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Fictional Dictionaries : Power and Philosophy of Language in Contemporary Chinese Fiction

Møller-Olsen, Astrid LU (2017) In Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 29(2). p.66-108
Abstract
This essay compares Han Shaogong’s A Dictionary of Maqiao, Yu Hua’s China in Ten Words, and Xiaolu Guo’s A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers from the perspective of philosophy of language. Drawing on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept of language games, Zhuangzi’s therapeutic skepticism and J. L. Austin’s theory of speech acts, the essay includes analyses of propaganda as linguistic magic, relexicalization as subversive activism, and human relationships as acts of translation. It argues that the dictionary format is used experimentally to probe and tickle the prejudices and preconceived ideas that dwell in language, as well as to create an explicit awareness of language as a historically conditioned and culturally varying human... (More)
This essay compares Han Shaogong’s A Dictionary of Maqiao, Yu Hua’s China in Ten Words, and Xiaolu Guo’s A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers from the perspective of philosophy of language. Drawing on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept of language games, Zhuangzi’s therapeutic skepticism and J. L. Austin’s theory of speech acts, the essay includes analyses of propaganda as linguistic magic, relexicalization as subversive activism, and human relationships as acts of translation. It argues that the dictionary format is used experimentally to probe and tickle the prejudices and preconceived ideas that dwell in language, as well as to create an explicit awareness of language as a historically conditioned and culturally varying human construct. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Chinese fiction, philosophy of language, Sprachspiel, Zhuangzi, performatives, Austen, Wittgenstein, postmodern fiction, translation studies, translingual fiction, literary lexicography
in
Modern Chinese Literature and Culture
volume
29
issue
2
pages
66 - 108
ISSN
1520-9857
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3a9b486a-1f39-490b-af11-54977b05fac6
date added to LUP
2017-12-20 12:32:38
date last changed
2017-12-20 17:16:41
@article{3a9b486a-1f39-490b-af11-54977b05fac6,
  abstract     = {This essay compares Han Shaogong’s A Dictionary of Maqiao, Yu Hua’s China in Ten Words, and Xiaolu Guo’s A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers from the perspective of philosophy of language. Drawing on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept of language games, Zhuangzi’s therapeutic skepticism and J. L. Austin’s theory of speech acts, the essay includes analyses of propaganda as linguistic magic, relexicalization as subversive activism, and human relationships as acts of translation. It argues that the dictionary format is used experimentally to probe and tickle the prejudices and preconceived ideas that dwell in language, as well as to create an explicit awareness of language as a historically conditioned and culturally varying human construct.},
  author       = {Møller-Olsen, Astrid},
  issn         = {1520-9857},
  keyword      = {Chinese fiction,philosophy of language,Sprachspiel,Zhuangzi,performatives,Austen,Wittgenstein,postmodern fiction,translation studies,translingual fiction,literary lexicography},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {66--108},
  series       = {Modern Chinese Literature and Culture},
  title        = {Fictional Dictionaries : Power and Philosophy of Language in Contemporary Chinese Fiction},
  volume       = {29},
  year         = {2017},
}