Classical Languages of
India and China
Implications of phonetic vs.
pictographic languages in
cultural evolution
Sanskrit:
The Phonetic Root of Indic Languages
Marāṭhī
Urdu
Malayālaṁ
Hindi
Telugu
Bengali
Kannada
english
español
français
italiano
português
Latin
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
(Devanagari)

the 50 aksaras
(indestructibles)

Phonetic logic:
14 vowels are first,
followed by 36
consonants
India: An Oral/Aural Culture




primacy of the spoken word
the living word over the dead letter
emphasis on the sound over the meaning
being in the presence of God(s) and teachers (darsan)
The Hindu Tradition:
Spatial Dimensions
Chinese:
A Diverse Spoken Language
Chinese dialects
•
•
Cantonese and other regional
dialects (8 / 26 / 8,000 ?)
"Mandarin" Chinese:
the "common" dialect
普通話 (putong hua)
A Common Written Language
漢字
Hakka
Xiang
Minbei
漢字
Cantonese
漢字
漢字
Wu
漢字
Minnan
漢字
漢字
Mandarin
漢字
Gan
Written Chinese
漢字
Mythical Origins of Written Chinese
Cang Jie 倉頡
(minister to the Yellow Emperor)
“observing the footprints of birds and beasts”
...
文
culture
writing
civility
Sculpted bronze figure,
Library of Congress , 1939
discovering “culture” in “cosmos”
The Pictographic Basis of Chinese Characters
Oracle bones from about 1400 BCE
Typology of Chinese Characters
1.
Pictographs
2.
Ideographs
3.
Lexigraphs:
Meaning-meaning
Combinations
4.
Phonetic Lexigraphs:
Sound-meaning
Combinations
1. Pictographs
日
月
田
口
水
人
ri
yue
tian
kou
shui
ren
sun/day
moon/month
field
mouth
water
person
2. Ideographs
上
下
中
一
二
三
凹
凸
shang
xia
zhong
yi
er
san
ao
tu
up/above
down/below
middle/center
one
two
three
concave
convex
3. Lexigraphs: Meaning-meaning Combinations
日 (sun) + 月 (moon) is 明 (bright)
女 (woman) + 子 (child) is 好 (good)
乃 (breast) + 子 (child) is 孕 (pregnant)
手 (hand) over 目 (eye) is 看 (look)
手 (hand) with 手 (hand) is 拜 (worship)
人 (person) in the 山 (mountain) is 仙 (immortal)
Three 木 (trees) is a 森 (forest)
Three 蟲 (insects) in a 血 (bowl) makes 蠱 (poison)
When you die, thousands of bugs stream from your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth!
-- especially used by wives and other (bureaucratic) subordinates
4. Phonetic Lexigraphs: Sound-meaning Combinations
水 (water) + 羊 (yang) is 洋 (ocean)
火 (fire) + 登 (deng) is 燈 (lamp)
金 (metal) + 同 (tong) is 銅 (copper)
雨 (rain) + 允 (yun) is 雲 (cloud)
Kangxi Zidian
康熙字典
Character Dictionary of
the Kangxi Reign Period
(1716)
49,030 characters
Literacy: 2,000
University degree: 5,000
Chinese Romanization
(representation of a word or language with the Roman [i.e. Latin] alphabet)
Systems of romanization:
道
老子
莊子
君子
仁
Wade-Giles
Tao
Lao-tzu
Chuang-tzu
chun-tzu
jen
Han-yü pin-yin
Dao
Laozi
Zhuangzi
jünzi
ren
Advantages of a Pictographic System?



in the face of dialectical diversity
in the face of geographical extent
in the face of temporal/historical scope
Aural-Spatial vs. Visual-Temporal Orientations

India
Sound
3 dimensionality
Presence
Seeing and hearing
•
•
devanagari
(gods as origin of sound)
cultural disunity of a
phonetic language
system

China
Image
2 dimensionality
History
Textuality
•
•
characters
(gods as origin of script)
cultural unity of a
pictographic language
system
Note: What you need to know for the first exam
General Concepts and Ideas (partial list)
8.
9.
10.
11.
de 德 (power, virtue in Confucian sense)
Tian-ming 天命 (the Mandate of Heaven)
three obediences (women’s roles)
xin 信 (reliability, trustworthiness)
Chinese Characters for Recognition (partial list)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
禮
仁
孝
恕
道
(li: rites, propriety)
(ren: co-humanity, benevolence)
(xiao: filial piety)
(shu: reciprocity)
(dao: the “Way”)
General Concepts and Ideas (partial list)
8.
9.
10.
11.
de 德 (power, virtue in Confucian sense)
Tian-ming 天命 (the Mandate of Heaven)
three obediences (women’s roles)
xin 信 (reliability, trustworthiness)
Chinese Characters for Recognition (partial list)
禮
仁
孝
恕
天
li (rites, propriety)
ren (co-humanity, kindness, benevolence)
xiao (filial piety)
shu (reciprocity)
Tian (Heaven)
General Concepts and Ideas (partial list)
8.
9.
10.
11.
de 德 (power, virtue in Confucian sense)
Tian-ming 天命 (the Mandate of Heaven)
three obediences (women’s roles)
xin 信 (reliability, trustworthiness)
Chinese Characters for Recognition (partial list)
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
禮
仁
孝
恕
道
li (rites, propriety)
ren (co-humanity, kindness, benevolence)
xiao (filial piety)
shu (reciprocity)
Tian (Heaven)
Descargar

Chinese Religion: An Overview