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CHINESE COLOUR SYMBOLISM: IT'S SIGNIFICANCE TO THE IGBO
  • Okafor Miracle Uzochukwu,
  • Miracle Uzochukwu Okafor
Okafor Miracle Uzochukwu
Author Profile
Miracle Uzochukwu Okafor
Department of Chinese Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University

Abstract

Colour contains rich cultural, mythical, historical, religious, political, and linguistic connotations. In the field of human cognition, there are some differences in the selection and semantic association of colour and colour words among different nationalities. As the economic and educational co-operations keep increasing between Chinese and Igbo people, there is a great need to explore linguistic and cultural connotations of color as to help reduce misunderstanding, culture shock and thus facilitate healthy cross-cultural communication. Most of Igbo people have little or no knowledge about various significance of colors in Chinese. Particularly, they know little about the application and usage of various Chinese color word. Therefore, this paper uses observation and descriptive methodology to examine the symbolism of colour/colour words in the Chinese language and culture, from ancient and contemporary usage, pointing out its significance to Igbo people. The colours selected are: white, black, red, green, and yellow. Red signifies success, prosperity, and popularity. The original symbolism of white is bad and black is good in China,however, due to the influence of western culture,the reverse became the case. Black is now seen as omen, plague, disasters, death, evil, and crime while white is adored as purity, superior, beauty, and goodness. Green colour has a significance of the good and the bad while Yellow symbolizes power, majesty, obscene, and pornographic contents. This paper has not only presented different Chinese colour symbolism that can inspire Igbo people, but also minimized the cross-cultural communication gap between Igbo and Chinese people.