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Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology

Volume 19, Issue 1, 2022

Conceptual History: China, Asia, and the Global

Guowei Shen
Pages 137-162

Modern Reorganization and Language Contact of the Chinese Vocabulary System

After entering the 20th century, great changes have taken place in the Chinese language, especially in terms of vocabulary. This change is not a simple increase in the number of words, but reflects a paradigm shift. The change involves not only nouns, but also a large number of verbs and adjectives, which this article calls “modern reconstruction of vocabulary system”. This article argues that the realization of scientific narration based on the consistency of words and texts is the fundamental motivation of language modernization; the reconstruction of Chinese vocabulary system can be basically completed in a short period of time, mainly due to the language contact within the cultural circle of Chinese characters in East Asia, which is also an important driving force for the rapid two character transformation of Chinese vocabulary. This paper gives a bird’s-eye view of the nature, new concepts and new forms of lexicalization, especially the interaction between Chinese and Japanese vocabulary.