Understanding the conceptual basis of the old friend formula in Chinese social interaction and foreign diplomacy: A cultural script approach

Zhengdao Ye*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study attempts to make sense of a Chinese diplomatic formula-calling or labelling one's counterpart zhōngguó rénmín de lǎopéngyóu (an old friend of the Chinese people)-by unravelling its conceptual basis. It shows that this formula has deep roots in Chinese social practices, and that its use is governed by a web of intrinsically-linked cultural scripts. The paper articulates these scripts in terms of the culture-independent Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM), unveiling the cultural logic underlying the use of the expression and revealing the culturally distinctive Chinese way of categorizing and conceptualizing friend, which is different from the Anglophone way. On the one hand, the paper shows the crucial role that language plays in managing interpersonal relationships by Chinese speakers; on the other, it contributes to a deeper understanding of the conceptual foundations of Chinese diplomatic style, illustrating how formulaic language in diplomacy highlights aspects of social cognition that are fundamental to the speakers of a community, and therefore deserving more attention than has hitherto been the case.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)365-385
    Number of pages21
    JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
    Volume33
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the conceptual basis of the old friend formula in Chinese social interaction and foreign diplomacy: A cultural script approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this