Chinese Death Euphemism Analysis

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China has been ruled by feudalism and undergone a long-existing patriarchal social system, making a strong concept of hierarchy between superiority and inferiority deeply rooted among individuals. The emperor had the sovereign power, and all the officials and people should serve and obey him as he is majestic and supreme. In this way, Chinese people of different social status are entitled with distinc death euphemism expressions.According to a book in ancient China called 《礼记·曲礼》(Li Ji ·Qu Li), it prescribed that “天子死曰崩,诸侯死曰薨,大夫死曰卒,士曰不禄,庶人曰死。” which can be interpreted as “the death of the emperors is called ‘崩(beng)’, the death of the dukes is called ‘薨(hong)’, the death of senior officials is called ‘卒(zu)’,
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The death of infant is called “没成人(mei cheng ren)” means have not grown up yet; while the term “夭(yao)” is usually used to allude the death of child, thus there are expressions like “夭折(yao zhe)”, “夭亡(yao wang)”, “夭殁(yao mo)”, “夭枉(yao wang)”, “夭促(yao cu)” and so on and so forth; and the death euphemisms for early youth is called “凋谢(diao xie)” which means wither decline. For young and brilliant man, their death is named “玉楼受诏(yu lou shou zhao)”, “玉楼修记(yu lou xiu ji)”, “地下修文(di xia xiu wen)”, “兰摧玉折(lan cui yu zhe)”or “英年早逝(ying nian zao shi)”; while for beautiful young girl, their are expressions such as “玉殒香消(yu yun xiang xiao)”, “红消香断(hong xiao xiang duan)”, “葬玉埋香(zang yu mai xiang)”, “玉碎珠沉(yu sui zhu chen)” or “倩女离魂(qian nv li hun)”. We can see from above examples that in the Chinese language, these euphemistical expressions demonstrate a feeling of regret or pity for those young people. Since people usually regard death as a deadline of their existence in the human world, in Chinese, the death of the old has the death euphemisms like “寿终(shou zhong)”, “寿终正寝(shou zhong zheng qin)” or “尽享天年(jin xiang tian nian)”and so on. In addition, there are many other expressions are used to allude the death of the old, for instance, “见背(jian bei)”, “损背(sun bei)”, “殂落(cu luo)”, “殂谢(cu…show more content…
In English-speaking countries, originally, individuals embrace Christianity and the Christian doctrine is deeply rooted in the public mind and become the moral code of the whole society, they all have implicit faith in god. Compared with China that The monism of this religion must have a great impact on the language. Accordingly, there are many death euphemisms come from Bible or legend about Christianity, which indicate religious interpretation of “death” in the view of Christian doctrine. Some death euphemisms represent Christian’s religious interpretation of “death” and their value of life. Traditionally, Christians believe that flesh s lower than soul in terms of value, flesh could die but soul would never die and they cultivate themselves according to the Christian doctrine so as to make sure their soul could rise to Heaven rather than fall to Hell. Since Christianity views man’s original sins as the theoretical basis for Christian theology thought, Christians believe that human beings are born sinful and have to atone, thus, one’s death can be called “to pay the debt of nature”. As the God is regarded as the master of the whole world and people are created by God, in this way, individuals should come back to god, i.e. “be called to God” and then “to hand in one;s accounts”, “to answer the final
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