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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 16, 2017

Bridging the Unbridgeable

A semiotic solution to seeking tertium comparationis in linguistic analysis

Ningyang Chen
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

This paper takes as a starting point the age-long debate over the formidable divide between Chinese and Indo-European languages, a widely endorsed standpoint from which a vigorous line of research has sprung up, with findings reinforcing the “unbridgeable” divide and “specificities” of the Chinese language. Through the lens of semiotics, I revisit some of the pervasive arguments sustaining this view, and identify the unsolved problems concerning the absence of tertium comparationis in comparative and contrastive analyses. Drawing on semiotic insights on the philosophy of language relevant to the debated “specificities” of Chinese, I venture to propose a semiotic solution to mitigate the upheld divide between Chinese and alphabetical languages in Chinese linguistics studies, and argue for a negotiated view against the binary approaches and the skewed methodology in a comparative/contrastive framework.

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Published Online: 2017-11-16
Published in Print: 2017-8-28

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston