From: Marco Cimarosti (email@example.com)
Date: Mon May 19 2003 - 15:51:14 EDT
Andrew C. West wrote:
> I'm not sure. I was consciously using the term "Middle
> Kingdom" that is the traditional translation of
> Zhongguo used since ... since the penetration of
> Zhongguo by the Jesuits in the 16th century I guess
>(no doubt someone will correct me if I'm wrong) ?
I vaguely recall that, originally, "中" (zhong) meant "in, at" (when used as
a postposition) and "internal" (when used as an adjective). It also had the
modern meanings "in the middle" (postposition) and "middle" (adjective), but
they were not the main ones.
But I am afraid that, right now, I can't support this with anything more
that my distant classroom memories, dating nearly 20 years ago...
The only thing that I could find on-line with my rusty Chinese is the last
verse of this a Tang poem (http://www.chinapage.com/tang300.html#Tang044),
where "中" cannot mean "in the middle":
"妾心井*中*水" ("A spirit like water *in* a timeless well")
But this is hardly a demonstration, I guess.
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