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动物词在汉英文化中的喻义及其翻译

编辑:语际翻译     2009-12-31         转载请注明来自  语际翻译公司 http://www.scientrans.com

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  Introduction

  a. Close relationship between animals and human beings

  Human beings and animals are both the products of natural evolution, and factually man had evolved from animals. But since human beings created language, there have existed some great differences between man and animals. Language, the result of human labor and social activities, is human specific, which is the major factor that distinguishes human beings from animals. In the long progress of human society, animals, which provide food and labor force for human, have been closely bound up with human existence and development. Their furs were also good dress materials for ancient human to keep out wind and cold. In a certain stage of primitive society, man once considered animals as Gods to worship. So far animals are still close friends of human beings. Now that animals play an important role in human lives, the animal words in human languages will bear the deep socio-cultural imprints in the course of being used long by the human beings.

 

  b.  Influence of animal words in both Chinese and English culture

  Language is the carrier and container of cultural information. Human beings have been interacting with the world and accumulated their experience and knowledge about the world, which are represented in language. As a result, we can find in language all human knowledge and experience which are interpreted as cultural information. [1] So in human language there exist a plenty of animal words that are often used as kinds of association vehicles. Human beings often associate their feelings and emotions with various animals according to animals’ features such as their appearances, habits and characteristics so that the names or images of animals possess specific cultural connotations.

  Culture is the soil of language. Sir Edward Tylor, a British anthropologist, was one of those who first defined culture,in Primitive Culture (1871). His definition was that “Culture is complex whole, which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” Tylor’s definition has continually been the basis of most anthropological conception of culture. [2] Culture is also a historical phenomenon. Each generation inherits the culture established by its forefathers and makes its own contributions to the development of culture; so different nations have different cultures. Universality between Chinese and English cultures and similarity in the thinking modes make people associate the same animal words with the same or similar figurative meanings. But differences between these two cultures always lead to different association, i.e. Chinese and English people have different figurative meanings to same animal words or use different animal association vehicles to express same or similar figurative meanings.

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