Chinese translation of crisis

Chinese translation of crisis

The Chinese word "weiji" ( translated as "crisis") is often said to be composed of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity"; the implication being that in Chinese culture, a crisis is regarded not merely as a danger, but also as an opportunity. This is a misconception or etymological fallacy. In fact, "wei" () does mean "danger, dangerous; endanger, jeopardize; perilous; precipitous, precarious; high; fear, afraid", but the polysemous "ji" () means "machine, mechanical; airplane; suitable occasion; crucial point; pivot; incipient moment; opportune, opportunity; chance; key link; secret; cunning". While the word "jihui" () means "opportune, opportunity" in modern Chinese, its "ji" component has many meanings, of which "opportunity" is only one. In "weiji" (), "ji" means "crucial point", not "opportunity". [ [http://pinyin.info/chinese/crisis.html "Crisis" Does NOT Equal "Danger" Plus "Opportunity": How a misunderstanding about Chinese characters has led many astray"] , Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature,University of Pennsylvania]

Origins

Mark Liberman traces the history of "weiji" in English back to an anonymous editorial in a journal ["Chinese Recorder" (January 1938, "The Challenge of Unusual Times")] for missionaries in China. [http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004343.html Language Log, March 27, 2007] ] The use of the term gained momentum when John F. Kennedy delivered a speech in Indianapolis on April 12, 1959:: "When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters." : "One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity." [ [http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/Archives/Reference+Desk/Speeches/JFK/JFK+Pre-Pres/189POWERS09JFKPOWEES_59APR12.htm Remarks by President Kennedy] at the Convocation of the United Negro College Fund]

Kennedy employed this trope routinely in his speeches, and it was then appropriated by Richard M. Nixon and others. The usage has been adopted by business consultants and motivational speakers and has gained great popularity in universities and in the popular press. For example, in 2007, Condoleezza Rice repeated the misunderstanding during Middle East peace talks, [] and Al Gore did so in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, [ [http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/File/Commdocs/hearings/2007/energy/21mar/gore_testimony.pdf Testimony of Honorable Al Gore] ] and in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. []

There is an undeniable appeal to the misappropriation of weiji.Or|date=December 2007 It is dramatic in its compression; in two syllables it offers inherent proof of the opportunity hidden within every crisis. This presumed oriental wisdom is used to communicate the inspirational notion that a crisis should be a time of optimism by erroneously deconstructing "weiji" (crisis) as "wei" (danger) and "ji" (opportunity).

Popular culture

The nonce word was used in the "Fear of Flying" episode of "The Simpsons" [ [http://www.avclub.com/content/node/47756 April 26th, 2006] edition of The A.V. Club] . Lisa says, "Look on the bright side, Dad. Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for 'crisis' as they do for 'opportunity'?" Homer replies, "Yes! Cris-atunity." Although The Simpsons Archive spells this portmanteau "cris-atunity", [ [http://snpp.com/episodes/2F08.html 2F08 Fear of Flying] , an episode summary from The Simpsons Archive fansite] "crisitunity" is more commonly used.

Footnotes and references


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Crisis (disambiguation) — A crisis (from the Greek κρίσις) is a traumatic or stressful change for a person, or an unstable and dangerous situation for a society. Crisis may refer to: Comics: Crisis (comic), a British comic Crisis (DC Comics) Crisis on Infinite Earths, a… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese Union Version — Full name: Chinese Union Version Other names: 和合本 Abbreviation: CUV Language: Chinese OT published: 1919 NT published: 1906 Complete Bible published: 1919 Author(s) …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese literature — History of Literature Bronze Age literature Sumerian Egyptian Akkadian Classical literatu …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese Wikipedia — 中文維基百科 中文维基百科 …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders — The Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders (CCMD) (中国精神疾病分类方案与诊断标准), published by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry (CSP), is a clinical guide used in China for the diagnosis of mental disorders. It is currently on a third version, the CCMD 3 …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese Taipei — Traditional Chinese 中華臺北 or …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese terms for God — Chinese terms for God, especially a Supreme God , have produced many variations for the title. The oldest records of the term Westerners translate as God , Most High God , Greatest Lord appear to exist in the earliest documents of Chinese… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese Indonesians — For notable Indonesian people of Chinese descent, see List of Chinese Indonesians. Chinese Indonesians Chinese Indonesians pray at a temple in Glodok, Jakar …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese New Version — The Chinese New Version (CNV) (新译本) is a Chinese language Bible translation that was completed in 1992 by the Worldwide Bible Society with the assistance of the Lockman Foundation. It was formerly known as the New Chinese Version (NCV), but the… …   Wikipedia

  • History of Chinese art — Chinese art is art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by Chinese artists or performers. Early so called stone age art dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures. This early… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”