Recreating the image of Chan master Huineng

the role of personal pronouns

Hailing Yu, Canzhong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The article is on the recreation of the image of Chan master Huineng in four English translations of the Platform Sutra through the choice of personal pronouns. Adopting SysConc as analytical tool, the study looks at the use of personal pronouns and the image of Huineng recreated in each translation. In Wong (1930a), the use of we in combination with you presents Huineng as both friendly and authoritative; in Heng (1977b), Huineng tends to avoid personal pronouns and seems to be detached; in Cleary (1998b), Huineng is more involved in the interaction and uses many I's as well as you; in Cheng (2011), Huineng speaks in an elegant way and uses generic one as personal reference. It is argued that both the choices of personal pronouns and the images of Huineng recreated can be better understood in terms of the context of translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-86
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • personal pronouns
  • Huineng
  • systemic functional linguistics
  • interpersonal distance
  • context

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