Language Imperialism in Western Scholarship, Media, and Schools

Language Imperialism in Western Scholarship, Media, and Schools - by Thorsten Pattberg

Writer and cultural critic Thorsten J. Pattberg discusses the perils of poisonous Western ‘Language Imperialism’ in China.

At the core of this notion is the West’s (almost) universal disregard for foreign cultural property and originality, as demonstrated in this piece by the Western syndication of “philosophy” and its shady and shameless propaganda methods. Western academics, publishers, and journalists have fabricated an Orwellian ‘World History’ in which Western-only (now exclusively English) terms are eligible. Everything else must be translated, or perish.

This coercion and blackmail of Chinese thought has been going on for centuries, unchecked, uncontested, with the result that today’s ‘China Studies’ and by extension China and the Chinese people in the Western mind have become literally ‘Chinese-free’. This is going to change, says Pattberg, but slowly: That’s because language imperialists hold most positions of power, are well funded, and are determined to guard their dubious (often biblical and philosophical) translations, their academic, political, or journalistic legacy and their colonial sense of entitlement. It’s basically like confronting an organized religion or very dangerous cult of China experts.

The only thing language imperialists don’t have is probably this: an easy future. Just like racism, language imperialism is going lose its justification and its legitimacy eventually; in favor of a more just, authentic, and more correct depiction of foreign cultures. The liberalization of Chinese and other foreign terminologies has only just begun.

Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German writer, linguist, and cultural critic. Dr. Pattberg has written and published extensively about Global language, Competition for terminologies, and the End of translation. He is also active in promoting Confucianism, in particular Chinese terminologies, on a global scale.

You’ve Heard About It:

RELATED READING: Free Asia-Pacific from Western hold (China Daily)

“Historians persistently warn against misleading biblical and philosophical Western translations of non-Western concepts, but few people outside the profession have heard about their critique. Meanwhile, Western language imperialists pick “Cultural China” into pieces word by word. Most of today’s Western China Studies is fraudulent, incorrect, and misleading.” –Asia Times, July 24, 2012

Institutions and persons mentioned by name (for or against the notion):

Frontiers of Philosophy in China, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, George Orwell, Slavoj Zizek, Benjamin Schwartz, Ji Xianlin, Tu Weiming, Gu Zhengkun, Roger T. Ames, Cambridge University, Harvard University, Warp Weft Way, Peking University Department of Philosophy, Council of Research in Values and Philosophy, The East-West Dichotomy

Book titles and images shown (for or against the notion):

Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy by Bryan W. van Norden

Chinese Philosophy: A Selective and Analytic Approach by Joseph S. Wu

Encyclopedia in Chinese Philosophy by Antonio S. Cua

Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy: Han Dynasty in the 20th Century by Justin Tiwald

Chinese Philosophy by Peter Nancorrow

Creativity and Taoism by Chung-yuan Chang

Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy by Franklin Perkins

The Way and Its Power: Lao Tsu’s Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought by Arthur Waley

On Philosophy in China by Hyun Hochsmann

The Beginnings of Philosophy in China by Richard Gotshalk

Chinese Philosophy by Wen Haiming

Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy by Bryan W. van Norden

Philosophy on Bamboo: Text and The Production of Meaning in Early China by Dirk Meyer

Understanding Confucian Philosophy: Classical and Sung-Ming by Shu-Hsien Liu

An Intellectual History of China, Vol 1, Knowledge, Thought, and Belief before the Seventh Century CE by Zhaoguang Ge

Chinese Thought in a Global Context: A Dialogue Between Chinese & Western Philosophical Approaches by Karl-Heinz Pohl

Three Ways of Thought in Ancient China by Arthur Waley

Yinyang: Cosmology, Lineage, and Ritual by Robin R. Wang

Chinese Thought: From Confucius to Mao Tse-Tung by Herrlee G. Creel

Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power by Yan Xuetong

Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought by Wolfram Eberhard

A Short History of Chinese Philosophy: A Systematic Account of Chinese Thought From Its Origins to the Present Day by Fung Yu-Lan

Readings in Han Chinese Thought by Mark Csikszentmihalyi

A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Interpretation by Chad Hansen

The World of Thought in Ancient China by Benjamin I. Schwartz

Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy by Stephen C. Angle

Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy by Stephen C. Angle

Human Rights and Chinese Thought: A Cross-Cultural Inquiry by Stephen C. Angle

A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy by Wing-Tsit Chan

Oriental Philosophy: A Westerner’s Guide to Eastern Thought by Stuart C. Hackett

The Central Philosophy of Tibet by Robert A. F. Thurman

Confucian and Neo-Confucian Philosophy by Chung-ying Cheng

Dao Companion to Neo-Confucian Philosophy by John Makeham

Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy by Bongrae Seok

The Confucian Creation of Heaven: Philosophy and the Defense of Ritual Mastery by Robert Eno

Confucian Reflections: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Times by Philip J. Ivanhoe

An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy by Karyn L. Lai

Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times by Joseph Chan

Confucian Philosophy: Innovations and Transformations by Chung-ying Cheng and Justin Tiwald

A Confucian Constitutional Order: How China’s Ancient Past Can Shape Its Political Future by Jiang Qing

An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy: From Ancient Philosophy to Chinese Buddhism by Jeeloo Liu

A History of Chinese of Chinese Philosophy, Vol 1, The Period of the Philosophers by Fung Yu-lan

The Way of the World: Readings in Chinese Philosophy by Thomas Cleary

Key Concepts in Chinese Philosophy by Zhang Dainian

Philosophy, Philology, and Politics in Eighteenth-Century China by Li Fu

Dialogue of Philosophies, Religions and Civilizations in the Era of Globalization, ed. By Zhao Dunhua

Book titles and image on Good Writing shown:

Media Writing: Print, Broadcast, and Public Relations by W. Richard Whitaker

An English Grammar with Exercises, Notes, and Questions by Rev. W. Allen

The Grammar of Empire in Eighteen-Century British Writing by Janet Sorensen

An Arrangement of English Grammar with… by David Davidson

The Principles of English Grammar by William Lennie

Effective Internal Communication by Lyn Smith

The Little Book on Oral Argument by Alan L. Dworsky

Speaking to Good Effect: An Introduction by Douglas G. Lawrie

Writing Remedies: Practical Exercises for Technical Writing by Edmond H. Weiss

The Wall Street Journal: Guide to Business Style and Usage by Paul R. Martin

The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers, The University of Chicago

Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing by John R. Trimble

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage: The Official Style Guide Used by the Writers and Editors of the World’s Most Authoritative Newspaper by Allan M. Siegal and William G. Connolly

The Economist Style Guide: The Bestselling Guide to English Usage, The Economist

Effective Writings Skills for Public Relations by John Foster

A History of English Language by Richard Hogg and David Denison

Eighteenth-Century English: Ideology and Change by Raymond Hickey

Political Book titles and images shown:

China’s Security State: Philosophy, Evolution, and Politics by Xuezhi Guo

Politics and the English Language, George Orwell

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington

On China by Henry Kissinger

The End of History and The Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

God’s Empire: Religion and Colonialism in the British World by Hilary M. Carey

George Eliot and the British Empire, by Nancy Henry

A Union for Empire: Political Thought and the Union of 1707 by John Robertson

Understanding the British Empire by Ronald Hyam

Race and Empire in British Politics by Paul B. Rich

The Ideological Origins of the British Empire by David Armitage

1984 by George Orwell

Concepts mentioned:

rujiao, daojiao, fojiao, jiao, xue, jia, zhexue, shengren, tetsugaku


Key words: Western language imperialism, philosophy is a syndicate, new imperialism, cultural property theft, end of translation, Rules for Writing, Goebbels Law, lingualism