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Use of synonyms in Chinese


Scoobyqueen

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Interesting question, I'd like to know the answer too!

Of course, the gratuitous deployment of prolix lexical items has the potential to be viewed in a less than positive illumination too (!) .. certainly in English; I wonder if the same is true in Chinese?

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they are considered two of the aspects of writing skills in Chinese.

The skill may be shown by

1) writing a lot while using the same word or picking up the best-suitable word among its synonyms.

or

2) describing the same thing by many different wording.

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Monto - I was talking about spoken Chinese. In the written form, I can detect a difference between a text (have to use the dictionary a lot more and the spoken word. Chinese texts are rich and varied.

If we talk Spoken Chinese only, I think you are right. We are supposed to use more synonyms , making the talk vivid in one hand and trying to find the common "language" with the listener in the other.

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I came across the idea somewhere (maybe here?!) concerning the fact that, through much of the last 60 years or so, "official" writing has dominated the public written language in China: ie newspapers would be written according to government-approved style, and quote fully from officials speaking, of course, government officialese.

The suggestion was that this formal, stilted, political manner of expression had -- and continues to have -- an impact on how Chinese people write: perhaps when writing formal letters, or academic essays, or perhaps even lengthier-than-normal notes or emails to friends?

Within in the context of this thread the question becomes: were the radio and TV media dominated by a similar style of "official" speech and did that (and does it) have any impact on everyday speech?

Or no influence?

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I don't know of any language where the social standing is so strongly present in the language usage as is the case with English. While all the language have a way to show this, in English you can use language skills almost like a weapon.

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Within in the context of this thread the question becomes: were the radio and TV media dominated by a similar style of "official" speech and did that (and does it) have any impact on everyday speech?

Radio and TV go between witten and spoken.

When we talk "official" in Chinese language, it not governmental or political necessarily.

There are many reasons for Written Chinese go much more strict than oral one.

In short, the written Chinese have been keeping the oral one from going wild.

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I don't think it's a case of Chinese having more synonyms than English (if such a thing could indeed be measured!), but it's rather a case of textual cohesion. For example, in English, it's considered uneducated and/or sloppy to use the same verb, adjective or even some nouns in the same sentence or paragraph. Cohesion in the text is instead maintained by using a synonym. Chinese, from what I can see, doesn't seem to mind if it repeats the same words in a sentence/paragraph. And you can see this carry over to when Chinese learners of English write essays, sometimes they tend to use the same word more than once a sentence, and it has to be corrected to make it sound more 'natural'.

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