It looks like the author wanted to understand the meaning of 美丽 in this context but failed so instead he/she just dumped all his raw research and personal opinions without justifications and deeper analysis.
> Note that, as a rhetorical progression, the five modifiers from "rich and powerful" to "beautiful" become increasingly abstract, with "beautiful" amounting to an unassailable purified truth.
This sentence is not really making sense to me. The 5 adjectives are all abstract, and 美丽 is the less abstract one among them because you normally use it to refer to physically objects.
Also, the discussion on single character vs two characters are pretty much irrelevant to the contextual meaning of the word 美丽 here, because the two character word is used just to make all 5 adjectives have two characters uniformly (more beautiful). If the other 4 adjectives were single character, this word would also be single character. In Chinese, the usage of single vs multiple characters is mostly purely for aesthetics of the written sentence. For example:
真，善，美 (all single characters, looks and sounds nice)
美丽的上海 (adjective and subject are both two characters, looks and sounds nice)
This is a pretty interesting remark, in the eyes of a westerner. Care to comment on it?
While 美丽 can be used to describe physical objects, 美丽 in the Constitution does convey a sense of abstract ideal. Because when someone says 'something is 美丽', the statement is already abstract. The statement says nothing about the physical property of the subject, it simply conveys an ideal that may be interpreted differently by each individual.
But certainly this ideal won't be of the Platonic or Aristotelian sort. In this context, it simply means a country that 'everyone finds enjoyable living in', which is indeed an ideal.
But no, "beautiful" in this context just means prettier physical outlook of buildings. You can't over-interpret it (at least in Chinese).
Good aesthetics, yes, part of '美丽'. But I won't say '美丽' stops short at simply say 'we will build our cities to look pleasing', at least I won't expect the Constitution to be so pragmatic, because it serves as an guide on the ideology (sort of).
You can see the meaning of '美丽' from this sentence '生态环境根本好转，美丽中国目标基本实现' (the ecological environment has fundamentally improved, and the goal of a beautiful China has basically been achieved).
This is the speech Xi delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. It contains this sentence. If you skim the speech, you will find multiple mentions of '美丽', all of them environment related.
The other four words are related to other aspects of policies of China.
富强(prosperous) is related to economy.
民主(democratic) is related to politics.
文明(culturally advanced) is related to culture.
和谐(harmonious) which was added to the constitution by Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao, is related to society.
And 美丽(beautiful) is related to ecology or environment.
富强, 民主, 文明 and 和谐 are the first words of the 'core socialist values' which contain 12 such words and which were laid out at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, when Hu stepped down and Xi become the paramount leader of Communist Party of China.
'Core socialist values' are taught to students from kindergarten to college. And these words of 'core socialist values' are plastered over walls, buildings and flyovers at every cities in China.
However, I beg to differ. Here is the full latest constitution:
As you can see, the paragraph on "beautiful" is just a tiny part of the constitution and the word "beautiful" only appears once throughout the entire constitution. So it is probably not something very "guiding" and "central".
Also, the constitution touches on a lot of aspects of the society, so I wouldn't be surprised if it is amended to include a small mention of the "look" of the physical landscape.
I would say that the word is added just to make sure that the party keep environmental concerns and "good outlook" in mind while working on all the other tasks.
I don't believe abruptly inserting a term that's never mentioned is good writing style.
A plausible way to understand it is that, the concluding remark is a summarizing call-to-action, laying out the spiritual and ideological framework for the rest to act upon. It certainly needs to be abstract, just as the four words preceding 美丽.
Because “beautiful” is a pretty abstract word. It kinda invites to a debate. Don’t you think?
I cannot claim to speak a Chinese language yet (It's on my to-do list, but I'm allergic to effort, and my wife of course has to speak three Chinese languages natively), but I very much agree. It's just a bunch of pointless research, linguistic show-off and opinions on the Communist party (which regardless of their content is entirely out of scope for the analysis). The author should have just scrapped it when they failed to find a conclusion...
Sometimes, there are subtle differences in usage and meaning, but sometimes, I have the impression the author is just showing off their vocabulary.
As someone says on Wordnik: https://www.wordnik.com/words/Sprachgefühl
Sprachgefühl has arguably been brought to light by David Foster Wallace's "snoot" acronym, which stands for either "Sprachgefühl Necessitates Our Ongoing Tendance" or "Syntax Nudniks of Our Time."
It's relatively uncommon/obscure linguistic jargon that has seen its currency appreciate in recent years owing to DFW worship.
I like German as a language, but using German in English always seems so awkward, especially due to drastic, almost comical pronunciation differences. After all, various German words have turned into internet meme's of their own entirely due to how awkward and fun it sounds when said in English contexts ("FLAMMENWERFER. IT WERFS FLAMMEN.").
I think there is a cultural bias behind this, however. The English are not as inclined to learn other languages as is the case in the German-speaking world, and I think this really works in the German-speaking favor. For example, it is very difficult for an English-speaking native to come to Germany and start speaking German - everyone else would rather practice their English instead, meaning that .. the English learn German much slower than the Germans learn English.
So actually, it could be claimed that Sprachgefühl is one of those words that just should come into the English lexicon, and we ought to bloody get on with having a bit more of it, in our English-biased cultures, because it really does increase ones awareness of the world.
'Smoking' is another interesting pseudo-English German word.
Also, the '-ing' part comes from the continent, as well. :)
For example it's almost impossible to properly translate the German word 'Brot' into English. It's a cognate of 'bread', but Germans mean something very different by 'Brot' than the British mean by 'bread'.
Loaning a word ad-hoc is much easier by comparison. Eg Bundeskanzler means exactly the same in English as it does in German. As does Prime Minister.
It's worth pointing out that these are all practical day-to-day words. Perhaps the difference is there, also. Contrast cul-de-sac and ennui.
complicate, fact, rivalry, part, conqueror, native, paragraph, identify, derive
TL;DR can't speak English without also speaking a bunch of French in the process, especially since French words represent all the elite, cultured words (e.g. 'cow' vs. 'beef')
The Norman conquest played a role, especially in language, but the later major power / colonial empire rivalry would have developed regardless of history, just dictated by geography and clashing interests.
Now, sprachgefühl is more abstract (after all, it refers to the "feeling", which while similar is not strictly the same as "preference"), but I'd argue that "preference" is a decent replacement conveying everything that was intended, and the best fit given the English vocabulary. If you find a need to be more explicit, try something along the lines of "opinions on language aesthetics".
"Sprachgefühl" is not a widely accepted loanword (it appears reserved for those that pick their own loanwords to show off their diverse linguistic skills—smartasses, so to speak), and it looks awfully out of place for those of us that understand German.
As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, this is not the case. The word is an accepted loanword in linguistics jargon, and the linked article was written by a linguist mainly for other linguists. This German word was not picked to "show off" anything. Rather, since linguistics in the 20th century involved having to read material in, besides English, at least French and German as well, lots of German loanwords just naturally passed into the jargon of linguists because they seemed apt, not because anyone wanted to impress their peers (for it would hardly seem impressive, one’s peers being able to read German just as well).
A bigger bug bear for me is the English pronunciation of French loanwords like accessoire. (And I do wonder how English speakers actually pronounce Sprachgefuhl. They probably mangle beyond recognition.)
1. Original pronunciation, but entirely different meaning
2. Original meaning, but entirely different pronunciation
3. Neither pronunciation nor meaning has anything to do with the original, but it's still spelled the same.
I like Japanese. They do #2 out of strict necessity due to their very limited sounds, and shorten the result so that we can't easily recognize it (e.g., personal computer -> pasonaru konnputaa -> pasokon).
As for sprachgefühle—I really don't think there is any need for that word. It's doesn't seem to fill a gap, other than an emerging love for German compounds.
美丽 is used to describe a China that has clear water, clear sky, green fields ...
It is not that abstract as described in the article.
Not to derail the train, but it is hard to take anyone serious on the subject of Communism with statements like that. Communism is democracy taken to the extreme with no bosses at work and no classes in society. Historical implements of Communism of course another conversation, but looking at definitions the author is exactly wrong.
To give another example: the Athenians had very different definitions of democracy.
They would probably call our democratic systems of today oligarchies. For them a big part of democracy was given out official positions by lot. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athenian_democracy#Selection_b...)