- All Best Essays, Term Papers and Book Report

Study the Function of Language

Essay by   •  May 30, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,208 Words (9 Pages)  •  2,105 Views

Essay Preview: Study the Function of Language

Report this essay
Page 1 of 9

INTRODUCTION: A number is a mathematical object which is widely used in our daily life for many different applications. We study the function of language under a specific context. In this paper I will discuss the quality of usage which numbers play in the Chinese language and the English language.

Humans have a long recorded use of a number system. In fact dating back to around 35, 000 BCE, our ancestors would mark bones and other materials as an instrument for memorizing elapsed time or for calculations of quantity.

A good example of primitive number use is illustrated in the movie Robinson Crusoe. The leading character draws lines on wood to illustrate how humans can learn to use numbers, but although our number systems seem basic we give numbers many meanings.

DATA: This paper begins by looking at the secondary meanings for numbers in Chinese and English.

The number one distinguishes itself as the beginning, the first, from which all other numbers follow, yet it refers in meaning to a union. A modern topic of politics in China is the recognition of national unification, especially concerning Taiwan. Another example which elaborates how important uniformity is for a county, is in the designation of the name for The United States of America, which is a union of 50 federated states.

In a competitive society, that focuses towards an ideology of competition, people struggle to be number one. You either win or loose in a 'zero sum game'. To get second or third place is often not good enough unless an additional prize is given. To be number one is often enough of a prize in any competition.

The number three, in the history of Asian numeric metaphysics and cosmology, is the combination of heaven, earth and being human. The number three is considered to maintain the harmony in the universe. Similarly, in the west, three is considered very important in the Christian faith. It is called the 'trinity.' It constitutes the entity of the father, the son and the holy spirit. The three become one divine being or godhead. Counting in three is common in situations when people wish to express an action in synchrony.

Parents often use this strategy to stop their kids from doing some inappropriate behaviors. In Chinese, three has the meaning of little. In the history, " The three-inch golden lotus" culturally means to bind foot within three -inch, so they look quite small .

The number seven is most important because we all live in a 7 day week, but we find that the number seven participates in wide range of our life: seven days a week, seven virtues, seven deadly sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust envy, and gluttony.) Sunday, or the seventh day, is regarded as Sabbath, because in the Christian Bible god created the Earth in six days and then rested on the seventh. According to Hinduism, there are seven worlds in the universe. There are seven great seas in the world.

Seven is a lucky and happy number. Seven is the sum of the ying and yang plus the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth which were held by the ancients to describe interactions and relationships between phenomena) in the tradition of Chinese metaphysics. Seven also a status of harmony, which refers to " energy of life" and " morality". Seven has a keen relationship with kindness and beauty, and it has role in giving auspicious implication. Seven is regarded as a representation which indicates the combination of the natural science and humanities.

The number nine is both an interesting composite number and a lucky number. In baseball there are nine innings in a game. The phrase Cloud 9 is used to describe extreme happiness, and is used as a brand name for a chocolate coated nut bar made by the Universal Robina Corporation. Nine is also used to calculate a logarithmic measure of probability of an event, where the negative of the base-10 logarithm is the probability of the event's complement. In Chinese culture, nine does not only mean nine times, but also denotes several times. For instance, the nine bending streams of yellow river does not really mean that it contains nine bends. It means that it has many bends. The phrase 'a narrow escape', in Chinese, 'jiu si yi sheng', cannot only be interpreted as someone who died nine times, but can be regarded as someone undertook many hardships. Nine is a homonym in Chinese for 'long lasting'.

In my opinion, these could be the reasons why people have stronger inclinations to use the number nine so frequently in their daily life. Being the greatest of single-digit numbers, nine is historically associated with the Emperor of China and represented by the Forbidden City in Beijing. In addition the Emperor's robes often has nine dragons.

The number thirteen: Apart from the lucky numbers, there is another kind of number, the unfavorable or unlucky number. During the Last supper, Jesus Christ shared the final meal with his twelve disciples, and one of his apostles betrayed him, Judas Iscariot. Because of this story, it is said that if there are thirteen people having a meal together. Westerners always try to avoid anything related to thirteen, There should not be thirteen dishes served at dinner or a thirteenth floor on a building. Friday the 13th has been considered to be a most unfortunate day.

Another theory states that the number thirteen is unlucky, because when in the years where there were thirteen full moons instead of twelve, it made it difficult for the monks who were in charge of the calendars. Besides these reasons, the Chinese people connect this number with some local dialects, accusing anyone to be "a thirteen" means that one is ignorant. However the meaning can be used as neutral term to describe something that is beyond understanding.

The number six is the luckiest number at the bottom of the heart of the Chinese people. Six plays a significant role to demonstrate the meaning of smooth going. Auspicious occasions are always selected for in regards to the period of time with the number six. Car owner are more willing to choose the number six. People often try and find coincidences



Download as:   txt (12 Kb)   pdf (111.2 Kb)   docx (10.2 Kb)  
Continue for 8 more pages »
Only available on