Cultural Evolution and Cultural Translation: A Case of Malaysian-Chinese and Singaporean-Chinese

Cultural Evolution and Cultural Translation: A Case of Malaysian-Chinese and Singaporean-Chinese

Ge Song (Lingnan University, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2832-6.ch007
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Abstract

In the early 20th century, Chinese communities in the then-Malay and Singapore began to take shape. The sudden shift of living conditions, especially the sociopolitical atmosphere, uprooted these migrated Chinese who had to adapt to new cultural realities of their host lands. This article argues for the cultural dimensions of Chinese overseas, particularly those in Malaysia and Singapore, as an object of translation studies, since these Chinese overseas have already shown a uniquely evolved culture that is different from that in China. Linguistic displacement in the same language is a reflection of cultural discrepancy resulted from cultural evolution, and cultural divergence innately calls for the intervention of cultural translation. This paper is expected to garner fruitful insights into the cultural translation between two geographically and culturally different Chinese communities.
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Background

Immigration has always been one of the themes of Southeast Asian history (Wang, 1988, p. 285) of which Chinese immigration constitutes a significant part. After the First Opium War (1840 - 1842) and the Second Opium War (1856 - 1860), a growing number of Chinese in China’s southern provinces left for Southeast Asia, mostly for better commercial opportunities. Mass travel has long been acknowledged as a significant pull factor in language shift (Nettle & Romaine, 2000, pp. 82-90). In the early 20th century, Chinese communities in the then-Malaya and Singapore began to take shape (Lu, 2014, p. 31). The sudden change in living conditions from China to Malaya and Singapore, especially the sociopolitical atmosphere, uprooted these Chinese migrants who had to adapt to the new cultural realities of their host lands.

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