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  • Let me tell you guys a story. Once upon a time, there was a … let’s call it a state.


  • It was a area, about here, all ruled by a group of people referred to as theZhou,”


  • and as such the name of this state was alsoZhou.” Now, this might seem pretty strange


  • to us, kind of like calling the United StatesObamabecause that’s the last name


  • of the guy in charge, but keep in mind this area might not have originally had any common


  • identity besides that they were all ruled by the Zhou dynasty. They probably spoke different


  • languages and had different cultures, but we can’t really know that for sure because


  • they didn’t write anything down. The only people who wrote stuff down were the rich,


  • educated elites, which is to say the Zhou themselves, who definitely did share a common

    可以留下歷史紀錄, 那也就是使用同一文字與文化的周人

  • language and culture. Somewhat annoyingly, they didn’t have a real name for their language


  • besides justthe proper way to speak.” Now, there was a geographical term I should

    僅用「雅言」稱之。 在這裡我想提一個地理名詞「中國」

  • probably mention, “zhongguo.” This term was sometimes used to describe this country,


  • region, place, but all it ment wascentral state.” Or possiblycentral states,”

    區域或地方, 但其義僅是「位在中央的國家」或是國家「們」

  • because this language doesn’t require you to specify whether things are singular or


  • plural, but the point is, “zhongguowas never a precise word, it was always just a


  • kind of vague geographical description. It was a common assumption at the time that the

    它僅模糊地描述地域。 那個時候人們時常認為

  • center of the world was maximally civilized and that the further away you got from it


  • the less civilized the people were, sozhongguoliterally mentthe middle realm,” but

    則越多未開化之人, 所以中國僅指「這範圍的中央」

  • impliedthe most civilized realm.” It’s kind of like how in the US we sometimes call

    但意味著「最開化的地方」, 有點像是我們稱美國總統是

  • the president theleader of the free world”. Do any of us actually have any idea what is

    「自由世界的領導人」。 什麼地方是或不是「自由世界」

  • and isn’t part of thefree world”? Definitely the US, probably the rest of NATO,

    究竟有沒有定義? 美國顯然是,北約的其他地方也許是,

  • and maybeallies of the USin general? Is Mexico part of the free world? Turkey?

    與美國交好的地區大概也是? 那墨西哥是嗎?土耳其呢?印度呢?

  • India? No one knows, and no one really cares, it’s not supposed to mean anything, it’s


  • just a way of sayingour leader is super important and powerful, and also were better

    僅僅意味著 「我們的領導人很重要、很強,也比你優秀」

  • than you.” Same goes forZhongguo.” Anyway, eventually the Zhou lost power to

    同理,中國也是如此。 說到這裡,周最後被秦推翻

  • a new dynasty called the Qin, which itself was quickly replaced by the Han dynasty, and


  • so people started calling the political territory itselfHanjust like with the Zhou.


  • The Han dynasty adopted the culture of the Zhou, and over time this culture of the elite


  • trickled down to everyone else, and eventually everyone was speaking this language that didn’t


  • have a name in this country that didn’t have a name. The Han dynasty also expanded


  • the country to the south, spreading the language and culture there too. But after that, when


  • the Han dynasty fell and the region broke up into a bunch of smaller states, something

    但那之後漢朝分裂為許多小國家時 (三國至魏晉南北朝)

  • interesting happened. Even though they were politically divided they all still shared


  • that common culture of the elites from the Zhou and Han periods. They looked back on


  • the time when the Han dynasty ruled as a sort of golden age, and they saw themselves as


  • the rightful descendants of that cultural legacy, so it seemed natural to call themselves


  • the people of Han,” even long after the Han state ceased to exist. They still call


  • themselvesHanto this day, although who exactly counts as Han has always been


  • kind of vague. Like, originally it seems like the term just referred to the people of the


  • original territory of the Zhou to the north, but eventually the term was expanded to include


  • the people of the more mountainous south, sense they had also adopted Han culture after


  • being conquered by the Han dynasty. So yeah, as the centuries went by the people


  • of this region continued to refer to political entities by the families of their rulers or


  • whatever region the rules came from, and they continued to refer themselves Han. However,


  • the language slowly diverged into a whole bunch of different languages.


  • Now, as you might have noticed, I’ve been talking about what in the west we generally

    講到這裡,你也許注意到了 我剛才所提的都是西方世界稱之為「China」的這個國家

  • callChina,” and yet, I’ve managed to do so without ever once actually using


  • the wordChinaorChinese.” That’s because no one in this region actually uses


  • those words. The wordChinaprobably comes from a Persian word which probably comes


  • from a Sanskrit word which might have come from the wordQin,” the name of that


  • super-short dynasty that came between the Zhou and Han dynasties. But not only isn’t


  • China” a word Chinese people use, but the entire idea ofChinamight not have

    但不僅是中國人不用中國一詞, 整個「中國」的現代概念

  • really existed in it’s modern form until Europeans introduced it. Like, in the US and

    甚至在與西方文化交流前是不存在的。 在美國或其他西方文化中

  • the western world more generally we like to think in terms of nation states. Like, this


  • country is France. French people live here, and they speak French. We have this instinct


  • that political regimes, cultural identity and language should all line up with each


  • other geographically to create what we might call a “nation.” But that way of thinking


  • used to be pretty foreign to China until contact with Europeans really got serious in the 1800s,


  • at which point the Han people started thinking much more in terms of this nation-state model.


  • Well, at least, I think? Ok look, talking about a single person’s sense of identity

    唔,我想至少如此吧? 畢竟談論一個人對團體的認同意識

  • and group membership can be really complicated. Talking about that but generalized for a large


  • population is extremely tricky. Talking about that but over the course of two thousand years


  • is simply beyond the scope of this video. But from where I’m sitting it looks a awful


  • lot like the European nation-state concept at the very least substantially influence


  • the way Chinese people think about themselves. Before they were Han people who lived in the

    中國人的自我認同。 在之前,他們是清朝統御下的漢人

  • Qing state which happened to include Zhonguo and who spoke a whole bunch of different languages


  • descended from Middle Chinese, but with more and more contact with Europeans they started


  • thinking in terms ofChina” (Zhonguo) “Chinese people” (the Han) and theChinese

    回過頭來思考「China」(中國)、「漢人」 和「中國人講的話」的意義

  • Language,” for which they coined a whole new term: Han-yu, literally justHan Language,”

    這「中國人講的話」他們發明了一個新詞:「漢語」, 字面上來看是漢人的語言

  • which doesn’t really make any sense, because the Han people haven’t spoken a single mutually-intelligible

    這其實毫無邏輯, 因為漢人不使用同一種可互相溝通的語言

  • language in hundreds of years. As far as I can tell the phraseHan-yubasically


  • refers to any of the languages the Han people speak, which is less of a language and more


  • of a language family. Only one of these modern languages is officially used by the government


  • of China, and that’s the one that evolved in the capital, Beijing. A century ago this


  • language was calledguanhuaorthe language of officials,” but, somewhat hilariously,


  • today the official name for it isputonghuaorcommon language.” Like, in the 1950s


  • after the Communist party took over there were calls to use a different official language


  • because guanhua was too bourgeois or whatever, but they couldn’t agree on what exactly


  • to replace it with so they just slapped a new proletariat-y label on it and hoped no

    所以他們就乾脆用一個比較無產階級的名字替換, 希望沒人發現

  • one would notice. In English we call itMandarinbecause the Malay word forgovernment official

    而英文的 Mandarin, 則是源自於馬來話的「官方(mantri)」

  • wasmantriand the Chinese were calling itthe language of government officials


  • so we just started using thatby translating it into Malay first, I guess… I’m honestly

    所以我們就開始使用這個…… 我猜先是翻譯成馬來文的詞彙

  • not really sure what happened here. But yeah, it’s not like the idea of the

    坦白說我不太確定這裡究竟發生了什麼事。 (譯註:因葡萄牙人曾以馬來半島作為樞紐)

  • nation state was perfect to begin with, but it’s an especially awkward fit on China.

    中國的國家概念可能與我們認知的不太一樣, 但卻弔詭地符合這個國家的風格

  • A big thing I didn’t mention was how there are currently two different countries claiming

    這裡還得提及一件重要的事 目前有兩個不同的國家

  • the title ofZhonguo,” and there’s also some city states which are kind-of-sort-of


  • part of the country but not really, but plenty of other people have made videos about that

    雖為中國一部分,卻又不完全是 關於這部份可以看看其他人的影片

  • so I’m gonna stop here.


Let me tell you guys a story. Once upon a time, there was a … let’s call it a state.



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