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sunny2005liu, Dafu Yu's poetic prose makes us proud of our mother tongue, Chinese, one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Having said that, I don't mean to downplay other languages in general and English in particular as we are putting our thoughts into English words in this English study forum. |
What do languages have in common? This question sounds too general to come up with a solid answer for us. I would like to narrow it down a little bit and ask, what is the common ground of different cultures and customs? Hmmm, it seems to me that this kind of question belongs to scholars who are searching for a philosophical definition.
Let's look at it from another vintage point of view which leads to a question, how do we interact with our day-to-day surroundings with our fives senses? How do we express our look and feel in words? Once we are able to describe those basic things, we will ask ourselves again, how do we understand and express the abstract concepts such as love, time, mind, in terms of our daily experience?
One way to look for the answers is to start from the examples. Let's look at an example, when "run" reaches our ears or eyes, we come up with the scenes related to "run", automatically and unconsciously, e.g. A thief was running away. A car is running. It is safe to say that we feel this word, "run", deeply and profoundly without any rational explanation.
With these vivid images of "running", we can understand and describe other more complicated activities and concepts in terms of our experience of running. E.g.
She is running for the president.
- Here, a presidential campaign is a long distant race, and the position of the president is the final destination.
The road is running up and down through the mountainous areas.
- A form and a line ( a road) is a moving object.
She was running her eyes over everything in her boyfriend's apartment.
- Seeing is touching.
In short, what makes Dafu Yu's essay stand out is that many sentences were written metaphorically and figuratively in Chinese. By the same token, an essay written in other languages can be as beautiful and vivid as his. e.g.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ear.
- Quoted from Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, as Antony making a speech, in which Shakespeare stretched a common phrase, "lend me a hand", a bit further.
Hmmm, I had better shut up now and hope those examples drop a few hints for answering those general questions. BTW, your "Grapery in my dream" is good.