Political Metaphors of the Ancient Chinese Treatise of Confucius “Lun yu”

Cover Page

Cite item


This article examines the political metaphors of the ancient Chinese philosophical treatise of Confucius “Lun yu” (The Analects). Confucius often used metaphors for a capacious and figurative presentation of his political views. Translation of Confucius’s political metaphors presents a certain difficulty, since it is necessary to preserve not only the meaning of the statement, but also the imagery. The object of the research is the political metaphors of Confucius’s work “Lun yu” and their translations into Russian by P.S. Popov, I.I. Semenenko and L.S. Perelomov. The aim of the work is to study the methods of translating political metaphors of the philosophical treatise of Confucius and the possibility of accurately transferring metaphors into Russian. The novelty of the work lies in the fact that for the first time the translations of Confucius’s political reflections, made by three translators, are analyzed and compared. Political metaphors of the text “Lun yu”, collected for analysis by the method of continuous sampling, are described and analyzed within the framework of the concept of A.P. Chudinov. Classification of the metaphors of a philosophical treatise into 4 groups - anthropomorphic metaphor , natural morphic metaphor , social metaphor , artifact metaphor - made it possible to identify the peculiarities of translation techniques for different groups of metaphors. The analysis showed that the metaphors of the anthropomorphic group almost always disappear in translations into Russian. On the contrary, natural morphic metaphors, as a rule, are preserved in the translated text. The relevance of the study lies in the fact that at present, the translations of the Chinese philosophical text into Russian have not been sufficiently studied. Analysis of Russian texts “Lun yu” - “Judgments and Conversations (Lunyu)” translated by P.S. Popov, “I believe in antiquity” translated by I.I. Semenenko, “Lun yu” translated by L.S. Perelomov - made it possible to analyze the techniques of translating metaphors, due to the author’s preferences of the translators, as well as the possibility of preserving the original metaphor in translated texts. Three versions of the translation of the title of the ancient Chinese treatise into Russian indicate different approaches to the translation of the text. The conclusion summarizes the results of the study of techniques and methods of transferring political metaphors into Russian.

About the authors

Liang Chen

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
Email: 1042198012@rudn.ru

PhD student of the General and Russian Linguistics Department, Philological faculty

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198

Natalia V. Perfilieva

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Email: perfilyeva-nv@rudn.ru

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor of the General and Russian Linguistics Depertment, Philological faculty

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198

Jingzeng Du

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Email: 1042208078@rudn.ru

PhD student of the General and Russian Linguistics Department, Philological faculty

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198


  1. Ozhegov, S.I. & Shvedova, N.Yu. (2006). Explanatory dictionary of the Russian language: 80,000 words and phraseological expressions. Russian Academy of Sciences. Institute of the Russian language. V.V. Vinogradov. Moscow: OOO “A TEMP”. (In Russ.).
  2. Chudinov, A.P. (2007). Political Linguistics. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russ.).
  3. Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (2004). Metaphors that we live by: A.N. Baranov (ed., transl.). Moscow: URSS. (In Russ.).
  4. Krasina, E.A. & Perfilieva, N.V. (2005). Fundamentals of Philology: linguistic paradigms. Moscow: FLINT. (In Russ.).
  5. Skrebtsova, T.G. (2005). Modern studies of political metaphor. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Language and Literature, 1, 35. (In Russ.).
  6. Budaev, E.V. & Chudinov, A.P. (2008). Metaphor in political communication: monograph. Moscow: Flint: Nauka. (In Russ.).
  7. Tameryan, T.Y., & Tsagolova, V.A. (2019). Dynamics of Metaphorical Verbalization Image of Kanzlerin Angela Merkel. RUDN Journal of Language Studies, Semiotics and Semantics, 10(1), 141—151. doi: 10.22363/2313-2299-2019-10-1-141-151
  8. Murashova, E.P. (2021). The role of the cognitive metaphor in the hybridisation of marketing and political discourses: An analysis of English-language political advertising. Training, Language and Culture, 5(2), 22—36. doi: 10.22363/2521-442X-2021-5-2-22-36
  9. Song, Shuishi. (2004). Dictionary of Common Ancient Chinese Hieroglyphs. Beijing: People’s Daily Press. (In Chinese).
  10. Perelomov, L.S. (1998). Confucius “Lun yu”. Moscow: Vostochnaja literatura. (In Russ.).
  11. Chudinov, A.P. (2001). Russia in a metaphorical mirror: Cognitive Study of Political Metaphor (1991—2000): Monograph. Yekaterinburg. (In Russ.).
  12. Pak, E.M. (2017). The influence of Confucianism on political discourse, metaphor in the political language of the PRC. Scientific Bulletin of the Southern Institute of Management, 3, 119—122. (In Russ.).
  13. Perelomov, L.S. (2004). The Four Books are the key to understanding Confucianism. Confucian Quatrains (Shishu). Moscow: Vostochnaya literatura. (In Russ.).
  14. Krivtsov, V.A. (1972). Lun yu. Ancient Chinese Philosophy. Vol. 1. Moscow: Misl’. (In Russ.).
  15. Golovacheva, L.I. (1992). Conversations and judgments of Confucius. Rubezh, 259—310. (In Russ.).
  16. Semenenko, I.I. (1995). I believe in antiquity. Moscow: Respublika. (In Russ.).
  17. Popov, P.S. (2015). Judgments and conversations. Confucius. Moscow: Eksmo. (In Russ.).
  18. Wang, Wenbin. (2003). On the source of the metaphor. Research of foreign languages, 4. (In Chinese).
  19. Glazacheva, N.L. (2013). Manipulative potential of the Chinese political metaphor as a means of forming ideas about the world picture. Russia and China: Aspects of Interaction and Mutual influence: Materials in the correspondence International scientific-paratical conference, Blagoveshchensk, October 22—30, 2013, N.L. Glazacheva, O.V. Zalesskaya (eds.). Blagoveshchensk: Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University. pp. 66—74. (In Russ.).
  20. Yang, Bojun. (1980). Lunyu with translation and notes. Beijing. (In Chinese).
  21. Modern Chinese Dictionary (5th Edition) (2005). Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Dictionary editorial department. Beijing. (In Chinese).
  22. Baidu Encycloptdia by [Electronic resource] URL: https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%B1%B0/ 3296732?fr=aladdin. (accessed: 07.06.2021). (In Chinese).

Copyright (c) 2021 Chen L., Perfilieva N.V., Du J.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies