Perry Link, der er en af de mest anerkendte vestlige eksperter i kinesisk sprog og litteratur, har lige udgivet bogen An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics.
Den er der en anmeldelse af på Los Angeles Review of Books, hvor den bliver kaldt for ‘en skattekiste af indsigt’. Læs anmeldelsen. Med eksempler fra kapitlerne om rytme, metaforer og her politisk retorik:
Link’s third chapter, on political language, is a far-reaching analysis of the starkly different worlds of political language and ordinary language in China, from the Mao period to the present. Link offers example after example of China-specific cases of Orwellian euphemism, abstraction, and other tactics that strip language of the information-sharing functions for which ordinary language is used. He writes extensively of the “language game” that plays out again and again in the political arena, in which language serves primarily to gain and retain power, rather than to inform or assist.
A particularly insightful example is the use of the phrase “tiny minority” (jíshǎoshù 极少数) to refer to political opponents of the Party. Link sums it up elegantly:
Phrases like “small bunch” and “tiny minority” have the added advantage of leaving plenty of room for the average citizen, at the receiving end of the rhetoric, to choose to join the majority. If troublemakers are a small minority, then the choice for you, the average citizen, is easy: come to the center and join the mainstream. If you do, the safety of knowing that the authorities approve is reinforced by safety of numbers. A person who joins the mainstream does not have to defend the choice.