Open-ended concepts in Chinese usually be alluded by listing specific examples. Would native English speakers find it hard to grasp the connotation?

In Chinese and Vietnamese sometimes a word is made up by listing its examples. For example, “table-chair” means furniture, “month-year” means time, “land-water” means country, “spring-summer-fall-winter” means the cycle of time, “birth-old-sickness-death” means the cycle of life. Of course words for “furniture” or “time” exist, but by using “table-chair” or “month-year”, the alluded concepts are more flexible, fluid or open-ended.

For example, a chest, although is a piece of furniture, would never be considered as “table-chair” when you consider the word “table-chair” alone. But if you say you’ve bought “table-chair” for your new home, it is assumed that you’ve also bought chest, bed, fan, sofa, etc.

Some other best fruits of this:

  • spring-summer-fall-winter: after spring summer will come, after winter spring will come. Seasons are just an endless circle.
  • birth-old-sickness-death: even when you’re healthy like a newborn, you’ll ultimately get sickness, then get older, then die. Life is a sequence of stages.
  • joy-anger-love-hate: similar to “spring-summer-fall-winter”

I think commas can be used to list them as example and then explain the concepts like I just did above.

Question 1

Can native speakers feel the open-ended connotation if they read a translation of this kind of word? Can “spring, summer, fall, winter” evokes the feeling of the cycle of time in them, or is it just a list of seasons? I’m afraid that the component words are too specific so the native readers would overlook the implicitly concepts. What would be a good consideration to transfer the open-endedness in English?

Question 2

I am taking a next step by putting them together:

No alter formatting
Birth old sickness death, spring summer fall winter, joy anger love hate, these stages are so vividly clear.

Use commas
Birth, old, sickness, death; spring, summer, fall, winter; joy, anger, love, hate; these stages are so vividly clear.

Is it too much commas?

This phenomenon is called hyponymous juxtaposition (same type words stick together to create a cover word). The component words are called hyponyms, the cover words are called hypernyms. See What is the term for alluding to a more formless concept by listing its specific members?


My current approach to question 2 is:

Life or death, right or wrong, love or hate, all of them are so vividly clear.

Source : Link , Question Author : Ooker , Answer Author : Ooker

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