According to the Chinese zodiac story, the ox took second place in the race to cross the river. Photo: Shutterstock According to the Chinese zodiac story, the ox took second place in the race to cross the river. Photo: Shutterstock
According to the Chinese zodiac story, the ox took second place in the race to cross the river. Photo: Shutterstock
Lisa Lim
Opinion

Opinion

Language Matters by Lisa Lim

Year of the Ox: the role of the Chinese zodiac symbol in language

  • In the English language, ox has a claim to fame in its special plural form – oxen
  • The animal has also lent significance to writing systems in Ancient Greek

According to the Chinese zodiac story, the ox took second place in the race to cross the river. Photo: Shutterstock According to the Chinese zodiac story, the ox took second place in the race to cross the river. Photo: Shutterstock
According to the Chinese zodiac story, the ox took second place in the race to cross the river. Photo: Shutterstock
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Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim has worked in Singapore, Britain, Amsterdam and Sri Lanka, and until June 2018 was Associate Professor and Head of the School of English at the University of Hong Kong, where she still holds an Honorary position. She now is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Sydney. She is co-editor of the journal Language Ecology, founder of the website linguisticminorities.hk, and co-author of Languages in Contact (Cambridge University Press, 2016).