A Comparison Between Chinese and English Taboos

Topics: Taboo, Culture, Tonga Pages: 4 (1234 words) Published: March 25, 2011
|A Comparison between Chinese and English taboos | |  | |1.Introduction | |A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is | |sacred and forbidden based on moral judgment and sometimes even religious beliefs. Breaking the taboo is usually | |considered objectionable or abhorrent by society. The term comes from the Tongan word tabu, meaning set apart or | |forbidden, and appears in many Polynesian cultures. In those cultures, a tabu (or tapu or kapu) often has specific | |religious associations. When an activity or custom is taboo, it is forbidden and interdictions are implemented | |concerning it, such as the ground set apart as a sanctuary for criminals. Some taboo activities or customs are | |prohibited under law and transgressions may lead to severe penalties. Other taboos result in embarrassment, shame, | |and rudeness. Although critics and/or dissenters may oppose taboos, they are put into place to avoid disrespect to | |any given authority, be it legal, moral and/or religious. | |  | |2.Etymology | |Common etymology traces taboo to the Tongan word tapu or the Fijian word tabu meaning "under prohibition", "not | |allowed", or "forbidden". In its current use in Tonga, the word tapu also means "sacred" or "holy", often in the | |sense of being restricted or protected by custom or law. In the main island of the Kingdom...
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