“Civilization” and “Culture” in Bilingual Dictionaries

  • Weigui FangEmail author
Part of the Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture book series (KCCTC)


As reference books, dictionaries generally have a remarkable degree of representativeness in historical semantic studies, not only because they tend to demonstrate the historical development of the usage of words (something that is referred to as the “apparent meanings of concepts” in the history of concepts) but also due to the paradigmatic meaning they constitute and the guiding role that they tend to play. The earliest bilingual dictionaries that appeared in nineteenth-century China were mostly compiled by Western scholars. How to choose appropriate Chinese equivalents when translating involves historical as well as contemporary factors, and it also reveals a particular understanding on the part of a particular compiler. Already existing translations can either be borrowed wholly or in part. The present study pays heed mainly to the varying levels of cognition and their historical changes as revealed in translations of the English-language words concerned.


Bilingual dictionaries Historical profundity Regional distinction Collective nature 

Copyright information

© Foreign Language Teaching and Research Publishing Co., Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations