between British and Chinese, we can avoid making faults in the process of translation, and avoid misunderstandings in intercultural communication as well.

1. 2 Reason for the Research

As LASamovar saidј"It really is more accurate to say people possess so this means and this words elicit these meanings. We can have different meanings for the same phrase. All peopleјpulling on the backgrounds, decide just what a phrase means(LASamovarј1995ј152). " So predicated on different cultural history, dog words have different connotations. While in intercultural communication, it's necessary to understand the connotations of pet animal words.

Meanwhile, the translation is one of the most important activities on intercultural communication. Therefore, in this thesis, the writer wants to study the difference connotations of animal words in British and Chinese and find out a translation rule for different types of canine words.

1. 3 Structure of the Paper

The thesis is divided into five chapters. The first section includes the study background, purpose of the analysis and the business of the thesis. In the second chapter, literature review aims at presenting the previous investigations of animal word, which include the successes and limitations of past studies of creature words. Then the third chapter discusses the similarities and variations of pet words in English and Chinese. In such a chapter, the copy writer divides pet words into three different categories. The fourth section finds out the suitable translation strategies for every kind of canine words. The very last chapter attracts a conclusion and points out the limits of the researchјЅ

2. Literature Review

The record of intercultural communication maybe is really as long as the history of individuals life. The offers of merchants along the silk road during the Tang Dynasty in China and the immigration of thousands upon a large number of "gold-diggers" to north America are the instances of intercultural communication(Ґ№ЁЅј2011ј5). But actually, the systemic study of intercultural communication just started in america in the 1950s. Intercultural communication relates to linguisticsјmindsetјpraxiologyјsociology, philosophy and so forth. In addition, intercultural communication plays a significant role in travelers, overseas studies, business and immigrants.

The scholars at home have been done many investigations of pet animal words in British and Chinese from various sizes. Such as Liao Guangrong (Ґ»-ҐЁј2000) gives more focus on the cultural connotation of the animal word itself. Liu Yingjie(ҐЛ†ЛЁ№±ќј2006) focuses on the linguistics to investigate dog words. The thesis A Comparative Cognitive Analysis of Metaphors in English and Chinese Creature Conditions (Di Feng, 2006) studies the pet terms from the stand point of metaphors. He focused on proving the result of metaphorical competence development to the words enhancement and ethnical studying through the study of modern-day metaphor theories and the relationship between the pet animal terms and cultural. Zhou Datian(2007) analyzes the reason why that cause different images of pet words in British and Chinese language. He points out that these dissimilarities are affected by four features. They are the culture, literary quotations about animal words, people's customs and the setting of production, the athletics and entertainment. In the mean time, he considers that creature words stand for the national characteristic. If we understand and use animal words properly, we can study and comprehend both of these dialects better.

By reviewing the previous researches in pet words, the author finds that canine words studies on the perspective of the intercultural communication are limitedјЅEven there is no paper systematically analyzing the major translations methods of different varieties of dog words that foundation on intercultural communication.

3. The Similar and Different Connotations of Pet animal Words in British and Chinese

If people don't understand the cultural background of the sentences, it is hard to know the true interpretation the speaker wants to express while in intercultural communication. For instance, here is a dialogue about the connotation of your animal term. A asks B whether he's ready for the math exam tomorrow. Then B answers that he has got his rabbit's feet right here. With this dialogue, the rabbit's foot shares the same meaning of all the best and success. If we don't know this background, we'd not continue the communicating. So it is worth learning the similarities and dissimilarities of the connotation of pet words so as to avoid the embarrassment in intercultural communication.

3. 1 Same Pet animal Words, Similar Connotations

Most creature words contain considerable connotations. However, because of family pets' aspect and traits, they often talk about the same meaning. The connotation of bull in English and China are similar relative to the bad temper of bull. To make reference to someone who is stubborn, Chinese and English show some similar expressions. In English, people say "Sometimes you will be so bull-headed!" While in Chinese, people usually say "єЁѕ". And the image of the bee which is active gathering honey is well-known by people, so we use the bee to praise the industrious and hardworking person both in British and Chinese, e. g. "He's as occupied as a bee. "

In addition, surviving in the similar environment, though folks from different culture record, they would reveal similar understanding in regards to a same pet animal. Take fox for example, when the fox identifies a person, it means that the man is cunning or sly. Matching to Oxford Dictionary, "pig" is "Domestic or outrageous animal with short feet, cloven hooves and a broad blunt snout (Oxford, 1108). " This is the denotation of "pig". Actually the imaginary and metaphorical expressions of "pig" in English and China are similarly as well. They both connotes the images of fats, foolish and greedy. In Chinese, "ЁЖ-Ґѕ-ҐЖҐґЄ"ј"єєҐґЄЁ˜"ј"Є№-ёЌҐ"ј"Ё Є"are gross words to scold people. In English, there say like "as excess fat as a pig", "He makes a pig of himself (»-№јҐѕЁЅҐЅ) " or "He has been a pig about money(»-ҐЇ№±ЁґЄҐѕ-- ҐЅ)".

There are others posting similar connotation, for case, "lock the steady door after the horse has been stolen (ҐЅ)"; "fish in stressed waters (˜ґ˜ё±ј)"; "From the good equine that never stumbles(ҐҐЅёЌҐ±Ё№)". In a nutshell, when in intercultural communication, the similarity of connotative meanings of pet animal words in English and China can help people make less misunderstanding as it can be.

3. 2 Same Pet Words, Different Connotations

In most circumstances, the animal phrase means different images in various cultures. Here the author wants to expose some typical dog words that happen to be remarkably different in different cultures. .

3. 2. 1 Fish(±ј)

Britain can be an island country. The fishery and seafaring are totally developed and they mean a lot to Britain. Thus, many sayings are manufactured according to the sea. For example, British use "an excellent kettle of seafood" expressing the items are in the mess or farfetched. "Fish in the air" is equal to the Chinese expression "ґёЌѕЛ†". "To own other fish to fry" means people have other things to cope with. About the fish in English, additionally it is a derogatory word reflected to the bad person, like "a poor fish(ҐЇЁ)"; "a loose fish(ёґ»ѕЁЌҐҐєє)"; "a frosty seafood (Ґ ·ј єє)".

It is very difficult to know the precise meaning without a well understanding about the English culture. So does the China. The fish has the same pronunciation as "Ѕ", so the fish is the mark of plethora in Chinese language. In Spring Celebration, people wish to cook a fish as a dish to symbolize a all the best in the next year(the author's translation) (ҐќҐєј2003ј17Ј18). It is a special traditions of China which is unique over the world. Many foreigners notice little of it.

3. 2. 2 Dog(№-)

Dog shares the same denotation in both English and Chinese language. But Chinese language and English-speaking countries have different behaviour toward dog. To discuss the connotation, these two dialects are greatly diverse.

In English-spoken countries, people do not only keep puppies for hunting or farming, but also treat them as fellows. The dog always shows a lovely and dedicated image in British. By this reason, British people keep taking the dog as human's faithful good friend. Here are some expressions of dog : "a blessed dog(Ґ№ёЁїҐї)", "a clever dog (ЁЄЛЅєє)", "a high dog (ЌЁєє)", "every dog has its daysјЅ(ЇёЄєєЖЅҐѕ--¶)".

Opposite to British, when to refer a person of dog, it usually means something bad in Chinese language. For instance, the misconception "№-ҐҐґѕҐѕјёЌЁЇ ҐҐЅєєҐїЖ" means mistaking a good person as bad guy. Most Chinese language phrases about "№-"are associated with derogatory connotations. It really is shown on the sayings like "№-№ёЌє ҐЖҐ±Ѕ", "№-ҐЁ·Ґ", "№-»-єєҐ ї"ј"ёҐ¶№№ "ј"№-ј№єєЅЅ"ј"№-ҐЛґҐёЌҐєЁ±". While Chinese language say "someone like a dog" or "№-ќЌ", they are really criticizing a person. No Chinese people wish to be called as your dog. Thus we must take special care and attention while translating from British to Chinese.

3. 2. 3 Dragon(ѕ)

Dragon is of commentary meaning in Chinese. According to the dictionary, "dragon" is a heroic pet of the traditional Chinese legend, the ancient icon of the emperor (the author's translation) (Ѕ»Ј±ЁЇЁЇЌҐёј816). Dragon is an imaginary pet in China. In Chinese language culture "dragon" occupies a visible position as it symbolizes auspiciousness, prosperity, future and electric power. We Chinese language people call ourselves as descendants of dragon(ѕј єє). Parents trust their children can be useful and also have a bright future like a dragon or a phoenix when they develop up. Ancient people also believed that the dragon was the king of the seaјwas an immortal. Therefore the dragon is often associated with normal water and heavens.

On the in contrast, dragon is a derogatory term in British. Though "ѕ" and "dragon" are both an imaginary canine in China and american countries, they have got different appearances. Based on the dictionary, the dragon is "a mythical monster like a massive reptile. In Western european traditions the dragon is typically fire-breathing and will symbolize chaos or evil (THE BRAND NEW Oxford Dictionary of British. 2001). " Dragon is also considered to be a fierce person, esp. a woman. So definitely, the translator can't convert the dragon word directly from Chinese to English. It will make English people feel that this is a curse.

3. 3 Different Pet Words, Similar Connotations

By the commonness of public lives and traditions in China and English-speaking countries, people could use different dog words to signify similar connotations, especially in the idioms.

For instance, "Ґѕ№№" has the same interpretation of "the black sheep of the family(ёҐ¶ё»˜ѕ )"; "Л†±Ґ±№Ґ №" can be regarded as "love me love my dog"; English people wish to say "just like a rat in the hole" to spell it out somebody who is sure to gain or troubles are often to save. However in Chinese language, we prefer to employ "ё -"; To refer to "hypocritical", in Chinese language it could use "ҐЁј ". In English it could use "the crocodile tears(±јјЄ)"; "Sell a pig in a poke" has the same so this means as "ѕ ҐґҐЌ-№-Ё".

There is yet another typical study of this sort.


Because of the difference of farming techniques, horse and ox play the same role in China and Britain. They are the important devices for farming, so horses and ox talk about some similarities in both of these counties, even in other american counties. To refer to "strong", in Chinese language there are expressions like "Ґ єҐҐє"Ј"ҐЈҐѕ-ҐЖҐґє". In British, they are add up to "as strong as a horse". "Hardworking without complain", in Chinese language, these person will be called "Ё»є"(Ѕ-Ґ№ј2010ј2). While in British, they'll be said as "work such as a horses" or "a prepared horse". In other aspect, the person who tells lays would be called "Ґ№є"Ј"є". And he would be called "talk horse" in English.

4. The Translation of Canine Words in English and Chinese

According to Columbia Encyclopedia, "Translation is the fine art of recomposing a work in another words without burning off its original taste (Columbia, qtd. in»»ё, 2006:40). " Our famous scholar Yan Fu identified the criteria of the translation as "faithfulness, expressiveness and elegance". Generally speaking, it is problematic for translators to translate a word singularly without a word or a text. They should keep up with the right so this means of the foundation vocabulary, and also follow the design of the original texts to keep carefully the coherence of the foundation texts and the prospective texts. "Translation is often compared to a bridge, which is not just between your source words and the mark text but between the author of original word and the audience of the mark text(»»ё, 2006:40 41). " The close connection between vocabulary and culture establishes the close ties of translation and culture. Translation is not merely about individual words. The ethnical backgrounds and knowledge also play a major role in translation and restrict it. Thereforeјtranslation is one of intercultural communication activities. The words translation constructs the building blocks of intercultural communication(the author's translation) (ҐќҐє, 2003ј21).

4. 1 The Translation Technique for animal words Posting Similar Connotation

Because the similar understanding of the same creature words in British and Chinese language, the reader can certainly get the right meaning of the words without the translators' explanation. These animal words can be translated into other terminology directly. In other words, translators may use literal translation on canine words which talk about the same denotations or the similar connotation.

"Literal translation identifies translate a phrase originally, keeping the initial forms, including building of sentences, so this means of the initial words and metaphor of the initial and so on. It can not only reproduce this is and frame of vocabulary, but also keep its vibrant image physique of speech and novel and unique expressive ways so the readers can comprehend the origin's literal grace(ЅҐЌ, 2011). "

Here are some examples of using literal translation. There can be an English sayings "like water off a duck's backside" to describe a phenomena that this inflatable water couldn't stay static in the duck's backside and all slide off without any trail. It can be used to criticize a person whom the suggestions have no effect on. Likewise, there is a same idiom in Chinese which has the same connotation -- "ґЁїёЁЖ". Thus, translators may use literal translation on this saying. As the image of the rat is timid and disgusting both in British and Chinese language, the phrases "A lion at homeјa mouse a wide" and "A rat crossing the street is chased by a11" can be directly translated to "ҐЁҐ¶Ґ№ҐјҐЁҐ-ҐЖЁј " and "Ёј ЁїЁ-єєєєҐ- ". There are others pet words have similar connotations like "black horse(»˜)", "as ridiculous as an ass(ЁҐѕ-ҐЖҐґґ)" and "do not be a goose(ҐЛ†ҐЅҐ˜ Ґґ№)". The literal translation can not only exhibit the same connotations of pet words, but also can remain the terminology style of the foundation content material better.

4. 2 The Translation Technique for Animal Words Sharing Diverse Connotation

It is an excellent choice to use the free translation to interpret creature words that have same denotations but different connotations in English and Chinese. And then get away from the denotations can we guarantee that the cultural interpretation would be effectively transferred. To have the typical example --dragon. As everybody knows, dragon has a completely opposite images in Chinese language and English. So, a Chinese phrase "єҐЛ†ѕ" can not be translated literally into "expect one's boy to become a dragon". To avoid misunderstanding, the better translation is "to anticipate one's son to be useful". Out of such awareness, "єґҐєєҐѕ" is properly interpreted as "the four tigers of Asia"јЅBut in recent years, with the wide-spread of Chinese language Dragon Culture, some scholars submit that translator can translate "ѕ" to "Loong" to reserve the Chinese language cultural characteristic(ќЁ·˜ѕ ј2008ј2).

In English, it comes with an acclaim like "you are a blessed dog". But as a result of different images of "dog" in English and Chinese, it'll be considered as a curse when is translated to "Ѕ ЛЇёќЁЄЛЅ№-". When the connotations of one animal term is dissimilar even inconsistent in two dialects, the better translation strategy is only to keep the connotation, in other words, to make use of the free translation. Thus, the phrase "you are a lucky dog" should be translated into "Ѕ ҐѕЛ†ЁЄЛЅ".

4. 3 The Translation Strategy for Different Animal Words Posting Similar Connotation

On the basis of the examination above, there is a situation where different pet animal words promote the similar connotations in English and Chinese. This type of dog words can be substituted by each other. While translating, the translator just must find the matched creature words or some idioms to replace it. They are some translation occasions from British to Chinese. As the research above, the connotations of the "lion" and "tiger" are similar. As the result, "to put oneself in a lion's mouth area" can be translated to "ЅЁєЁЅґ". In the mean time, we would better translate the British idiom "kill the goose that laid the gold eggs" to "ќёҐ-ҐЌ" alternatively than "ќ№Ґ-ҐЌ". Beside, it seems no mistake to translate the expression "better be the top of the dog than the tail of an lion" to "Ґёє -, ёЌЅ№Ґѕ". But the Chinese may hardly understand the connotation of this translation. In addition, a Chinese stating "ҐёєёҐґјҐ№їёєҐҐѕ" shares the similar interpretation with this key phrase. Alternatively, we could use "ҐёєёҐґјҐ№їёєҐҐѕ" to displace the translation of "Ґёє -, ёЌЅ№Ґѕ" in this phrase. The English "to wake a sleeping wolf" and the Chinese "ЁЌЖ Ёє" both share the inadvertently action making the other's understanding and prevention. In this manner, both of these phrases can interconvert while translating.

The purpose of translation is to keep up the social meanings of the foundation texts. It isn't suitable to utilize literal translation or free translation to convert dog words which different ones are a symbol of similar connotation. It is easily to mistake and mislead the viewers. The author believes that the best translation strategy for these canine words is by using the similar connotation words of the prospective language to swap the original creature term in source text message. It is better to maintain the connotation and the words feature of source content material as well.

5. Conclusion

Animal words contain plenty of connotations which are relied on people's living environment, faith and the animal's performances. Because the close relation between individual and pets, and the various connotations of animal words in British and China, it is absolutely essential to know the precise meaning of pet words to guarantee intercultural communication continue well. The translation is one important intercultural communication activity. After analyzing dog words connotations, the copy writer finds that animal words can be split into three categories regarding to their own connotation feature. Each group of creature words is well suited for one translation strategy. Translation in British and Chinese language, translators can use the literal translation for the same creature words discussing similar interpretation, and use the free translation for same pet animal words discussing different meaning. Furthermore, translators can use the same so this means animal words to displace when different words discuss similar interpretation. But this mode is not stationary, the translators must be flexible, they should find the appropriate connotation in the source text based on the writer's purpose. An effective translation is expressing the deep meaning of the foundation texts through studying the whole text messages, instead of learning on the top.

By the limited opportunity of understanding of the writer and inadequate time, this newspaper just talks about a minimal part of the study of pet animal words and identifies only three major translation strategies. You can find more canine words which can't be listed and discussed here one by one. But the creator hope this thesis are a good idea for the further research of animal words.

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