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Linguistic Characteristics and Cultural Connotations of English and Chinese Shop Names

更新时间:2009-11-4:  来源:毕业论文

Linguistic Characteristics and Cultural Connotations of English and Chinese Shop Names
1 Introduction

English and Chinese shop names that display the generality and peculiarity of the complex psychological activities can be reflected in the similarities and differences between the oriental and western cultures.

According to Shuxiang Lv, only by contrast can we know what is common and what is special. [1] With the approach of contrast, this essay will deal with the shop names from the perspectives of linguistics, psychology and cross-cultural communication to show the linguistic characteristics and cultural connotations of English and Chinese shop names.

2 Traditional Display and Modern Fashion

In the colorful contemporary world, the public’s needs for culture could be generalized in two aspects: to keep the tradition and to pursue the modern fashion. Such a cultural tendency is also well reflected in the shop names. “Shop names” is not only a sign system for identification, but also a tool to create a cultural atmosphere by the businessmen so as to appeal to the consumers, stimulate them, and finally drive them to purchase.

2.1 The Traditional Characteristics of Chinese Shop Names

China is an old civilized nation with a deep traditional influence, and the Chinese still prefer to imitate the style of their ancestors. To show their great talent and learning, many people like to weigh their words in pursuit of grace. “Graceful” words with an air of great antiquity in shop names could well cater for people’s psychological needs.

In terms of structure, such “shop names” are word groups consisting of a modifier and the word it modifies, and most of them originate from the ancient poems or allusions, with the core words being “Zhai, Ge, Xuan, Tang, Lou, Ting, Yuan” and so on. [2] For example: Wen Bao Zhai (a stationary store, Wen Bao is the short form for Wen Fang Si Bao—the four treasures of the study: writing brush, ink stick, ink slab, and paper), Gu Yuan Lou (Gu Yuan means one’s native place), Ren He Tang (Ren He: a harmonious state of people living with each other; Ren means people and He means harmonious), Shun He Yuan (a restaurant; Shun He: lucky and peaceful), Cheng Xin Tang (a secondhand shop; Cheng Xin: honest and trustworthy), and Ming Yue Xuan (a restaurant; Ming Yue: a bright moon), and Chun Hao Tang(a restaurant; Chun: spring; Hao: beautiful) All the names mentioned above have their own origination.

Due to the cultural differences, the Chinese peculiar lexicon usually fails to find its equivalent in western culture, and vice versa. Such a phenomenon is regarded as “lexical shortage in culture”[3] Besides, English shop names are not capable of offering exact equivalents for “Zhai, Ge, Xuan, Tang, Lou, Ting, Yuan”, while often use “shop”, “store”, “restaurant” or “hotel” to name a shop. But such words are often omitted, like in Smith’s, Barber’s, MacDonald’s, Macy’s, Ethan Allen, The Pierre and so on. www.lwfree.cn

2.2 Traditional Features in English Shop Names

What should be pointed out is that some words that reflect British feudal hierarchical concept have left their trace in today’s English shop names, like king, queen, prince, noble, knight, loyal, palace, a freeman and so on. Shop names constituted by such words are King’s Garden, Victoria’s Secret, Burger King, Diary Queen, Maui Price, Royal Manor, Nobleman’s Food, Knight’s Inn, Church’s Fried Chicken, Hickey Freeman and so on.

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