OALibJ  Vol.6 No.9 , September 2019
The Contrastive Analysis and Translation Studies between English and Chinese under the Theory of Aesthetic Linguistics and Reception Aesthetics—Take English and Chinese Geological Disaster Discourses as Examples
Abstract: As Chinese is parataxis language while English is hypotaxis language, there are many differences between the two languages. Based on the aesthetic linguistics and reception aesthetics, this paper aims to analyze the method of geological disaster news in English and Chinese, explore the similarities and differences of English-Chinese geological disasters from the level of aesthetic features. It will analyze the differences from the micro and macro perspectives and seek to explore the differences in light of national reasons. Moreover, it will put readers first. On this note, we put forward strategies that are practical and accessible between English and Chinese translation in a bid to improve the quality of translation and make it more acceptable.

1. The Importance of Contrastive Analysis between English and Chinese in Translation

Comparison is an important way for human beings to understand the world and one of the basic methods of language research. Through comparison, we can find the differences between English and Chinese in macro and micro aspects. Aesthetic linguistics is a discipline that studies how the rules of beauty construct, and reception aesthetics holds the idea that the beauty of language is determined by the readers. To understand the differences between English and Chinese in the coverage of geological disasters, we can follow the rules of beauty and improve the quality of translation, so as to create popular works.

2. The Aesthetic Choice of Language

2.1. Definition and Research Tasks of Aesthetic Linguistics

In his book, Aesthetic Linguistics―Beauty of Language and Speech, Qian Guan-lian pointed out that “aesthetic linguistics is a discipline that studies the aesthetic attributes of language, daily speech activities and speech acts, as well as the characteristics and rules of both communicative and aesthetic activities. It is the intersection of aesthetics and linguistics.” Therefore, the research object of aesthetic linguistics is the aesthetic attribute of language, the beauty in daily spoken and written speech, the nodes and rules of people’s creation and appreciation of the beauty of speech, and the ugliness of speech (in order to change the ugliness into beauty). The two pillars of aesthetic linguistics are the features and laws of the beauty of speech and the aesthetic choice of language at all levels.

The task of aesthetic linguistics is to clarify how people build their own language system and how individuals build their own language according to the law of beauty. To be specific, it should reveal the universal thoughts of the spoken or written official language activities and speech acts, showing aesthetic values. It reveals the aesthetic choice consciousness and the law of aesthetic choice when constructs the language official system and various parts, and reveals the way and law of language as the carrier of national aesthetic idea. Finally, it should also demonstrate the way and law of forming a harmonious and unified relationship between the microcosm of language and the macrocosm of nature, and reveal people’s aesthetic interference in language (Guan-lian Qian, 2006, p. 3).

2.2. Aesthetic Linguistics and Reception Aesthetics

Aesthetic choice of language refers to the choice made by the language itself when it approaches the appropriateness infinitely in a group of language elements with slight differences, starting from the intention of beauty, in order to achieve the best effect in practical and aesthetic purposes. Aesthetic linguistics explores the law and attribute of beauty. Acceptance aesthetics was born in the 1960s. The publication of Jauss’s Literature History as a Challenge to Literary Theory marked the appearance of acceptance aesthetics as a literary theory. Reception aesthetics, a science of studying readers and reading reception, aims to establish a complete history of literature. In the process, Jauss gradually realized the central position of the reader, so he put forward the idea that in the triangle of the authors, works, and the public, the public is not a passive part, not only as a kind of reaction, on the contrary, it itself is of a dynamic history. The historical life of a literary work is inconceivable without the active participation of the recipient. The aesthetics of reception affirms the initiative of the reader, believing that “a literary work is jointly completed by the author and the reader” (Xiao-yan Liu, Xian-zhu Si, 2017). There are four core points of reception aesthetics: firstly, reception aesthetics emphasizes the absolute position of readers in literature. It holds that the quality of a work depends on the reader, whose position even exceeds that of the author, which makes people’s understanding of literary works not objective and absolute, but subjective and pluralistic. A literary work enriches and develops on the receiving chain from generation to generation, and its aesthetic value is proved in this process. Secondly, the aesthetics of reception affirms the role of readers in reinvention and reconstruction. Jauss believes that the value of a literary work is not endowed by the reader, but created by the reader. Without the aesthetic recreation of the reader, any literary work is at best a mixture of literal symbols and punctuation marks. Thirdly, reception aesthetics puts forward a dynamic perspective of expectation. Expectation horizon is the thinking orientation or present structure formed by readers’ literary reading experience when reading a literary work. The expectation horizon of the reader will change with the scope of cognition. Fourth, the aesthetics of reception holds that meaning comes from reading. Reading produces meaning and is a necessary condition for the birth of literary works.

3. Literature Review on the Contrastive Study between English and Chinese

This part reviews the development of comparative studies of English-Chinese translation at home and abroad in chronological order.

The comparative study of English-Chinese translation has been existed more than 100 years in China. Domestic English-Chinese or Chinese-English language comparison research mainly can be divided into three periods. The first period was mainly from Ma Jianzhong’s MashiWentong [1] and Yan Fu’s English hangu to the end of 1940s. This period was the earliest to study Chinese grammar studies in a comparative method and aimed to build a systematic frame of Chinese grammar, so as to compare the differences between English and Chinese. Remarkable progress had been made during this period. Nevertheless, the main problem lied in copying western grammar and seeking the same rules deliberately. Many scholars advocated to establish the systematic Chinese grammar based on the characteristics of Chinese. Yang Zijian [2] and Li Ruihua [3] commented on the comparative study of the former sages, “although there was the problem of transplantation, it contained careful identification and unique creation, which has made great contributions to the establishment of Chinese linguistics and created the tradition of selecting the good and using it from western cultures”. In this period, Zhao Yuanren [4] , Li Jinxi [5] , Wang Li [6] and Lu Shuxiang [7] all made substantial achievements to the comparison studies between English and Chinese. The second period was from 1940 to 1976, the comparative studies of this period were almost limited to stagnation with few achievements due to a variety of reasons. The beginning of the third period was marked by the punishment of Comparative studies through grammar in 1977, written by Lu Shuxiang. In this period, comparative studies developed rapidly in China. According to statistics, 1374 papers on comparative studies between English and Chinese had been published by the end of June 2001, among which 1353 were published after 1977. During this period, the research mainly focused on the enhancement of subject awareness of the contrastive theory between English and Chinese. It shifted from macro research to micro research and deepened the development of micro research. In addition, it also tended to combine theory with practice. Domestic and foreign theories were introduced and subject awareness of Chinese was enhanced. The main representatives in this period were Liu Chongde [8] , Zhao Shikai [9] , Liu Miqing [10] and Yang Zijian.

At abroad, comparative linguistics [11] was regarded as a discipline in the 20th century. It mainly originated from Europe and the United States. Strictly speaking, comparative studies might date back to the late 19th century when Charles H. Grandgent made a comparison of English, German and French phonetics in 1894. In 1894, Wilhelm Viet compared German, English and French phonetics. At the beginning of the 20th century, Paul Passy compared major European languages, and Malthesin compared English and Czech in 1926. Zhao Yuanren [12] was the first person to truly compare English and Chinese in foreign countries. In 1933, he wrote an article comparing Chinese and English intonation. However, the first one to use the term “comparative linguistics” was Beniamin Lee Whorf [13] from the United States in 1941. Later, Robert Lado Charles D. Fries and Di Pietros all made contributions to comparative studies. After the second world war, the linguist Fries proposed the idea of comparative teaching in his book on Teaching English as a foreign Language (1945) [14] . In 1957, Lado published Linguistics across Cultures [15] based on Fries’s idea, which was regarded as a milestone in the study of language comparison. In the book, Lado put forward a series of specific analysis methods, including how to compare phonetic, grammatical, lexical, literal and cultural systems. In the same year, Charles D. Fries published Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language, which was also widely recognized as the same book as intercultural linguistics.

4. Discourse Analysis and Translation Strategies of Geological Disasters in English and Chinese

The aesthetic choice of language mainly includes the aesthetic choice of signs, channels, language variants, styles, communicative types, speech acts and texts. Based on the seven aspects above, this paper compares geological disasters texts in English and Chinese and puts forward three feasible strategies.

4.1. Appropriate Increase of Non-Verbal Expression

The non-verbal expression in news report includes pictures, videos and so on. Foreign journals in English usually use some non-verbal expressions when reporting, such as pictures and video, which are more intuitive. When reporting geological disasters, most of the corpus in English and Chinese collected by the author are accompanied by pictures. Therefore, non-verbal expression can be appropriately added in translation. For example, the first Chinese corpus contains pictures of firefighters fighting a fire in Liangshan, from which we can clearly see the burned wood with smoke pervading and firefighters are struggling to put out the fire. It is not difficult to imagine how big the fire is and how fast it is spreading. The second English corpus included pictures of flooded roads and villages and the disaster situation and surging trend of the flood showed incisively and vividly. The third Chinese corpus only demonstrates the location and longitude of the earthquake while the third English corpus attached to the earthquake disaster pictures and pictures of the people, their eyes and expression, which are very intuitive. When it comes to disasters occurring in the country, the country will add a lot of declarative language and specific details when reporting. While other countries report the event objectively, they cannot convey the sadness after the disaster. Therefore, when reporting geological disasters, appropriate increase of non-verbal expression can effectively convey information and achieve the effect of discourse beauty, which is more likely to be accepted by readers.

4.2. Appropriate Addition of Emotional Expression Rather than Full Information Transmission

When reporting geological disasters, we first report the time, place and disaster range of the event, the number of casualties and the pictures of the disaster in English discourses. We usually report the time, place and disaster of the event in Chinese discourses, and then analyze the causes of the disaster and the countermeasures taken by relevant departments. English texts focus on the sad atmosphere and people’s painful feelings after the disaster, while Chinese texts focus on the post-disaster pain and relevant solutions and countermeasures. For example, in the second English corpus, the report uses the phrases “around the clock”, which is very visual. In addition, the neighbors whose house is flooded but they are unwilling to leave for fear that their home is robbed. Such psychological thought will resonate with the reader immediately, thus conveying an air of sadness and pain after the disaster and increasing the empathy from the readers. However, in the second Chinese corpus, it only reports the time, location and the consequences of the disaster, and the readers only know that a disaster has occurred in a certain place, but it cannot raise any feeling of empathy and sadness. Therefore, in the Chinese-English translation of geological disasters, emotional words should be appropriately added instead of all information transmission, so as to achieve a beautiful effect and make readers more receptive.

4.3. Choosing Acceptable and Visual Expressions in the Target Language

There are many differences between English and Chinese in the textual analysis of geological disasters. In order to achieve the beauty in news report between English and Chinese, we should know how the beauty constructs and how the differences are. Therefore, many popular works can be created from the perspective of aesthetic linguistics and reception aesthetics.

Phonetically speaking, English is often stressed to achieve the effect of beautiful pronunciation. In Chinese, Yin, Yang, Dun and Cuo (the four Chinese intonations) of tones are often used to reflect the beauty of pronunciation. For example, in the first article, the forest fire occurred in Liangshan. In English, stress is often used to emphasize the core parts, such as nouns, verbs and other content words, and articles, conjunctions and other unimportant function words are weakened.

In terms of vocabulary, English discourses tend to use nouns and adjectives in a static way. However, Chinese text uses many verbs and shows the characteristics of dynamic state. This is mainly related to the language differences between English and Chinese. Such as the corpus of the first English passage, the word “struggling” that mentioned in firefighters putting out the fire is very visualization. It is very visualization, which can embody the picture. The word “hit” was used in the fourth part of the text. It immediately showed the unpredictability of the earthquake and the harm of the earthquake incisively and vividly. Therefore, in the Chinese-English translation of geological disasters, we should use more visualized expressions to achieve aesthetic results.

Grammatically speaking, synthesis and derivation are often used in word formation in English texts. For example, “ill-informed and ill-timed” used in forest fires in the sixth English text, which are very vivid and three-dimensional, vividly demonstrating the unpredictability of forest fires. Chinese uses more derivatives. In English discourse, it often used attributive clause, passive voice, appositive and superlative degree. In Chinese, simple sentences are often used, which are explained in sequence according to the cause and effect of the event. Therefore, in English-Chinese translation, appropriate expressions should be selected according to the linguistic rules and syntactic features of the target language, so as to achieve the purpose of communication and make the language conform to the beauty of language and the reader-based beauty.

In terms of sentence pattern, English uses long and complex sentences, which are logical and clear. In Chinese, simple sentences are often used in order of time or cause and effect. Therefore, we should pay attention to the differences between English and Chinese sentence patterns in the translation of geological disaster discourses and many translation works, so as to achieve the effect of discourse beauty.

5. Conclusion

This paper first explains the importance of contrastive analysis between English and Chinese and summarizes the history of contrastive analysis, then compares the differences of English-Chinese geological disasters in seven aspects from the perspective of aesthetic linguistics and aesthetics reception. Therefore, the author puts forward three feasible translation strategies to eliminate the English-Chinese translation of Chinglish and Englichin, and aims to create translation works that are popular among readers. In the final analysis, it not only achieves the beauty of language but also enhances cultural communications among different countries.


First and foremost, I would like to show my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Dong Mei, a respectable, responsible and resourceful scholar, who has provided me with valuable guidance. This paper is a final paper under Dr. Dong Mei’s guidance in her class―The Contrastive Analysis between English and Chinese. I shall also extend my thanks to another supervisor, Pr. Yuan Sen, for all his kindness and help. At last, I would also like to thank all my classmates and teachers who have helped me to provide the corpus and develop the fundamental and essential academic competence.

Appendix 1: The Corpus of English and Chinese Geological Disaster News

2. 近期洪涝灾害致使云南6.5万人受灾









12月25日,印尼万丹省丹戎勒松度假村遭海啸袭击后一片狼藉。印度尼西亚抗灾署25日通报说,印尼西部巽他海峡22日晚发生的海啸已造成429人遇难,另有超过1.6万人撤离。搜救工作正在紧张进行。新华社记者 张可任摄。




6. California wildfires kill 25 and destroy entire town

The death toll in wildfires raging across California rose to at least 25 over the weekend as three sprawling blazes burnt homes and property, forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed an entire town.

The state is battling major fires at both ends. In northern California, the Camp Fire in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada has become the most destructive fire and the third deadliest in the state’s history.

At least 23 people have died, according to the Butte County sheriff’s office, many in the town of Paradise, which has born the heaviest damage in a fire that has consumed more than 100,000 acres. More than 6700 buildings have been burnt and the state has spent more than $8.1 m fighting the blaze, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told the Associated Press.

Hundreds of miles south, two people have died in the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles, according to the LA County sheriff’s office. That fire, along with the Hill Fire in nearby Ventura County, has burned more than 80,000 acres and led to the closure of Highway 101, a major route along the coast.

More than 200,000 Californians have been forced to evacuate their homes, according to AP, including Hollywood celebrities fleeing the mansions of Malibu and residents of Thousand Oaks, the site of a deadly mass shooting last week.

The frequency and intensity of California’s wildfires have increased in recent years, spurred by drought and higher temperatures―A pattern emerging elsewhere in the world as climate change acts as an “accelerant”, according to scientists. California has seen the two largest fires in its history in the past 12 months.

State officials warned that high winds on Sunday and Monday would fuel the blazes, making containment efforts difficult and potentially helping the damage spread.

Gavin Newsom, California’s lieutenant-governor, has declared a state of emergency in the affected counties and requested a federal declaration of emergency that would provide financial assistance from Washington.

President Donald Trump approved the federal aid, but also lashed out at the state over its forest management policies and threatened to cut off funding.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” the president tweeted on Saturday.

He later sent additional tweets expressing sympathy with victims of the fires and firefighters.

The head of California’s firefighters union hit back, calling Mr Trump’s threat to curb federal funds a “shameful attack”.

“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” said Brian Rice, president of California Professional Firefighters.

“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography,” he said.







中国日报网8月18日电(信莲)8月16日,美国南加州圣贝纳迪诺郡爆发山林大火,到17日,这场被命名为蓝刻(Blue Cut)的山火已延烧了超过120平方千米,8万余人被紧急疏散。此外,还有约3.45万栋建筑物遭火势威胁。8月16日,加利福尼亚州州长杰里布朗宣布该州进入紧急状态。







7. Super typhoon hits China after leaving 25 dead in Philippines

Super typhoon Mangkhut hit the Chinese mainland on Sunday after leaving at least 25 people dead in the Philippines. The storm gained strength over the South China Sea after striking the Philippines on Saturday, with winds rising to 200 km per hour and water surging as much as 3.5 m in Hong Kong.

Francis Tolentino, an adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, told the FT in a telephone interview that most of the deaths were landslide-rated, and took place in remote, isolated areas. One person died while chopping off branches from trees damaged in the storm, he said.

“In the direct path of the typhoon, there were zero casualties,” Mr Tolentino said. However, he said, casualties had been caused by landslides “in mountainous areas, due to erosion and water saturation”.

Mr Tolentino said authorities were searching for another 11 missing people.

The Philippine news website Rappler said at least 30 people had died, citing reports from police and local authorities.

The typhoon made landfall in China late Sunday morning, forcing an almost complete shutdown of several mega-cities, including Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai. Most flights in and out of Hong Kong and nearby Shenzhen were cancelled on Sunday.

In a historic first, Macau’s famed casinos were ordered to close on Saturday night and remain shut until city authorities give the all-clear.

The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said early on Sunday that 250,000 people in that country had been affected by the storm.

It said more than 250 domestic and international flights had been grounded due to bad weather and 141 areas in the affected regions had experienced power outages. It said nearly 800 boats and more than 4200 passengers in different parts of the Philippines had been stranded by the storm.

Mr Duterte expressed condolences for families of the victims of the storm, and held a press briefing alongside Amee Marcos, the daughter of the late dictator and governor of the province of Ilocos Norte, one of the provinces hit by the typhoon.

Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council, said on Saturday that two first responders had died in a landslide. However, the NDRRC retracted the claim on Sunday, saying there were “no actual victims of landslide” in the case, as previously claimed.

The Philippine meteorological agency Pagasa said the storm, which the US Navy earlier this week classified as a super typhoon, had weakened slightly on Saturday as it moved in a west northwesterly direction.

Thousands of people were evacuated from areas in the mostly agricultural north-west of the Philippines this week ahead of the typhoon, which Filipinos had worried might wreak damage on the scale of Typhoon Haiyan, the country’s deadliest storm on record, which killed at least 6000 people in 2013.


新华社马尼拉9月17日电(记者郑昕 袁梦晨)菲律宾警方17日发布消息,台风“山竹”在菲律宾造成的死亡人数已上升到66人,另有52人失踪。






8. Death toll rises to 88 as floods hit Japan

At least 88 people have been killed and millions forced to evacuate their homes after floods swept through western Japan.

Fifty-eight people were still missing on Monday morning, according to state broadcaster NHK, after the death toll rose at an alarming pace over the weekend.

More than 8 m people had been ordered or urged to evacuate their homes and authorities had dispatched some 54,000 staff from the military, coast guard, police and fire departments to assist with the rescue effort, according to Japanese media.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) had issued its highest level of warning for several prefectures, with some areas reporting three times the average rainfall for July.


新华社东京7月13日电(记者王可佳 姜俏梅)本月5日起发生的日本暴雨灾害目前已造成203人死亡,数十人下落不明,多地交通瘫痪、自来水供应中断,灾害造成的影响仍在继续。






9. Heavy flooding kills more than 1000 in South Asia

More than 1000 people are believed to have been killed in severe flooding that has swept the South Asian subcontinent, from the business hub of Mumbai to the Himalayan nation of Nepal. In Mumbai on Tuesday, train services ground to a halt as cars and pedestrians pushed through waist-deepwater, while flooding forced the partial evacuation of the city’s largest public hospital.

The city’s worst flooding since2005 was the latest phase of a natural calamity that has gathered pace over the past fortnight, with heavy monsoon rains affecting much of South Asia. More than 500 people were killed in the impoverished eastern Indian state of Bihar, its government said this week. Bihar’s agrarian economy has been hit severely by water damage to crops and thousands of people have been forced to abandon their homes. “People didn’t have much time to get out,” said Hanna Butler at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRCRC), who has been studying the damage in Bihar. “More traditional homes have been wiped out and concrete homes have also been ripped from their foundations.”A further 247 died in flooding that began last month in the western state of Gujarat, the heartland of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to state officials. The government of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, estimates that 103 more died in flooding there. The spread of the crisis to Mumbai, home to more than 12m people and many of India’s leading businesses, follows warnings about the city authorities’ failure to invest in water infrastructure.

In a city built largely on reclaimed land, there are insufficient buffer zones to allow for rising river levels, according to Godfrey Pimenta, a lawyer and environmental activist. The problem is exacerbated by pollution that clogs the city’s waterways, raising the risk of flooding. With recent flooding in Texas drawing the world’s attention, aid groups have appealed to potential donors in rich nations not to overlook the crisis in South Asia. In Nepal, more than 150 people died, according to media reports citing a home ministry statement. In Bangladesh, the IFRCRC estimated that more than 140 people were killed, with almost 700,000 houses damaged or destroyed.






10. Mexico hit by 8.2 magnitude quake

Mexico has been hit by its biggest earthquake in nearly a century, triggering tsunami warnings across much of Central America’s western coast.

The size of the quake off its south-west coast near its border with Guatemala varied in initial estimates but President Enrique Peña Nieto said it had a magnitude of 8.2.

The quake was felt powerfully in Mexico City, where the golden Angel of Independence―one of the city’s most emblematic landmarks―swayed precariously along with lampposts.

The warning of a potential tsunami threat was issued by the US Tsunami Warning System and covers Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

Mr Peña Nieto said that the quake had been “intense, prolonged and very strong”, and noted 42 aftershocks had been registered and more were likely.

“This is the strongest earthquake we have registered in at least the last 100 years,” the president said in a message from the National Disasater Prevention Centre. He confirmed five people had been reported dead but said it was too early to quantify damage.













Cite this paper: Yuan, S. and Huang, C. (2019) The Contrastive Analysis and Translation Studies between English and Chinese under the Theory of Aesthetic Linguistics and Reception Aesthetics—Take English and Chinese Geological Disaster Discourses as Examples. Open Access Library Journal, 6, 1-21. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1105708.

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