Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

Get access Subject: Language And Linguistics
Editor-in-Chief: Rint SYBESMA, Leiden University

Associate Editors: Wolfgang BEHR University of Zürich, Yueguo GU Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Zev HANDEL University of Washington, C.-T. James HUANG Harvard University and James MYERS National Chung Cheng University

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The Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics offers a systematic and comprehensive overview of the languages of China and the different ways in which they are and have been studied. It provides authoritative treatment of all important aspects of the languages spoken in China, today and in the past, from many different angles, as well as the different linguistic traditions they have been investigated in.

More information: Brill.com

Dǎi 傣 Language

(3,979 words)

Author(s): Yongxian LUO
1. Geographic Setting, Language, Speakers Dǎi 傣 is the language of the Dǎi ethnic group (Dǎizú 傣族) of Southwest China’s Yúnnán Province with over 1.1 million speakers, according to the 2000 census. They have official status as one of the 55 minority groups. The Dǎi language consists of several varieties such as Dǎi Lè 傣泐 (also Bǎnnà Dǎiyǔ 版納傣語, Tai Lue, Tai Lü) of Xīshuāngbǎnnà 西雙版納 (Sipsongpanna) and Dǎi Nà 傣那 (also Déhóng Dǎiyǔ 德宏傣語, Tai Nua, Chinese Shan) of Déhóng 德宏. The Dǎi group has quite a wide distribution across Yúnnán and is known by various names, such as Black Ta…
Date: 2017-03-02

De 的/得/地

(2,362 words)

Author(s): Jeroen WIEDENHOF
1. Introduction De is a Mandarin grammatical function word with a range of subordinative, nominalizing, potential, and aspectual meanings. De is the most frequently used word in the Mandarin language. Its most common written counterpart, the character 的, likewise tops frequency lists for modern written Chinese. As a suffix and infix, de has various grammatical functions in spoken Mandarin, which will serve as the point of departure here. In written Chinese, some of these functions are spelled with distinct characters: 的, 得, 地, and 底. These ortho…
Date: 2017-03-02

DeFrancis, John (1911-2009)

(1,810 words)

Author(s): Victor MAIR
John DeFrancis (Bridgeport, Connecticut, August 31, 1911 – Honolulu, Hawai’i, January 2, 2009) was a renowned teacher and linguist of Chinese. He was also a socially committed and politically active individual who was unusually adventurous and gregarious. DeFrancis’s father was a laborer and his mother was illiterate, the memory of which later spurred him to sympathize with Chinese workers and peasants who could not read and write. DeFrancis’s career as a teacher and scholar of Chinese may be divided into four stages: student, teacher, researcher, and lexicogra…
Date: 2017-03-02


(2,991 words)

Author(s): Joanna SIO
Introduction This article provides an overview of the forms and usages of demonstratives across varieties of Chinese. Linguistic studies on Chinese dialects are highly lopsided. Most studies have been done on Mandarin and to a lesser extent Cantonese; studies on other dialects are relatively sketchy. This overview inevitably reflects the imbalance in the published literature. Discussion of Mandarin demonstratives will be richer than for the other dialects. We will start by discussing demonstratives in Classical Chinese, followed by discussions of their forms an…
Date: 2017-03-02

Děng 等 (Division and Rank)

(3,716 words)

Author(s): Ruiqing SHEN
1. Introduction Děng 等 (‘division’, ‘rank’, or ‘grade’) is a key term in Chinese historical phonology. The original meaning of děng in traditional Chinese phonology is in reference to the four rows found in early rime tables; their correlation with character pronunciations remains a matter of uncertainty and debate. However, from the 17th century onwards, scholars began to redefine děng as a classificatory feature of rimes in rime books and, by extension, of the characters belonging to those rimes. It is this later extended meaning that modern linguists…
Date: 2017-03-02

Derivation by Tone Change

(3,350 words)

Author(s): Yueting WANG
Derivation by tone change refers to a type of word formation in which a new word is derived by changing the tone of the original word. For example, 衣 (MC *’jɨj, level tone) is a noun meaning ‘clothing’. The changed-tone word 衣 (MC *’jɨjH, departing tone) is the derived verb ‘to wear (clothes), to clothe’. This type of derivation is systematic. For example, guān 冠 (MC *kwan, level tone) is a noun meaning ‘cap’, and the changed-tone word guàn 冠 (MC *kwanH, departing tone) is a verb meaning ‘to wear (a cap)’. (Middle Chinese reconstructions are given in the system of Baxter 1992.) Historically, …
Date: 2017-03-02

Developmental Speech and Language Disorders

(2,160 words)

Author(s): Carol TO
For various reasons, some children do not develop adequate speech and language spontaneously, resulting in speech and/or language disorders. The disorder may involve the language form (i.e., phonological/phonetic, morphological, and syntactic systems), the language content (i.e., semantics), and/or the language function (i.e., pragmatic use) in any combination (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 1993). A distinction is drawn between disorders of “speech” and disorders of “language”. Th…
Date: 2017-03-02

Development of Reading Skills in Children

(2,843 words)

Author(s): Hwawei KO
In order to understand how written Chinese is acquired, we must first review the composition of Chinese characters and words. 1. The Composition of Chinese Characters In Chinese, the character is considered the basic unit of writing. The framing of a character is very different from a letter in an alphabetic orthography. A character looks square, and when printed, each character is presented in an equal-sized square space. This form is thus nicknamed square script ( fāngkuàizì 方塊字). Many characters consist of components, and many of these components are independent char…
Date: 2017-03-02

Development of Writing Skills in Children

(1,868 words)

Author(s): Li YIN
This article reviews the development of knowledge about written Chinese, the cognitive-linguistic skills underlying Chinese writing, and the relationship between Chinese writing and reading, in native Chinese-speaking children. The word “writing” here refers to the processes that children go through in writing characters from memory. Chinese writing is a less explored domain than Chinese reading. In alphabetic writing systems, phonological awareness, rapid automatized naming, and letter knowledge are known to be the core skills underlying …
Date: 2017-03-02