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Contact-Induced Linguistic Creations: Through the Lens of Chinese Buddhist Translations

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2015-2016 School of Chinese Seminar 中文學院公開講座

Contact-Induced Linguistic Creations:
Through the Lens of Chinese Buddhist Translations

Dr. Juan WU 吳娟博士
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies 荷蘭萊頓大學區域研究所

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 2:00-3:00 pm
Venue: Room 728, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: English

Abstract The translation of Indian Buddhist texts into Chinese, which extended from the Eastern Han period (ca. 147-220 CE) up to the Song dynasty (960-1279), is one of the most spectacular cross-cultural enterprises in human civilization. It not only imported Buddhist ideologies into China, but also brought about the first large-scale language and culture contact in Chinese history. During this process there were new lexical items (including both religious terminology and non-religious vocabulary) coined, new semantic elements introduced, and new syntactic forms invented. These contact-induced creations provide a valuable window into how ancient translators mediated different linguistic-cultural systems during their translation practices.

This paper will present some representative examples of lexical, semantic and syntactic creations found in Chinese Buddhist translations, with particular focus on the mechanisms or patterns embodied therein. It will discuss what elements in Chinese Buddhist translations left lasting marks on the development of the Chinese language, and what elements only survived briefly. Finally, through correlating these creations with similar linguistic phenomena found in other religious translations (for instance, Bible translations) and in other language contact settings, the paper will argue the importance of Chinese Buddhist translations within the broader context of Translation Studies and Cross-cultural Studies in general. (200 words)

講座摘要 東漢至宋代的印度佛經翻譯是人類文明史上最為壯觀的文化交流工程之一。佛經翻譯不僅將佛教思想引入中國,同時也帶來了中國歷史上第一次大規模的跨語言和跨文化接觸。在此期間,不少新詞彙、新語義元素以及新語法形式被引進或創造出來。這些由接觸引發的語言創新為我們觀察古代譯者如何在翻譯實踐中應對不同語言文化系統,打開了一扇寶貴的窗口。


About the Speaker Dr. Juan WU is a postdoctoral fellow at Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, under the sponsorship of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation administrated by American Council of Learned Societies. She graduated from Fudan University (BA in Chinese Linguistics, 2005), Peking University (PhD Candidacy in Buddhist Chinese Studies, 2008), and Cardiff University (PhD in Buddhist Studies, 2012). In the past three years, she worked as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow at University of Tokyo (2012-2014), and as a Jan Gonda Indology Fellow at International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden (2015). Her research and teaching interests include the history of translating Buddhist scriptures from India to China and Tibet, linguistic features of early Chinese Buddhist translations, as well as Buddhist and Jaina narrative literature. She has published a number of articles in top English and Chinese peer-reviewed journals. Currently she is working on a book manuscript derived from her PhD thesis, which focuses on stories of the patricidal king Ajātaśatru in Buddhist and Jaina traditions.

講者簡介 吳娟,萊頓大學區域研究所博士後(何鴻毅家族基金資助,美國學會理事會授權)。2005年復旦大學中文系本科畢業(漢語語言學專業),2005年秋至2008年初以直博生身份在北京大學中文系和南亚学系学习(佛教漢語專業),2012年秋獲得英國Cardiff大学佛教学博士(印度佛教專業)。2012年10月至2014年12月在東京大學印度哲學佛教學研究室從事博士後研究(日本學術振興會資助),2015年上半年在萊頓大學國際亞洲研究所從事印度學研究(荷蘭Jan Gonda 基金會資助),目前在萊頓大學區域研究所從事博士後研究及教學工作。研究領域包括佛經翻譯史、早期漢譯佛典的語言特徵、佛教和耆那教敘事文獻研究等。她曾在中英文一流學術期刊中發表過多篇學術論文,目前正在準備將博士論文擴充修訂成英文專著出版。

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海報 Poster [1]

http://www.hku.hk/chinese [2]

Article printed from School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong: http://web.chinese.hku.hk/main

URL to article: http://web.chinese.hku.hk/main/2015/10/27/contact-induced-linguistic-creations-through-the-lens-of-chinese-buddhist-translations/

URLs in this post:

[1] 海報 Poster: http://web.chinese.hku.hk/poster/20151117a.pdf

[2] http://www.hku.hk/chinese: http://www.hku.hk/chinese

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