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Eileen Chang trans. “The Golden Cangue”

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 270
  • Category: Semiotics

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Comparing Chinese and English versions in terms of Semiotics This essay is to analyze the semiotics used in Chinese and English versions of “The Golden Cangue” Semiotics is the study of signs, indication, metaphor, symbolism etc.

“The Golden Cangue” is a story of the main character Tsao Chi Chiao as Second Mistress in the Chiangs. She was looked down upon because of her family background and being unhappy in Chiangs for thirty years. For example 三十年前的月亮是歡愉的 “the moon of thirty years ago was gay.”, “月亮” symbolizes family of Chiangs, while “歡愉” symbolizes their lives are in harmony and peace. Comparing with 隔著三十年的辛苦路望回去,再好的月色也不免帶點淒涼 “But seen after thirty years on a rough road, the best of moons is apt to be tinged with sadness.”. “辛苦路” symbolizes how Chi Chiao gone mad living in Chiangs and her life turned into a tragedy through the word “淒涼”

Another example, 龍生龍, 鳳生鳳 “Dragons breed dragons, phoenixes breed phoenixes.” In Chinese mythology, Dragon is the highest-ranking animal in the Chinese animal hierarchy. It is closely related to emperor, power and majesty; while Phoenix is the feminine counterpart to the Dragon which has a lower position. Here, “龍” implies the Eldest Mistress of Chiangs who came from a titled family and “鳳” implies Chi Chiao, the Second Mistress, as she just came from a family which owned a sesame oil shop and being looked down upon, cannot compare with Eldest Mistress.

In conclusion, the author use semiotics in both the Chinese and English version, it doesn’t hinder the coherent of the story. It increases the attractiveness to readers through making logical guess.

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