Sarah Allan, in The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue, explores the premise that linguistic concepts are rooted in culturally specific imagery. Allan argues that in the process of translation the target language inevitably grafts its own imagery onto the concepts of the original language. Therefore the translation process fails to capture the range of meaning and the structural relations between terms in the original language. Allan's work elaborates this point via an analysis of the metaphors related to water and plants in early Chinese philosophical thought.

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Copyright © 2000 American Oriental Society. This article first appeared in Journal of the American Oriental Society 120:2 (2000), 304-305.

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