Review on “The Birth of a Super-sign” In this chapter, Lydia Liu defines what the super-sign is, the significance of super-sign and the specific construction of the super-sign 夷/Yi/Barbarian in the confrontation between the Chinese empire and the British empire, followed up by a short criticism of the super-sign. A super-sign refers to “a linguistic monstrosity that thrives on the excess of its presumed meanings by virtue of being exposed to, or thrown together with, foreign etymologies and foreign languages” (Liu, 13). Understanding the function of the super-sign helps us to understand how the British Empire and the Chinese Empire interacted with each other through language, particularly the super-sign 夷/Yi/Barbarian. Literally the super-sign夷/Yi/Barbarian is an “hetero-linguistic sign … joining the written Chinese character, the romanized pronunciation, and the English translation together into a coherent semantic unit” (Ibid, 33) Liu further explains that “the Chinese character yi becomes a hetero-linguistic sign by virtue of being informed, signified, and trans- formed by the English word "barbarian" and must defer its correct meanings to the foreign counterpart” (Ibid.). That means, the meaning of the Chinese character Yi is determined by its counterpart, which is the English word “Barbarian”. Now, I will explain how this chapter elaborates the Chinese connotation of the Chinese word “Yi” and the English connotation of the English word “Barbarian”. In Chinese, the word “Yi” was not used exclusively to describe the foreigners. In Ancient times, it is also a geographical concept referring to people lived in the east. It did not necessarily have to do with the humility. One of the high officials once explained to a Supercargo of the East Indian company by quoting that the great sage of Chinese Mencius himself said, “King Shun was an eastern yi and King Wen was a western yi. Yi as they are, King Shun and King Wen are the founders of Chinese civilization. In this sense, Yi was not a humiliating character in Chinese. The English word Barbarian, however, follows a different etymology. For Lydia Liu, the word “Barbarian” obtained its meaning from two traditions: one Christian, another Greek. And both traditions emphasized on the Barbarians as non-Christian, who cannot be saved, or the Cannibals, who were immoral and eat humans. The incommensurability between the Chinese character “Yi” and the English word “Barbarians” caused diplomatic negotiations between the two empires. The compromise of the Chinese empire during the negotiation was treated by sinologists for a long time as showing China’s stupidity and ignorance toward the European Modern world and civilization, without any consideration of the linguistic context and suspicion of the Eurocentric stance. The British public was injured by the report in the newspapers that the Chinese who were the real barbarians kept calling the British the barbarian, who considered themselves as the most honorary people in the civilized world. To clear up this injury, the British public decided to launch a war against China to defend the pride of the nation. Therefore began the war. For Lydia Liu, it seemed quite clear the discrepancies behind the super-sign reveals the differences of understanding languages in imperial interaction between the Chinese Empire and the British Empire. What has been left undone is the process during which the super-sign transplanted into the English context and spread over into the public. Without answering that question, the whole process of super-sign transformation is incomplete. The significance of answering that question not only fully reveals the transformation process but also gives a new interpretation of the relationship between nationalism and empire. To answer that question, I will take the infamous “Barbarian eye” as a case study. The “Barbarian Eye” is not an eye. It is translated from the Chinese “目”. When “目” is combined with “夷”, its meaning will change into “chief”. In an article published in Preston Chronicle, January 31, 1835, the phrase “夷目” is translated into “Barbarian Chief”. It was 5 days later that the “Barbarian Eye” as an “equivalent” to “夷目” shows up in another newspaper and quickly spread out in newspapers in Edinburgh of Scotland, Belfast of Ireland, Hull, Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and London of England in 17 days mainly through repeating the same passage. Though Lydia Liu sharply points out the connection between the mistranslation and the rhetoric for war, it is still insufficient to explain why the “Barbarian Eye” replaces “Barbarian chief” and disseminates itself so efficiently throughout centers of the British Empire, unless we introduce Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of “loophole” into the analysis of these news. In Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, Bakhtin defines loophole as “the retention for oneself of the possibility for altering the ultimate meaning of one’s own words” through “taking into account internally the responsive, contrary evaluation of oneself by another”. For Bakhtin, in a dialogue, the speaker intentionally makes opposite judgment to invite counter utterance from the listener and get the real wanted judgment from the listener. The newspapers initiate a dialogue with an illusionary Chinese interlocutor denying the dignity of the British public and the honor of the Crown.The British public responds the interlocutor with a much stronger counter utterance. The repetition of self-denial initiator, to fill the lack of confidence and to accumulate hatred against the other, produces a nationalistic bond that ties together British citizens as a unified community. Meanwhile, to stop Chinese calling them 夷 provides the military a legitimate excuse for the war against China to defend the honor of the Crown. The death of 夷/Yi/Barbarian in Qing official document executed by treaty unveils the rise of conscious of nation under the influence of imperialism.