Maybe there is a hidden flaw in the story of
the tower of Babel -- a monstrous, frightening one. What if our languages
are not confused at all, but any single group
of human beings were just never enough in numbers to explore all the world's possibilities? What if the Chinese had invented things -and named them daxue, datong, tianxia, wenming and so on- that no
American has ever thought of this way, just as it always has been, I think we agree on this, the other way
It is often said that language is the key to understanding China's culture
The question is, which
one should it be.
Versions of this article appeared in Shanghai Daily and Global Times in Sept. 2012.
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Dr. Thorsten Pattberg, East-West, is a linguist (PhD, Peking University) and the author of 'The East-West dichotomy', 'Shengren', and 'Inside Peking University'. He is also an alumnus of Harvard University, The University of Edinburgh, and The (more...
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