“Civilization” and “Culture” in Bilingual Dictionaries
- 105 Downloads
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.