Lecture & Workshop 2016, hosted by the Center for International Collaboration, Kochi University



 <<The Formation and Interactions of Modern Lexicon in the Chinese Character Cultural Sphere>>

Lecturer: Shen Guowei, Professor, Faculty of Foreign Language Studies, Kansai University

  A lecture meeting and workshop hosted by the Kochi University Center for International Collaboration took place on Saturday, June 11, 2016. The lecture was delivered by Professor Shen Guowei from the Faculty of Foreign Language Studies, Kansai University, on the theme of “The Formation and Interactions of Modern Lexicon in the Chinese Character Cultural Sphere.” This event, which fortunately fell on a sunny day during the rainy season, attracted as many as 50 participants, consisting of not only faculty members and Japanese/international students of Kochi University, but also other people from both inside and outside the prefecture.
  The lecturer spoke about how new words were created and spread in the Chinese character cultural sphere to represent new ideas and translate foreign words into Chinese characters to introduce modern Western knowledge. In particular, the audience was intrigued when he talked about how words translated by members of the Society of Jesus and Protestant missionaries did not make their way directly into the vocabulary of modern Chinese in the late 16th century, but had returned to China via Japan. His big data-based description of changes in the frequency of use of these new words also captivated the interest and attention of the whole audience.
  In the workshop, he introduced how Liang Qichao, a politician, journalist and historian in the late Qing to early Republican China, had encountered the Japanese language, in order to discuss “whether Japanese is an easy language” from the perspective of the study of the history of Japanese language learning by modern Chinese.
  Comments from participants include: “The lecture by Professor Shen was full of humor and allowed me to understand very specialized topics while having fun. Although I had heard about the origin of Chinese characters used in Japan and China before, I found it very interesting to listen to him basing his argument on the amount of use in newspapers, etc. and mentioning the influence of communication through international students.” “His analysis of the Chinese character vocabulary was tremendously interesting and gave me clearer understanding of when the usage of vocabulary had changed and how. I now understand well that social, political and many other factors affected it.”