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Difference between revisions of "Imperial capital"

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帝都 (dì dū): imperial capital
 
帝都 (dì dū): imperial capital
  
This is a recent internet nickname for Beijing. Formerly, the phrase “imperial capital” was used [http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B8%9D%E9%83%BD in reference to the capitals of imperialist countries], but as countries have ceased to proclaim themselves empires, the phrase “imperial capital” has become synonymous with a nation's capital.  
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This is a recent internet nickname for Beijing. Formerly, the phrase “imperial capital” was used [http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B8%9D%E9%83%BD in reference to the capitals of imperialist countries], but as countries have ceased to proclaim themselves empires, the phrase “imperial capital” has become synonymous with a nation's capital. Beijing's nickname of “imperial capital” is often contrasted with an internet nickname for Shanghai, 魔都 (mó dū), which means “devil/monster capital.”
  
Beijing's nickname of “imperial capital” is often contrasted with an internet nickname for Shanghai, 魔都 (mó dū), which means “devil/monster capital.
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The use of “imperial capital” to mean Beijing has perhaps increased as internet users have relied more and more on code words, homonyms, and creatively indirect references to avoid and circumvent censorship. While such semantic wordplay originally served a purely pragmatic purpose, it has become an ingrained part of some forms of the written Chinese language, with even very common words sometimes replaced by close homonyms; for example, “what” (什么 shénme) is sometimes replaced by “mystical horse” (神马 shén mǎ). Instances of such wordplay seem innocuous, but are part of a larger tradition of semantically subversive practice.

Revision as of 18:14, 21 March 2013

帝都 (dì dū): imperial capital

This is a recent internet nickname for Beijing. Formerly, the phrase “imperial capital” was used in reference to the capitals of imperialist countries, but as countries have ceased to proclaim themselves empires, the phrase “imperial capital” has become synonymous with a nation's capital. Beijing's nickname of “imperial capital” is often contrasted with an internet nickname for Shanghai, 魔都 (mó dū), which means “devil/monster capital.”

The use of “imperial capital” to mean Beijing has perhaps increased as internet users have relied more and more on code words, homonyms, and creatively indirect references to avoid and circumvent censorship. While such semantic wordplay originally served a purely pragmatic purpose, it has become an ingrained part of some forms of the written Chinese language, with even very common words sometimes replaced by close homonyms; for example, “what” (什么 shénme) is sometimes replaced by “mystical horse” (神马 shén mǎ). Instances of such wordplay seem innocuous, but are part of a larger tradition of semantically subversive practice.