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Is Anger HEAT or QI in Chinese?

A Historical Perspective

Tung-chu Chen
National Taiwan Norman University

Resorting to Chinese philosophical and medical classics, this study explores the most general
conceptual metaphor in the metaphorical system of anger in Chinese. QI, instead of HEAT, is the
central metaphor in Chinese. From a historical viewpoint, qi used to refer to anger has nothing to do
with heated gas or vapour but the essence that exists and circulates through the body. The
conceptualization of qi causing anger or anger causing the hyperactivity of qi can be traced back to
Warrior States (403-221 B.C.). It is affirmative that the physiological effects of qi serve as the
underlying cultural model for the metaphorical system of anger. The cultural model exerts influence on
language, which develops a large number of anger expressions associated with the lexeme qi in Han
Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). Diachronically, the sources of these two metaphors QI and FIRE are not
two subversions of ANGER IS HEAT. It is the central metaphor ANGER IS QI that dominates the
metaphorical use for anger expressions. The discourses drawn from Chinese classics distributed
chronologically demonstrate that the compounds related to the lexeme qi are very productive. The
compounds have undergone semantic extension and are referred to as metaphorical anger. In sum, the
concept of qi plays a crucial role in the expressions of anger. The lexeme qi and the compounds related
to qi indicating anger in contemporary Chinese are deeply rooted in Chinese conceptual system.

Key words: anger, qi, heat, metaphorical system, conceptual metaphor, cultural model

1. Introduction
Lakoff and Kövecses (1983, 1987) propose that the physiological effects of anger
such as body heat and internal pressure serve as the underlying cultural model for the
metaphorical system of anger in English in which anger is characterized by the most
general conceptual metaphor ANGER IS HEAT1 (Kövecses 1986, 1990, 2000). The
metaphor ANGER IS HEAT has two subversions: ANGER IS THE HEAT OF A
FLUID and ANGER IS FIRE. In this metaphorical system, there are a large number
of anger expressions. For example, ‘You make my blood boil’ and ‘I have reached the
boiling point’ tie to THE HEAT OF A FLUID. ‘Those are inflammatory remarks’ and
‘She was doing a slow burn’ tie to the FIRE metaphor. These are all conventionalized
English anger expressions to describe a person who is angry.
Later, many studies have been conducted on Chinese anger expressions by making
use of the methodology proposed by Kövecses and his associates in 1980s. Shyu
(1989) and Cheng (1999) still treat the physiological effect of anger, body heat, as the
underlying cultural model for the metaphorical system of Chinese anger expressions,
in which ANGER IS HEAT is still the most general conceptual metaphor. What’s
difference is that in Shyu’s categorization, she first introduces the concept of 氣 qi

1
Capital letters stand for the metaphorical concepts.

1

4 In a survey of classical linguistic data. Qi is translated as ‘air’ by Shyu and then the two subversions of HEAT become ANGER IS THE HEATING OF 氣 QI ‘AIR’3 and ANGER IS FIRE.‘air’2 into the metaphorical system.’ ANGER IS FIRE 他發火 ta fa huo ‘He emitted fire. the HEAT metaphor is still the most general conceptual metaphor in Chinese. 先秦 pre-Qin. Yu also identifies the central metaphor ANGER IS HEAT which has two subversions ANGER IS THE HOT 氣 QI ‘GAS’ and ANGER IS FIRE.’ 我心中有氣 wo xin zhong you qi ‘I have an air (anger) in my heart. 3 The lexeme 氣 qi in classical Chinese encompasses various definitions: a form of energy. Yu proposes that the heated 氣 qi ‘air’ or ‘gas’ is formed by the yang-energy. It is noticed that Shyu translates 氣 qi as ‘air’ whereas Yu translates 氣 qi as ‘gas. in this metaphorical system.” Yu would translate it as ‘I have an gas (anger) in my heart. Shyu would translate the sentence 我心中有氣 wo xin zhong you qi as ‘I have an air (anger) in my heart. 陰 yin and 陽 yang are two opposite forms of 氣 qi ‘energy’ existing and flowing in all things in the universe.’ They refer to the same thing in contemporary meanings. To sum.’ 他冒火 ta mao huo ‘He spouted fire. while English chooses FLUID and FIRE metaphors.’ Yu’s (1998) analysis concerns the common cultural theories for Chinese anger expressions. Chinese uses 氣 QI ‘AIR’ and FIRE metaphors. The translation is enclosed with either “” or ‘’: “” for discourse and ‘’ for phrase or word.’ 我很火 wo hen huo ‘I become fiery. Yu’s two subversions are the same as Shyu’s. and the force of life. essence of the body. ANGER IS THE HEATING OF 氣 QI ‘AIR’ 他有一股怨氣 ta you yi gu yuan qi ‘He has an angry air. 秦 Qin and 漢 Han philosophical and medical works. What’s difference is that Yu first introduces 陰陽 yin-yang and 五行 wu-xing as the underlying cultural models for the metaphorical systems of Chinese anger expressions and these two theories are utilized to account 2 Chinese discourses or phrases are illustrated in the following manner.’ 別氣 bie qi ‘Don’t be angry. There are a large number of conventionalized anger expressions which tie to the metaphorical system as shown in the following. breath. Yu points out two Chinese traditional theories of 陰 陽 yin-yang ‘yin-energy and yang-energy’ 4 and 五 行 wu-xing ‘the Five Elements’ as the underlying cultural models for the metaphorical system of anger expressions. Its modern counterpart has another definition: air or gas which is widely used in contemporary Chinese. 2 . Chinese characters are presented first. Therefore. In other words. For instance. Italic types stand for transliteration: 漢語拼音 Han Yu Pin Yin.

). in our commonsense. Yu uses diachronic models to explain the synchronic meaning of the lexeme 氣 qi.C. the concept of qi with different definitions is well-demonstrated. is pervasive in the conceptual system of Chinese (cf. 2. the contemporary 氣 qi indicating AIR/GAS indeed can be viewed as a subversion of HEAT. It is found that in Chinese classics during Warring States (403-221 B. The researchers patch up Kövecses’ analysis of the cultural model of anger. One way to solve the problem is to examine the linguistic data in a diachronic way and to ascertain whether the source of the lexeme 氣 qi and the concept of heat are related in classical Chinese. I argue that from a historical perspective the physiological effects of 氣 qi can serve the underlying cultural model for the metaphorical system of Chinese anger expressions and that ANGER IS QI instead of HEAT is the most general conceptual metaphor in Chinese. [井上聰] Jing Shang Cong 1997).for the relationships among metaphors: the central metaphor HEAT and two subversions.) which encompass variable diachronic ingredients. 2. the previous studies pose some problems. It didn’t refer to ‘air’ or ‘gas’ and was not a subversion of HEAT. regarded as a basic concept in ancient Chinese. [鄺] Kuang 1992. [劉] Liu 1985. The definition of qi and the underlying cultural model in Chinese The theory of qi. can also be traced back to ‘Warring States’ (403-221 B. the effects of the theories. yin-yang and wu-xing. However. the underlying cultural models yin-yang and wu-xing are utilized to provide a cognitive base for viewing ANGER IS HEAT as the central metaphor of anger in Chinese.C. the lexeme 氣 qi can be traced back to 戰國時代 Zhan Guo Shi Dai ‘Warring States’ (403-221 B. draw upon Lakoff and Kövecses’ framework of metaphors in English anger expressions and come to the generalization that English and Chinese share the central metaphor ANGER IS HEAT that breaks into two subversions FIRE and 氣 AIR/GAS.C. The analysis in the next section begins with the common cultural model of the physiological effects of 氣 qi demonstrated in classical Chinese. Chinese 3 . These two theories are not supposed to be explained in a synchronic perspective. since HEAT is a necessary condition of AIR/GAS (Yu 1998). QI and FIRE. Nevertheless. Goals The goals of the present study are as the following: 1. Second. First. previous studies on Chinese anger expressions converge on the following points. In general. 3.). To ascertain the central metaphor in this metaphorical system. To explore a cognitive base serving as the cultural model for the metaphorical system of Chinese anger expressions. Furthermore.

A discourse drawn from 莊子 Zhuang Zi ‘the works of Zhuang Zi’ demonstrates that qi is the essence of the body that would influence the human physiology. qi is the essence of the body that exists and flows through the body of every living being. 水火有氣而無生,草木有生而無知,禽獸有知而無義,人有氣、有生、有知, 亦且有義,故最為天下貴也。 shui huo you qi er wu sheng, cao mu you sheng er wu zhi, qin-shou you zhi er wu yi, ren you qi、you sheng、you zhi,yi qie you yi, gu zui wei tian xia gui ye。 “Fire and water possess energy but are without life. birds and beasts.). grass and trees as well as water and fire. as illustrated in the following discourse drawn from 荀子 Xun Zi ‘the works of Xun Zi’. life. Grass and trees have life but no intelligence. written around Warring States (403-221 B. The loss of qi in some human body parts would cause the interference or suspension of vitality of some organs ([蔡] Cai 1997). he is the noblest being on earth. Man possesses energy. It is the flourishing and declining of qi held in the internal organs that leads to the rising and falling of human physiology. based on Chinese medical tradition. as shown in the following discourse drawn from 孟子 Meng Zi ‘the works of Mencius’.” (Watson 1963: 45) Furthermore. intelligence.C. 莊子/外篇 莊子 外篇/卷七上 外篇 卷七上/第十九達生 卷七上 第十九達生 Zhuang Zi/Wai Pian/Juan Qi Shang/Di Shi Jiu Da Sheng 夫忿滀之氣,散而不反,則為不足;上而不下,則使人善怒;下而不上,則 4 .philosophers regard qi as a form of energy possessed by all things in the universe such as human beings. man is in a state of starvation. 其為氣也,配義與道;無是,餒也。 qi wei qi ye,pei yi yu dao;wu shi,nei ye. “It is the mate and assistant of righteousness and reason. The harmony of qi decides the source of life.C. written around Warring States (403-221 B. qi is a form of element that would influence a person’s cultivation of righteousness and reason. “Qi influences the human physiology or leads to illness through inner structure of the human body and the mutual influence of the body and the external environment” ([蔡] Cai 1997: 379).” ([理雅格] Legge 1992: 311) Moreover. a sense of duty. and in addition. Therefore.). Without it. Birds and beasts have intelligence but no sense of duty.

More specifically. then illness comes. and they cause fears to emanate from the kidneys. For a more detailed discussion. qi influences the emotional states. If it goes down but will not come up. as shown in the discourse from Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: 黃帝內經素問/舉痛論 黃帝內經素問 舉痛論 Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen/Ju Tong Lun 5 That Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine is written around Warring States (403-221 B. the emotional states would cause qi to function abnormally. This explains the unity of the spiritual essences. which results in various emotional states. 黃帝內經素問/宣明五氣篇 黃帝內經素問 宣明五氣篇 Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen/Xuan Ming Wu Qi Pian 五精所并:精氣并於心則喜,并於肺則悲,并於肝則憂﹝怒﹞,并於脾則畏 ﹝思﹞,并於腎則恐,是謂五并,虛而相并者也。 wu jing suo bing:jing qi bing yu xin ze xi,bing yu fei ze bei,bing yu gan ze you ﹝nu﹞,bing yu pi ze wei﹝si﹞,bing yu sheng ze kong,shi wei wu bing,xu er xiang bing zhe ye。 “The five spirits are equal to the five essences. If it goes neither up nor down. they cause grief to emanate from the liver. it makes a man bad-tempered. When the essences of the internal organs are exhausted. they cause pity to emanate from the lungs.” (Palmer 1996: 160-161) The change of qi held in the viscera influences not only the human physiology but also the psychological states. please refer to [蔡] Cai (1997). then weakness follows. but canters upon the body. it may lead to the union of the spirits from the external environment.C. 5 . If it goes up but will not come down. as illustrated in the following discourse extracted from 黃帝內經 Huang Di Nei Jing ‘Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’5.) is regarded as the general opinion held by scholars. 使人善忘;不上不下,中身當心,則為病。 fu fen xu zhi qi,san er bu fan,ze wei bu zu;shang er bu xia,ze shi ren shan nu; xia er bu shang;ze shi ren shan wang;bu shang bu xia,zhong shen dang xin, ze wei bing。 “When the original breath within is scattered and will not reunite. at the heart. they cause anxiety to emanate from the spleen. When they are united they caused joy to emanate from the heart. it makes a man very forgettable. When the essences are exhausted then the spirits should unite.” (Veith 1982: 207) On the contrary.

4. Qi is an element influencing a person’s cultivation of righteousness. 3. he should comfort qi in the body. he must be at peace.” If one wants to cease the state of agitation. The underlying cultural model forms the metaphorical system in which ANGER IS QI is the most general conceptual metaphor. in light of Chinese philosophy and medical tradition. anger causes qi to rush upwards. If he wants to be spiritual. Anyone who acts yet is not really acting. First. Qi is the essence of the body influencing emotional states. Apparently. 莊子/雜篇 莊子 雜篇/卷八上 雜篇 卷八上/第二十三 卷八上 第二十三 庚桑楚 Zhuang Zi/Za Pian/Juan Ba Shang/Di Er Shi San Geng Sang Chu 出怒不怒,則怒出於不怒矣;出為無為,則為出於無為矣。欲靜則平氣,欲 神則順心。 chu nu bu nu,ze nu chu yu bu nu yi;chu wei wu wei,ze wei chu yu wu wei yi。 yu jing ze ping qi,yu shen ze shun xin。 “Anyone who expresses anger but is not really angry will exhibit non-anger. Qi is a form of energy in the universe. he must calm his heart. As illuminated in the discourses extracted from philosophical and medical classics during Warring States. the definitions of qi have nothing to do with the concept of HEAT or with the heated gas or vapor. The physiological effects of qi causing anger or the emotional states causing the hyperactivity of qi serve as the cognitive base of the common cultural model of anger. the lexeme qi is a polysemy which encompassed various definitions during Warring States: 1. as exemplified in the following discourse extracted from the works of Zhuang Zi. two points are singled out. the lexeme qi related to anger has nothing to do with yin-yang or wu-xing. but has to do with the cultural theory of qi. Qi is the essence of the body influencing physiological states. 百病生於氣也,怒則氣上…。 bai bing sheng yu qi ye,nu ze qi shang…。 “Every kind of sickness results from qi. If he wants to be still (calm his qi). it is safe to claim that the common cultural model for the metaphorical system of Chinese anger expressions 6 . his actions will be non-action. Second. ” (Palmer 1996: 208) As exemplified in the discourses extracted from Chinese classics during Warring States. 2. during Warring States.

and 漢 Han dynasties shows that QI instead of HEAT dominates the metaphorical use of anger expressions.C. The conceptualization of qi indicating the emotion anger can be traced back to Han Dynasty (206 B. which will be expounded in the following section. restriction. then we have to survey the linguistic data to support the claim that there are a large number of conventionalized anger expressions which tie to the central metaphor ANGER IS QI instead of HEAT. such as anger.C. in turn.) The discourses extracted from Chinese classics testify that qi regarded as an anger element in the body appeared around Warring States. fear and so on. The conceptualization of qi from the discourses is summarized as follows: Being careless about one’s qi may cause the emanating of various emotional states. it will hurt the liver.D. sadness.C. happiness. The metaphorical use of the lexeme qi for anger A survey of philosophical and medical works of Warring States. 難經/難經本義卷下 難經 難經本義卷下/四十九難 難經本義卷下 四十九難 論正經自病與五邪所傷之別 Nan Jing/Nan Jing Ben Yi Quan Xia/Si Shi Jiu Nan Lun Zheng Jing Zi Bing Yu Wu Xie Suo Shang Zhi Bie 恚怒氣逆上而不下則傷肝… hui nu qi ni shang er bu xia ze shang gan “If anger-qi goes up but does not come down. growing and nourishing of qi.-220 A.D.).” (2) Warring States (403-221 B. (1) Warring States (403-221 B. 4. Qi stands in the prototypical meanings as a form of energy. anger expressions associated with the lexeme qi are quite productive.-220 A. The metaphorical Qi 7 .is the physiological effect of qi itself. The semantic extension of the lexeme qi referring to anger is treated as its metaphorical use which occurred during Han Dynasty (206 B. emotional states would lead to the impediment.-220 A.D. As shown in the following discourses distributed chronologically. the essence of the body during Warring States. as illustrated in 難經 Nan Jing ‘the works of 秦越人 Qin Yue-ren’.) The following discourse extracted from 戰國策 Zhan Gou Ce is written around the declining years of Warring States but edited during Han Dynasty.C.) ~ Han Dynasty (206 B. an element. The next question is that if the physiological effects of qi serve as an underlying cognitive base for the metaphorical system of anger.).C.

戰國策/卷十八 戰國策 卷十八~二一 卷十八 二一 趙策/卷二十一 趙策 卷二十一 趙四/趙太后新用事 趙四 趙太后新用事 Zhan Guo Ce/Juan Shi Ba~Er Yi Zhao Ce /Juan Er Shi Yi Zhao Si/Zhao Tai Hou Xin Yong Shi …願見太后,太后盛氣而揖之。 …yuan jian tai hou,tai hou sheng qi er yi zhi。 “…hope to see the mother of the emperor.” 說苑/第十九卷 說苑 第十九卷 脩文 Shuo Yuan/Di Shi Jiu Juan Xiu Wen 粗厲猛賁之聲動人,而怒氣應之; cu li meng bi zhi sheng dong ren,er nu-qi ying zhi; “To touch people with rough and violent sound would cause anger-qi. The mother of emperor is full of anger and waiting for him. 說苑 Shuo Yuan and 吳越春秋 Wu Yue Chun-qiu. Qi indicating an anger element in the body intensively appeared during Han dynasty as shown in discourses from 春秋繁露 Chun-qiu Fan-lu. 淮南子/第十二卷 淮南子 第十二卷 Huai Nan Zi/Di Shi Er Juan 忿心張膽,氣如涌泉 fen xin zhang dan,qi ru yong quan “The heart is filled with hatred.referred to as anger in the body occurred. as presented in 淮南子 Huai-nan Zi. anger comes up like a spring.) The lexeme qi metaphorically used to refer to anger appeared in the discourses of philosophical works during Han Dynasty.D.C.” (3) Han Dynasty (206 B. 春秋繁露/第十一卷 春秋繁露 第十一卷/第四十四篇 第十一卷 第四十四篇 王道篇 Chun Qiu Fan Lu/Di Shi Yi Juan/Di Si Shi Si Pian Wang Dao Pian 怒氣…,天與人所同有也 nu-qi…,tian yu ren suo tong you ye “Anger-qi … is possessed by heaven and human beings.” 吳越春秋/句踐伐吳外傳第十 吳越春秋 句踐伐吳外傳第十/句踐二十一年 句踐伐吳外傳第十 句踐二十一年 Wu Yue Chun Qiu/Gou Jian Fa Wu Wai Zhuan Di Shi/Gou Jian Er Shi Yi 8 .-220 A.” Meanwhile.

” The historical development of the lexeme qi from a prototypical meaning as a form of energy of all things to a specific one indicating anger itself is roughly schematized as below. Nian 見敵而有怒氣…. jian di er you nu-qi “One is anger-qi because of seeing the enemy. D. Therefore. an element and the essence of the body.C. As Figure 1 shows. The historical development of different senses of qi. 1 A. Anger expressions tied to body HEAT are not found in Chinese classics before Han Dynasty. 500 A. it is safe to claim that ANGER IS QI is the central metaphor of anger in Chinese culture in light of a diachronic perspective. Then qi is specified as the essence circulating in the body where the impediment of the essence would cause the emanating of various emotional states. To conclude. the discourses from Warring States to Han Dynasties illustrated above support the claim that diachronically the metaphor ANGER IS QI dominates a large number of anger expressions. 500 B. The metaphorical use of anger expressions associated with the lexeme qi occurred during Han Dynasty. It is the conceptualization of qi causing anger 9 . D. Its prototypical meanings stand in a form of energy. Warring States Qin Han qi as a form of energy in the universe qi as the essence causing various emotions qi as an anger element qi as anger Figure 1. qi is a polysemous lexeme during Warring States. Qi originally functions as a lexeme meaning a form of energy possessed by all things in the universe.

In other words.) The compound sheng-qi indicating the external spirit in some circumstances occurred in 後漢書 hou han shu ‘the Book of Eastern Han Dynasty’ written around South and North Dynasties. its prototypical meaning is related to the cultural theory of qi. 5. Compounding of X + the lexeme qi The central metaphor ANGER IS QI is extremely productive in that the compounding of a receding word in combination with the lexeme qi can elaborate the conceptual metaphor.C.that motivates the development of the lexeme qi indicating energy to the metaphorical use as anger. 後漢書/列傳 後漢書 列傳/卷五十一 列傳 卷五十一 hou han shu/lie zhuan/Juan Wu Shi Yi 孤兒寡婦,哭號空城…雖含生氣,實同枯朽。 gu er gua fu,ku hao kong cheng…sui han sheng qi,shi tong ku xiu。 10 . active qi’ is construed as the most general form used to express anger in contemporary Chinese.’ The compound 生氣 sheng-qi ‘generate qi. The compound is used to indicate “the spirit of life” (Veith 1982: 104) in the body. 5. 黃帝內經素問/四氣調神大論篇 黃帝內經素問 四氣調神大論篇 Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen/Si Qi Tiao Shen Da Lun Pian 唯聖人從之,故身無奇病,萬物不失,生氣不竭… Wei sheng ren cong zhi, gu shen wu qi bing,wan wu bu shi, sheng-qi bu jie… “The sages followed the laws [of nature] and therefore their bodies were free from strange diseases.D. active qi’ or 受氣 shou-qi ‘receive qi’ is a good example.1 The compound 生氣 sheng-qi Besides a free noun. The lexeme 生 sheng means either ‘generate’ or ‘active. there are a large number of anger expressions related to the compounding of X + the lexeme qi which tie to the metaphor ANGER IS QI. they do not lose anything (which they has received by nature) and their spirit of life was never exhausted. Chronologically.) The following discourse is from Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. The compound 生氣 sheng-qi ‘generate qi. (1) Warring States (403-221 B. the lexeme qi can form compounds in combination with a preceding word.” (Veith 1982: 104) (2) South and North Dynasties (420-589 A.

醒世姻緣/第二回 醒世姻緣 第二回 Xing Shi Yin Yuan/Di Er Hui …要我生氣,我倒沒有這許多閒氣生來。 yao wo sheng-qi,wo dao mei you zhe xu duo xian qi sheng lai “…to make me ruffle [be angry]. It is also viewed as a colloquial form in contemporary Chinese. The historical development of the compound sheng-qi from a prototypical meaning related to the spirit of life to a specific one indicating anger is roughly shown as below.).” (3) Yuan Dynasty (1206-1370 A.) ~ Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A. but edited during Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D. Warring States (403-221 B.) The compound sheng-qi metaphorically used to refer to ‘ruffle’ or ‘be angry’ intensively appeared in the novels during Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A.) the external spirit of life Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.D.” The compound sheng-qi becomes the most general form to express anger. D.) the spirit of life in the body North and South Dynasties (420-589 A. I have no surplus anger to generate. it is decayed and rotten.) The compound sheng-qi has undergone a semantic extension and takes on the metaphorical meaning ‘ruffle’ or ‘be angry’ occurring in the novel 三國演義 San Guo Yan Yi written around the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1370 A.) ruffle [be angry] Figure 2.): 三國演義/第五十一回 三國演義 第五十一回 San Guo Yan Yi/Di Wu Shi Yi Hui 程普恐瑜生氣 Cheng Pu kong Yu sheng-qi “Cheng Pu is afraid that Yu would ruffle [be angry]. D.D. D. “The orphans and the widows are crying in the deserted city…It may contain the spirit of life but in fact.D.” (4) Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A.).C. The historical development of different senses of 生氣 sheng-qi 11 .

Hide yourself out of his sight so that we 12 . it is from there transmitted to the spleen. When the heart receives the life-giving force from the spleen. (1) Warring States (403-221 B.) The verb phrase shou qi ‘receive qi’ connected with the emotion anger meaning ‘receive one’s anger’ is found to occur in the novel 三遂平妖傳 San Sui Ping Yao Zhuan: 三遂平妖傳/第七回 三遂平妖傳 第七回 San Sui Ping Yao Zhuan/Di Qi Hui 老爺出廳了,你快些躲避,莫累我們受氣。 lao ye chu ting le,ni kuai xie duo bi,mo lei wo men shou qi。 “The venerable sir is coming to the hall.’ Its prototypical meaning is also related to the cultural theory of qi. so that it meets death when it arrives at the lungs.2 The Compound 受氣 shou-qi Another compound 受氣 shou-qi is also a general form to express anger in contemporary Chinese in which the lexeme 受 means ‘receive. it is from there transmitted to the lungs…”(Veith 1982: 179) (2) Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A. whence it is passed on to the kidneys.5.C. here it reaches it utmost. 受氣 shou qi was a verb phrase indicating ‘receiving energy’ from Yin Yang’ or the internal organs ‘receiving the life-giving force. D.’ 莊子外篇/卷六下 莊子外篇 卷六下/第十七 卷六下 第十七 秋水 Zhuang Zi Wai Pian/Juan Liu Xia/Di Shi Qi Qiu Shui 受氣於陰陽 shou qi yu yin yang “receive energy from Yin Yang” 黃帝內經素問/玉機真藏論 黃帝內經素問 玉機真藏論 Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen/Yu Ji Zhen Zang Lun 肝受氣於心,傳之於脾,氣舍於腎,至肺而死.心受氣於脾,傳之於肺… gan shou qi yu xin,chuan zhi yu pi,qi she yu shen,zhi fei er si,xin shou qi yu pi,chuan zhi yu fei… “When the liver receives the life-giving force from the heart.) As illustrated in the following examples during Warring States.

).” As shown in the discourses. D.) ruffle [be angry] Figure 3. 13 .D. Diachronically the verb phrase ‘receive qi’ takes on the metaphorical use meaning ‘ruffle’ during Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A. for the child is not his. The lexeme 受 shou ‘receive’ functioning as a verb combines with the lexem qi ‘energy’ and then becomes a compound used to indicate anger.) The compound shou-qi is metaphorically used to indicate ‘ruffle’ or ‘be angry’ intensively occurred in the novels during Qing Dynasty such as 桃花扇 Tao Hua Shan and 醒世姻緣 Xing Shi Yin Yuan. it connotes either an action in which someone receives another’s anger or ‘ruffle’ itself. as roughly schematized as below: Warring States (403-221 B. 桃花扇/卷三 桃花扇 卷三/第二十二齣 卷三 第二十二齣 守樓 Tao Hua Shan/Juan San/Di Er Shi Er Chu/Shou Lou 知你拒絕田仰,動了大怒…下官怕你受氣,特為護你而來。 zhi ni ju jue tian yang,dong le da nu…xia guan pa ni shou-qi,te wei hu ni er lai。 “I know you refuse Tian Yang and are very angry…I am afraid you ruffle [are angry] and come to protect you.” (3) Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A. the verb phrase 受氣 shou qi ‘receive qi’ has undergone a semantic extension and becomes polysemous.) receive someone’s anger Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A. The historical development of different senses of 受氣 shou-qi. In modern Chinese.C.) receive energy from the universe receive essence from certain internal organ Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.” 醒世姻緣/第七十六回 醒世姻緣 第七十六回 Xing Shi Yin Yuan/Di Qi Shi Liu Hui …孩子不是他公公骨血…狄員外因此受氣 …hai zi bu shi ta gong gong gu xie…di yuan wai yin ci er shou-qi “The officer Di ruffles [is angry].D. won’t receive his anger.

The conceptualization of qi as the essence of human physiology causing variable emotional states associated with anger feelings is prevailing in Chinese culture. Diachronically. Conclusion Different from previous studies on Chinese metaphors of anger (Shyu 1989. 2. The points singled out here are as in the following: 1. is the central metaphor in the metaphorical system. Yu 1998. Cheng 1999). 3.D. Based on the discourses extracted form the classics. beginning in Warring States and continuing through Han. 6. The source of the compound is relevant to the cultural theory of physiological effects of qi in the body. The underlying cultural theory of qi provides a cognitive base for the metaphorical use of the lexeme qi in construction with a preceding word. The prototypical meaning of the lexeme qi has nothing to do with heated gas or vapor but the essence that exists and circulates through the body. Therefore.. it is QI. We have delved into the chronological distributions of the common compounds used to indicate anger in modern Chinese. the sources of two metaphors QI and FIRE are not two subversions of ANGER IS HEAT. ANGER IS QI. instead of HEAT.C. Yuan. The central metaphor ANGER IS QI is extremely productive in that the compounding of a preceding word in construction with the lexeme qi elaborates the central metaphor. we have verified the central metaphor ANGER IS QI based on the philosophical and traditional medical works. to 1900 A. In turn. The compounds become conventionalized and are metaphorically used to refer to anger in the novels written around Ming and Qing dynasties. anger would cause the hyperactivity of qi. which develops a number of anger expressions associated with the lexeme qi. There are a large number of anger expressions which tie to the central metaphor ANGER IS QI. dominates the metaphorical use for anger in 14 . Ming dynasties to Qing dynasty. we have shown that the metaphorical use of the lexeme qi referring to anger is found to occur during Han dynasty. It is affirmative that the physiological effects of qi serve as the underlying cultural model for the metaphorical system of anger in Chinese. it is also found that the physiological effects of qi ‘the essence of the body’ exerts influence on a person’s emotional state. Song. The underlying cultural model of physiological effects of qi ‘essence of body’ exerts influence on language. instead of ANGER IS HEAT. The multiple definitions of the lexeme qi are manifested in the classics during Warring States. Based on the data current during 403 B.

it is common for anger to be metaphorized as QI. In light of the discourses drawn from Chinese classics and novels distributed chronologically.Chinese. the cultural theory of qi plays a crucial role in the expressions of anger. the compounds related to qi indicating anger are also related to the cultural theory of qi and are very productive. The lexeme qi referring to anger and the compounds related to the lexeme qi indicating anger in contemporary Chinese are deeply rooted in Chinese conceptual system. The compounds undergo semantic extension and are referred to as metaphorical anger. In Chinese. 15 . In sum.

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