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Poll: What is your general impression when you see the word "dragon" or its image?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Apr 13, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is your general impression when you see the word "dragon" or its image?".

This poll was originally submitted by Kevin Yang

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:07
French to Spanish
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Very strange question, indeed. Apr 13, 2006

At least here in Mexico. Dragon? Almost nothing to do with us. A fantastic creature spitting fire that we sometimes see in motion pictures, scaring the little ones.

I presume that for Kevin Yang, from China, it -he, she?- has a lot more importance.


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
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Si, I am from China! Apr 13, 2006

Juan Jacob wrote:

At least here in Mexico. Dragon? Almost nothing to do with us. A fantastic creature spitting fire that we sometimes see in motion pictures, scaring the little ones.

I presume that for Kevin Yang, from China, it -he, she?- has a lot more importance.



Hola, Amigo

I am from China!

Yes, it does sound strange and out of place. It was posted a week ago while the Chinese Forum was having a serious discussion:

http://www.proz.com/topic/44416?start=0&float=

It was about a Chinese professor's suggestion to create a new English word for the Chinese dragon so as to differentiate it from the dragon that has been portrayed in the west. He believes that the Chinese dragon is a different breed and has a different appearance and carries the specific symbolic meanings in China, but the dragon, or the western version of the dragon, looks like a dinosaur and is considered as evil and demon. There were 143 messages posted in that discussion. We might look like not having better things to do, but it was an interesting discussion. The discussion was ended last week, but the poll question I posted then just got its turn to run right now. So, please be sure to answer the poll question, because the Chinese translators and I would like to see the poll result.

Kevin Yang

[Edited at 2006-04-13 07:33]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:07
English to Spanish
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Evil and harmful Apr 13, 2006

Of course I also have personal reasons for that opinion in addition to cultural reasons.

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Carmen Schultz  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:07
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Dragon Apr 13, 2006

I think of "Year of the Dragon" but also "Dragon Lady" (the latter not so positive).

It evokes strength. I think that is what it means in Chinese Lore, The Dragon is a formidable creature, a symbol of strength; the strongest creature, the Tiger taking second place after him.


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Carmen Schultz  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:07
English to Spanish
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More Dragon info... Apr 13, 2006

Some comments from a person born in the "year of the Dragon (from internet site on the subject:

"People born in the Year of the Dragon are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered, and stubborn. They are also honest, sensitive, brave, and they inspire confidence and trust. Dragon people are the most eccentric of any in the eastern zodiac. They neither borrow money nor make flowery speeches, but they tend to be softhearted which sometimes gives others an advantage over them. They are compatible with Rats, Snakes, Monkeys, and Roosters.

You are full of life and enthusiasm.
You are popular and “fun-loving.”
You will make a good artist, priest or politician.

Beware if you calculate your Chinese Zodiac sign yourself because our Western calendar does not exactly match up exactly with the lunar calendar and your birthday could be off by as much as two months if you aren’t careful. Here’s an excellent chart you can use for divining":

http://funalliance.com/info/zodiac-by-date.htm


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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It depends on the context Apr 13, 2006

If we're talking about fairy tales and knights that go out to slay fire-breathing monsters, then I think of them as scary, perhaps mainly for their daunting appearance.

On the other hand, if I just hear the word "dragon" in the abstract, as in your question, I'm more likely to think of a Chinese dragon -- maybe not totally lovable, but certainly unique, interesting, and fun.

It's amazing how context changes one's response to a word. I lived in a home with another "Muriel" for 20 years. Neither of us had a nickname, and yet we always knew which one was being addressed or spoken about. Another example: I am perfectly comfortable speaking to a dog breeder about a "bitch," but elsewhere I would never use the word and it carries an entirely different connotation.

[Edited at 2006-04-13 04:48]


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:07
Spanish to English
Pubs, Wales, England and St. George Apr 13, 2006

I know there is this large, populous and might country called China which has many customs around the dragon and probably for a lot longer.
But there is a little country in the UK with about 3 million inhabitants which has been associted with the dragon for about 1500 years. It has the dragon on its national flag. This country is called Wales. Birthplace of the singers Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey and actors Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins and many more.
Although the story of St. George slaying the dragon in England is now dismissed by historians as pure myth (it is said St. George never visited England), there are many city and village pubs name "The Dragon", Dragon Arms" and the "George and the Dragon". This to me conjures up images of peaceful, rural England in summer, drinking a pint and watching a game of cricket (when there is sunshine, of course!!).
I have never seen the dragon as evil to me it is always a welcoming sign (over a pub door, that is).


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
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Power, Chaos and Fire Apr 13, 2006

I found no suitable option to vote in the poll, because mythological images and symbols often defy any attempts to classify them as evil or good. Moreover, after the inspiring and thought-provoking Joseph Campbell's approach to the modern mythology we may go further and state that almost any mythological image, pattern or motif has two sides, the benevolent and evil one, being by its itself somewhat neutral.

A good example is the image of snake which may be seen both as evil (the tempting Serpent in Eden, or a sea-monster, or a venomous viper hiding in shadows) and as good (the caduceus of Hermes, the dormant fiery snake of Kundalini, or - by the way, Juan, about your Mexican `dragon'! - wise Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent).

Back to Dragon, it's usually directly connected to the element of Fire, and often behaves chaotic, not being specifically evil or good.

What may be different between Western and Oriental mythological views is probably the the Occidental thought is more inclined to divide everything into good or evil than the Oriental one.


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
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English to Hungarian
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fairy tale character Apr 13, 2006

I am well aware of the symbolism attached to dragons - both in the West and the East.

But for me, dragons are first and foremost fairy tale characters, mostly overwhelmed by vagrant knights or the youngest son of a king or a poor man.
In Hungary, there was a very popular and successful dragon story for kids around 1980 on TV.
The main character in the puppet series, Süsü, was a decendant of 3-headed father and a 7-headed grandfather, but he himself was unfortunate enough to be born with only one head. His only pursuit was playing with butterflies as he roamed the country to meet new friends. Of course, all the folks were afraid of him, but he made friends with a young and brave prince who then explained everyone that he was a very friendly and lovable dragon.
Anyone in Hungary whose childhood fell any time after 1980 immediately associates to this particular character when thinking of a dragon.

Csaba


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:07
Member (2005)
Arabic
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Talking Fine Arts Apr 13, 2006

I just love the way it looks like!

Dragons were subjects of different paintings or so on, and they always seemed interesting to me as they always provided artists with different images, touches and themes.

I think that a dragon makes a rich environment in all fields of arts whether it stood for positive or negative indications.

Take space as a subject in movies for example: it may stand for romance sometimes, or for aliens killing humans on earth the other time. And in cultures, space could have indicated the devil sometimes, and could have indicated God on other times ... does that mean that we need to change the word space then?

IMO, that professor needs to find something to do


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:07
Member
Italian to English
Context is everything Apr 13, 2006

I agree with Muriel - context is everything. I was unable to give an answer here because my response changes depending on the context in which I see the word or image. Fascinating question, though

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:07
English to Polish
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Creature of fantasy, not necessarily evil Apr 13, 2006

That is the one choice you have omitted in your poll, Kevin and that's the one I would tick.

Having been brought up on a diet of fantasy and science fiction, I don't always associate dragons with their Christian symbolism of evil (St. George etc.).

So there you have it.

Cheers,
Pawel Skalinski


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:07
English to Polish
Chinese point of view Apr 13, 2006

Since I'm fascinated by Asian culture for years, my first ipression of a word "dragon" is positive - a colourful being bringing luck and happiness

Even though in my country there's a tale of famous dragon - a dangerous one - somehow Chinese way of looking at it is closer to me

Anni


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Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:07
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
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Mythical creature Apr 13, 2006

Mostly negative, in much expressions the Dutch word draak has connections with shrew, hag, witch, old bag. melodrama, monstrosity, firedrake and kind of things.
The word dragon is derived form Latin draco / Greek drakon, which means both snake and dragon. Snake has to do with (d)evil.


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