ERIC Number: ED209922
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Pictographic Metaphors as Vehicles of Symbolic Meaning toward Cross-Cultural Understanding.
Symbolic meaning expressed by Chinese language characters is helpful to non-Chinese persons in understanding Chinese culture. The implicit metaphors in Chinese characters present pictographic descriptions of the meaning in the form of a story, situation, or symbol which places the otherwise abstract concept in a cultural context. All languages depend to some extent on metaphor for their meaning but the metaphorical meanings of language are most obvious in the Chinese language. Implications of understanding metaphors for non-Chinese counselors working with a Chinese cultural setting are addressed. Body parts are anthropomorphized to denote qualities of behavior and abstract concepts in very literal forms. The person is seen in a context of complicated features acting in or out of harmony with one another. Behavior in the context of nature imagery is seen through a series of small stories that illustrate abstract concepts and establish the context of their meaning. The accumulation of knowledge as a process is likewise described comprehensively by analogy. In respect to the concept of identity, the Chinese characters suggest what is expected of a person. Differences between the traditional Chinese and English-speaking cultures are noted that account for Chinese children developing a cognitive style favoring interdependence of relationships, and for American children analyzing and classifying a stimulus complex in a more independent manner. Other characteristics of Chinese culture relating to the expression of hostility, family ties, and conformity are considered. (SW)
Descriptors: Behavior Patterns, Chinese, Chinese Culture, Cross Cultural Training, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Context, Human Body, Imagery, Knowledge Level, Metaphors, Orthographic Symbols, Physical Environment, Psycholinguistics, Self Concept, Semantics, Sociocultural Patterns, Sociolinguistics, Symbols (Literary), Written Language
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference of the International Council of Psychologists (1981). Best copy available.