Quxiang Thinking

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QUXIANG-THINKING OF NEW WORDS OF CHINESE LANGUAGE
Zhang Yumei

Introduction Quxiang-thinking is one of the traditional ways of Chinese thinking. It is a way that the thinking always goes with pictures, by the imagine medium, to reason out some abstract things. This way of thinking was in the process of using and creating the ancient Chinese and ancient Chinese Characters. In the international context, a plenty of new Chinese words have emerged with grammars different from traditional Chinese ones. Meanwhile Chinese native speakers still insist on creating new words, transforming loanwords with Quxiang-thinking by the way of homophonic pun, analogy, relativity, etc., and using the lifelike Chinese Characters, lively Chinese words, Chinese word-building to transform the loanwords into the system of Chinese vocabulary. I have found some rules in the Quxiang-thinking by studying the newly appeared Chinese words in the latest five years and I will analyze them from four aspects as follows: 1. Self-created Pidgin English word and finally turned into common Chinese word One of the classical examples is the Pidgin English word “ungelivable”. It seems much like English word for its prefix “un” and suffix “ble”, but “geli” in the middle of it actually is the Chinese Pinyin for Chinese Character 给力, which means strongly support, very cool, very good, etc. I believe nobody understands this “English word” without any additional explanation. The word ungelivable expresses some information to us: with the globalization, especially in the situation that English is compulsory course in the school in China, the thinking way of many Chinese has been tending towards that of English; Meanwhile they Still stubbornly keep their own traditional way of thinking which is called Quxiang-thinking. In this example, the core etyma geli is Chinese Pinyin, though the prefix and the postfix are English. In the etyma geli, one part of it is ge,and its Chinese character is 给, which means enough supply and this meaning was borrowed by way of Quxiang from silk bundle (糸). Another part of it is li, and its Chinese Character is 力, in the same way from ancient dead stock lei (耒 ), expressing the meaning of cultivating and making living with strength. The meaning of geli (给力) comes from the combination of the two morphemes ge (给) and li ( 力 ). The word 给 力 has a visual character belonging to Chinese Quxiang-thinking. In the beginning, some young Chinese talk with the word ungelivable, gradually and eventually almost all Chinese people like to talk with the word 不给力 or 给力 in their daily communication. Another explanation believes that 给力 is a pure Chinese word, and 不给力 is also a renewed ancient Chinese word. They said that 给力 is a word from Zhangzhou dialect of South Min, which came from ancient South Min dialect. The pronunciation ̍ of 给 is the same as 激 in Zhangzhou dialect. In South Min, 激力 is read [kik-lat], which means energize, force, push out strength, etc. 莫 in South Min dialect is read ̍ [bo k], which means no. 不给力 came from “莫 + 激力 ”. “不 给力” means uninteresting, dull, meaningless, lack of wallop, not enough in shaking, and so on in dialect. Whether or not 不给力 is truly from Chinese dialect or ancient Chinese in Central Plains, this method of studying and deeply digging in Chinese historic words have disclosed their national and traditional mind connecting with Quxiang-thinking. All of the researches on 不给力 in the area of Chinese Linguistic mainstream easily remind people of another new net word 囧. 囧 means embarrass, be pressed with, dead end online. The shape of the character is from people’s face, eyes and his mouth when he is in quandary by way of Quxiang-thinking. 囧 is so popular that nearly every internet user likes it very much, mainly because of its shape of Quxiang. In fact, 1

囧 is an ancient Chinese Character which appeared early in the Shang Dynasty. But the meaning of it was much different from that of today. New popular word 囧 tells us,...
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