語詞匯的形成—19世紀和語外來語研究 一書中 胡適仍多次被引用
不過 在 現代漢語詞匯的形成—19世紀和語外來語研究 一書中 胡適仍多次被引用
不過 在 現代漢語詞匯的形成—19世紀和語外來語研究 一書中 胡適仍多次被引用
快人快語 straight talk from an honest man
Roots of Chinese Officials' Lies
Princeton Professor Emeritus Perry Link draws on 30 years' worth of notes about the Chinese language's quirks to construct a revealing picture of how Chinese involved in politics think. The country may have been torn apart by a century of ideological struggles, but the maddeningly malleable manner of expression known as guanhua or 'official language' has united the warring factions.
Mr. Link dissects the mechanisms by which the modern rulers of China both consciously and unconsciously use language to club the populace into submission. There are important lessons here for those who deal with China on any level.
Take for example the tendency to lapse into sloganeering. Chinese signs recommending caution when crossing the road, or reminding lavatory users to flush, often use seven-syllable 2-2-3 rhythms called qiyan, one of the building blocks of poetry. To the Chinese ear this meter not only sounds 'right' but the rhythm lends their instructions authority.
This has made it popular with propagandists. Even at the height of the Cultural Revolution, when Red Guards condemned all that was traditional, Mao Zedong used the same classical form, Linghun shenchu gan geming: 'Make revolution in the depths of your soul.'
Mr. Link suggests that the pull of tradition was so strong that Mao probably wasn't even aware that he was using 'old' ways of thinking to attack 'old' ways of thought. Nor were the crowds of youthful acolytes who ecstatically chanted Women yao jian Mao zhuxi: 'We want to see Chairman Mao.'
Mr. Link goes on to discuss the use of metaphor, but the book's triumph is the final section in which he reveals the inner workings of manipulative language in modern Chinese politics. Whereas in Qianlong's time guanhua was the domain of officials, since Mao it has increasingly poisoned everyday conversation.
During Mao's disastrous 1958-61 Great Leap Forward campaign, people had to speak in guanhua of 'great and bountiful harvests' even as tens of millions starved around them. They learned to read their newspapers' guanhua upside-down as they still do today: A claim that corruption has been curtailed indicates that it's even worse than thought. A headline saying 100 brothels have been closed means that there are hundreds more that are still open.
Guanhua loves to takes refuge in generalities, leading to what political commentator Cao Changqing calls 'fruit language.' As Mr. Link explains, 'If an official says 'fruits are good' and it turns out that a higher-up decides that bananas are bad, the official can say 'I meant apples.' Fruit language preserves an official's options and might even save his or her career.'
Intermittently enforced regulations expressed in vague and conflicting guanhua permit arbitrary accusation, disguise authoritarian behavior, and make almost everyone potentially guilty. Foreign businessmen quickly realize that it is impossible to abide by all local regulations and take comfort in the fact that most are not enforced.
But they are left with no defense when greedy officials suddenly cite lack of compliance with a particular rule to demand a fine or even outright ownership of the business.
The standard by which the rightness of official pronouncements is judged is not whether they are true but whether they serve official interests. Guanhua is more reliable than ordinary mendacity as it indicates not only what the speaker wants the listener to believe, but where the speaker's interests lie.
Mr. Link glosses over how the gap between what is said and what is really thought has spilled beyond politics into so many other spheres. Visitors to China must quickly learn to see through falsehoods, whether they are tourists who find they can't trust what their guides tell them, or businessmen who must unlearn their faith in the power of contracts.
Foreigners heading to China would do well to skip the copy of Sun Zi's 'Art of War' in the airport bookstore and pick up Mr. Link's book instead. One can spend a lifetime learning Chinese and still not understand the country. The key is to crack the guanhua code.
Mr. Neville-Hadley is a Vancouver-based author.
林 斯頓大學榮譽教授佩裡﹒林克(Perry Link)根據自己30年對漢語奇誕現象的研究記錄，勾勒出一幅揭示中國政治圈內人思維方式的生動圖景。長達一個世紀的思想鬥爭或許已使中國分裂出很多派 別，但“官話”──一種極為圓滑的表達方式──卻將相互爭鬥的各派聯合在一起。
1958 年至1961年，在毛澤東發起的災難性“大躍進”運動中，盡管身邊餓死了數千萬人，人們仍不得不說著“大豐收”這種“官話”。他們學會了反著來解讀報紙上 的“官話”，就像今天他們仍在做的那樣：宣稱腐敗已經減少的消息，表明腐敗比想象中更嚴重。聲稱100家妓院被關閉的新聞標題，則意味著成百上千家妓院還 在營業。
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