Ideological changes identified in and through Linguistic expressions: what should stand for Korea in Chinese, chaoxian1 or Hanguo ?


  • Stanley Zhongwei Song


This paper presents an attempt to explain changes of China’s dominant ideology, the socialist ideology identified in and through linguistic expressions. By analysing from a historical perspective the meanings potential of the word Korea with its correlated expressions in Chinese, it highlights how deeply the way of referring to two Koreas has been influenced under the traditional ideology of the Chinese society, manipulated by the communist ideology in socialist China and challenged by less powerful yet emerging ideologies in market-oriented China. With the major linguistic references in Chinese to two political entities in the Korean peninsula, North and South Korea, the paper studies the relationship between ideological changes in modern Chinese society and linguistic expressions that, as part of the system of language, reflect ideological investments in and political implications of the changes. Added with a translation-related case study with a focus of emphasis on the word Korea, it concludes that with a flourishing of cultural pluralism in China, usually a forerunner of political pluralism, less dominant ideologies do compete with the official ideology in various ways and forms, and the competition can be traced and identified in and through linguistic expressions. In other words, given the political and economic dynamics of China in the past half century, change of linguistic expressions may indicate, in one way or another, the wax and wane of the Chinese dominant socialist ideology in a dialectical sense.