Chapter

Chinese Whispers

Edited by Huang Yunte

in The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226657424
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226657448 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226657448.003.0005
Chinese Whispers

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The game of “Chinese Whispers,” seems more like an instance of sound or homophonic translation, that is, what's specifically Chinese in the game of Chinese Whispers is the very word “Chinese” itself, which is derived homophonically, through hearsay, possibly from the Chinese term Chin, a dynasty in ancient China; or possibly from si, the Chinese term for “silk.” The question of sound in the domains of linguistics, music, and economics has become increasingly important in the age of empires and globalization. Besides personal names, the other proper names that intrigue in this chapter are those of currencies, whose meanings are often local and yet whose translations currently constitute a major part of the global flow of meanings, values, and power. Money may be a universal language, but currencies speak vernaculars of their own.

Keywords: Chinese Whispers; sound; Chinese; silk; translations; language

Chapter.  3139 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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