Language Evolution: Tracing the Transformation of Chinese Society through its Lexicon

Immerse yourself in an insightful exploration of the dynamic evolution of the Chinese language and discover how shifts in lexicon mirror the changing face of Chinese society.

This talk will take you on a remarkable journey through time, tracing the transformation of one of the world’s oldest and most complex languages, providing a unique lens into the socio-cultural evolution of China. We’ll delve into the fascinating transition of Chinese language, from the earliest oracle bone scripts to the modern Simplified Chinese, exploring the profound influence of social, cultural, and technological changes on the language’s development. Learn how new words and phrases have emerged, reflecting shifts in societal values, technological advancements, and global influences. 

This talk will also shed light on the rise of Internet slang and buzzwords, showcasing the powerful influence of digital culture on the language. These vibrant new expressions paint a vivid picture of a society in flux, one that is simultaneously rooted in ancient tradition and forging ahead into the future.

Please, note:

  • the total duration of the event is 1h (~50 mins lecture and 10mins Q&A)
  • the talk doesn’t require any prior training and anyone can join
  • This event will be recorded: the video will be available in 3-5 days after the talk
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Catherine Xiang
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Catherine Xiang (MEd, PhD) is an established author and applied linguist with rich experience in the higher education as well as high profile consultancy industry to businesses that wish to engage with China. She is Coordinator of East Asian Languages at LSE, Programme Director for BSc International Relations and Chinese; as well as UK Director for LSE Confucius Institute for Business London. Originally from Shanghai, she is skilled in intercultural communication, translation, foreign languages, lecturing, TV and public speaking. She is also an expert in learning and innovation in language learning. Her recent publications include ‘Mastering Chinese a Complete Textbook for Beginners’, ‘Audio-visual Media in Language Education and the forthcoming ‘China Ready. Chinese for Tourism and Hospitality’. In addition to her roles at LSE, she is an executive member of the British Chinese Language Teaching Society, a school governor and chief examiner of Charted Institute of Linguists. She has recently launched her own YouTube channel ­— ‘字espresso’ teaching the relationship between Chinese characters and words:

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