Longing in Chinese?

Phonetic spelling: xiăng (Hànyŭ Pīnyīn Fāng’àn). Illustration: Livia Benz

Thomas D. Meier, what is longing in Chinese?

“Xiăng” in Chinese means to think, believe, wish, miss longingly. The word, which needs to be written in a precisely defined sequence of 13 strokes, consists of the signs for tree (top left), looking (top right) and heart (bottom). To describe longing, the Chinese language uses the image of a person lying under a tree and looking

with their heart. This utterly different construction of language is not simply a linguistic, but primarily a cultural difference that refers to a different way of thinking, to a different perception, idea and linguistic representation of the world.

Experiencing cultural difference as a resource lies at the heart of our international cooperations, for example, the “Shared Campus” platform. This virtual campus enables us to develop and realise programmes and research projects in association with partner universities from Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Taipei, Kyoto, Singapore and London, and thus to expand our teaching and research offerings.
5–7 December 2019
Toni-Areal, Kunstraum, Level 5, Pfingstweidstrasse 96, Zurich
Prof. Dr. Thomas D. Meier is a historian and President of Zurich University of the Arts. He has been learning Chinese for three years.
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