Useful vocab #2

January 01, 2010, 05:35 PM posted in General Discussion

同情心 (tóngqíngxīn) sympathy

感情移入 (gǎnqíngyírù) empathy (the sentiments move inside ?)

I wonder if 感情移入 really has the same meaning as Empathy:
   1. the intellectual identification of the thoughts, feelings, or state of another person
   2. capacity to understand another person's point of view or the result of such understanding

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January 02, 2010, 03:29 AM

empathy 1. the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings.

en- in, pathy feeling

sympathy 1. the sharing of another's emotions, esp of sorrow or anguish; pity; compassion.

sym- together, pathy feeling

(the free dictionary by farlex)

So, empathy is actually a stronger feeling than sympathy. If we see a disabled beggar om the street, we may be moved with pity, have sympathy and give some money. We feel pain at seeing another's suffering. But that does not mean that we understand it. Empathy has been described as "your pain in my heart." We can only have empathy if in addition to feeling we have knowledge. It is so easy to dismiss intellectual knowledge as cold, but how can we really feel for another person without knowledge of them?

So I think the chinese translation is a good one. 同情心 is fellow feeling, sympathy. 感情移入 feelings enter, empathy. I like it!

Also, I am very excited to see Avatar, which doesn't open in China until tomorrow!

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January 02, 2010, 10:14 AM

For me, this movie is entirely about empathy as the human is embodied in the Avatar, joins a foreign community and wants to become a real Na'vi.

感情移到 someone or somebody means that the emotion is transferred on someone new of something new.

Then 感情移入 would mean that the sentiments are changed to the roots (入 very deeply).

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January 02, 2010, 10:39 AM



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January 02, 2010, 11:48 AM

用尾巴插上个人插头对大自然 (Eywa)。  ;o)

Eywa ngahu int !

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January 02, 2010, 12:13 PM

Hi guys

Just for the record. Unlike 同情, "感情移入" is a relatively new word, which is a direct translation of "empathy". I'm not 100% sure, but it's highly possible that the word was first invented in Japan, and later exported to China. In any case, "感情移入" is not an indigenous word both in China and in Japan, so it sounds a little stiff (or clumsy) , at least, to me. In short, the word is very "explanatory". I think "感情移入" is not so commonly used compared to "同情".