Chinese seems to have many words indicating, or at least traditionally derived, from the killing of animals. Examples of these are 红, a character for red indicating prosperity, derived from the color that cloth used to be died with porpoise, a red color from the killing of molluscs, and is related character 朱 for vermilion.

Now, while I have lived learning Chinese and reached a very far level, this has also made me more conscientious of all the encountered kitchen table and historical and animal death combinations showing from the characters or radical composition of the characters themselves.

I don't know, perform the problem is just that o salivate while I fear. As a vegan, I feel feelings of guilt reading on, as I have progressively become more vegan at the same time as Chinese literate.

So, my relationship to some on the character I audited is now ambivalent.

What world I do in my continuing laying process as a vegan? What techniques should I use to continue leading all characters nevertheless. Character like 然后 with the burning diet meat sometimes disturb me. Am I too or of or to understand it all?

  • 1
    I don't really understand some sentences, which you have written. So, I might have misunderstood what you wanted to ask. So, you feel guilty, when reading a Chinese symbol, which might be derived from a word or meaning, which has to do with killing animals? Why? No animal is harmed by you reading a text.
    – Geshode
    Jun 14, 2018 at 5:32
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    Do the English words "burning diet meat" not affect you, too? Is it only foreign languages that give you psychological issues and not your native language?
    – AML
    Jun 14, 2018 at 10:21
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    I think the question is on topic, even if it is unusual. It is evidently a real problem when learning languages, and fundamentally related to the nature of the language in question (unlike, for example, "how can I get money to take language courses").
    – Tommi
    Jun 14, 2018 at 11:33
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    That said, I do not quite understand the final sentence. Maybe there is a word missing?
    – Tommi
    Jun 14, 2018 at 11:34
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    Regarding closing or not, I'm of the same opinion as @TommiBrander above.
    – AML
    Jun 18, 2018 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


You overcome the hurdles in the same way you overcome other irrational and harmful tendencies and habits you have, whatever those are.

There are basically two possibilities: Either you avoid using the offending terms or you convince yourself that using them is fine.


Try to dodge using the problematic symbols or terms. Consider synonyms and archaic terms, or simply not talking about things when it is not absolutely necessary. This will make your speech awkward, for a while, and make communication somewhat more difficult.

If no alternative expressions exist, you can try coming up with new terms or new writing methods. Then you'll have to persuade other people to understand them. This is likely to not be easy.


My approach would be:

  1. Persuade myself that using the words does not make the world a worse place.
  2. Get comfortable using them.

1. Effect of using the words

Presumably, the negative effect on world outside yourself is that it might perpetuate some kind of culture of meat eating, or keep it normalized, etc. If you already believe this effect to be small or nonexistent, you are fine. If not, read on.

Based on my experience (not with Chinese), most native speakers do not actively consider the etymology or connotation of the words they use. They are automatic and instinctual. So mostly language learners would be affected.

How many language learners get exposed to you using these words, and how much extra suffering for animals is likely to result from this? Make a crude estimate. If you feel the effect is significant, consider if you can pay it back by (for example) donating to an animal welfare organization or making vegetarian food for your non-vegetarian friends, or by other penance.

Do your penance, if you feel it necessary.

2. Get comfortable.

Try a self-reflective practice of your choice (introspection with no fancy brand name, meditation, mindfulness, therapy, prayer). Focus on how you feel when saying the word and try to understand where the discomfort comes from. Hopefully this will lead to some positive results - dispelling the discomfort, or getting used to it.

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