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The End of Translation and the Rise of Chinese Terminology

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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 round?

It is often said that language is the key to understanding China's culture and tradition.

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 J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German philosopher and cultural critic.

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