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The Diachronic Evolution and Motivation of Generic Terms: A Perspective on the Appellative System of the Term “Comrade”

  • The Journal of Study on Language and Culture of Korea and China
  • Abbr : JSLCKC
  • 2024, (71), pp.87-114
  • DOI : 10.16874/jslckc.2024..71.004
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Study on Chinese Languge and Culture
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature
  • Received : January 10, 2024
  • Accepted : February 20, 2024
  • Published : February 28, 2024

JIAO YUMEI 1

1덕성여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The principal characteristic of the Chinese appellative system lies in the concept of "hierarchical distinctions, emphasizing considerations of "respect for seniority(尊卑长幼) ”and "degrees of closeness (内外亲疏)". The introduction of the generic term "comrade(同志)" seems to have fundamentally disrupted the established norms of the Chinese appellative system. Previous scholarship typically attributes the emergence and decline of "comrade(同志)" primarily to external factors. Upon conducting a meticulous examination of the diachronic evolution of "comrade(同志)" ,it becomes evident that its transformation into a generic social appellation, suitable for reciprocal use and devoid of hierarchical distinctions, is the outcome of a confluence of external and internal factors. It represents the interplay between external circumstances and internal dynamics, reflecting the "integration" characteristics of social structures during a specific historical epoch, alongside the general patterns within the Chinese vocabulary system, appellative usage, and the broader process of generalization over a protracted period. The ascent, widespread adoption, and subsequent decline of the appellative term "comrade(同志)" do not occur in isolation. Each alteration in its usage aligns with the overall adjustments within the Chinese appellative system. In essence, the transformations in "comrade(同志)" are integral components of the broader shifts in the Chinese appellative system.

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