|Abstract: ||語言學家薩皮爾（E. Sapir）對文化所下的定義為「文化是一個社會所做、所思的事情」。而語言最主要的功能其實就在於：它是人類表達思想情感、交換經驗訊息的媒介。儘管語言的外在結構一般都是由語音、字彙及語法等幾個系統組成，但因語言活動總是在一定的社會背景下進行，是以語言雖是文化的載體，但文化的內涵其實更決定了語言的結構。因此，一個人的語言能力除了指其所必須具備的語言知識外，還包括了語言使用者對社會文化背景的適應。而對外語的教授及學習者，進而對翻譯者而言，外語習得與掌握自然就不能只是注重熟悉外語的語音、字彙及語法結構，還必須包括了解使用該種外語的文化背景。由於中、德兩種語文分別屬於兩個相距遙遠的語族：中文屬漢藏語族，是一種孤立語；而德文則屬於印歐語族，是一種曲折語。因此，從音韻、句法、語意到語用都各有特色。而這兩種語言所反映的社會環境、文化結構和價值觀更是互有異同。本文即在探討龍、虎、豬、雞這四種動物在中、德文慣用語裡各所代表的文化內涵，並對比該等譬喻之形成及語用效果的異與同，藉以提供國內德文教學及譯者在從事中、德文翻譯時之參考。|
As is defined by linguist E. Sapir, culture is “what is collectively done and thought by all involved in the society.” The most important function of the language is: language is an irreplaceable medium by which people express ideas and emotions as well as exchange experience and information. It is a fact that the language-externally-consists of a solid system of sounds, vocabulary items and structures. Linguistic activities, on the other hand, are processed under a certain social background - which implies that, as a culture carrier, language has its structure decided by an underlying cultural basis. Therefore, linguistic performance refers to more than language knowledge; it covers the ranges on how language users adapt to the relevant social and cultural backgrounds. For foreign language learners, instructors and even language translation workers, a good command of a language naturally involves something more than the sounds, vocabulary items and grammatical structures - the understanding and use of the cultural backgrounds should also be considered. Both Mandarin Chinese and German are far separate from each other: The Mandarin Chinese is typologically “isolated” whereas German belongs to Indo-European language - typologically “inflectional.” The two languages are distant phonologically, syntactically and semantically. It is even more obvious that the social environments, cultural structures and values in which two languages lie are by no means similar. This paper will discuss the cultural implications of the four animals: dragons, tigers, pigs and chickens--as used in the two languages. We will also compare the morphological origins and pragmatic effects of the four animals. It is our sincere hope that language learners, instructors and translation workers will benefit a lot from the paper.