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

Macau: Language Situation

(3,946 words)

Author(s): Raimundo ENEDINO DOS SANTOS
Macau (Mandarin Àomén, Cantonese Ou3mun4 澳門) is a small peninsular territory located off the southern coast of Guǎngdōng, on the west side of the Pearl River delta about 60 kilometers from Hong Kong. (Macau can also be spelled “Macao”. According to Moody [2008:13], “Macau” is commonly considered to be the Portuguese spelling and “Macao” the English spelling, but in fact both spellings have been used in both languages. “Macao” seems now to be preferred in official government documents. This article will consistently use “Macau”.) The language situation in Macau is the result of policies and historical facts that trace back to Macau’s unique role as a seaport connecting China to the outside world in the second half of the 16th century. The Portuguese presence in Macau was not an instance of typical colonization. The government of Míng China retained sovereignty, and allowed the Portuguese to administer the territory with the responsibility to deal with foreign trade. The encounter between Portuguese explorers and the Chinese people in Macau is a crucial element in the development of the lingu…
Date: 2017-03-02

Manchu Language

(3,674 words)

Author(s): Jerry NORMAN † | Steve WADLEY
The term “Manchu” can refer either to the traditional written language or to various modern vernacular forms of the language. Manchu was first written at the very end of the16th century and has continued to be employed down to the present day. In Northeast China, the original home of the Manchu-speaking peoples, the spoken language is now on the verge of extinction (Dài 2004:535–554). Sibe (Xībó 錫伯), a Tungusic language spoken in the Ili Valley in Xīnjiāng and a couple of other places is, in rea…
Date: 2017-03-02

Mandarin, Varieties of

(5,702 words)

Author(s): Richard VanNess SIMMONS
The word ‘Mandarin’ is used quite broadly in reference to varieties of Chinese. In present day usage it is a common English term for modern Standard Chinese. Thus where one will say in Chinese that one is learning Pǔtōnghuà 普通話, or Hànyǔ 漢語, or Huáyǔ 華語, or Guóyǔ 國語, or even Zhōngwén 中文, popular English usage is apt to refer to these as ‘Mandarin’ and not simply ‘Chinese’. Modern Standard Chinese is a Mandarin based language; but 'Mandarin' encompasses much more. Among specialists, Mandarin refers to the most widely distributed group of Chinese dialects, the Mandarin dialects or Guānhuà fāngyán 官話方言, which encompass the local forms of Chinese spoken north of the Yangtze River, in China’s northeast and northwest, as well as in the southwest. These dialects get their name from a term that originally referred to a prestige koiné spoken by officials and educated people in the Míng (1368–1644) and Qīng (1644–1912): Guānhuà 官話 ‘language of the officials’. This Guānhuà was itself based on the northern dialects and was the language that early missionaries and other Wester…
Date: 2017-03-02

Mǎshì wéntōng 馬氏文通

(4,691 words)

Author(s): Lukáš ZÁDRAPA
The first grammar of Chinese written in Chinese, entitled Mǎshì wéntōng 馬氏文通, was published in 1898; the original woodblock edition of that year was superseded by the moveable-types edition of 1904. The presently accepted view is that it was compiled by Mǎ Jiànzhōng 馬建忠 (1845–1900). The title is mostly translated as  Basic Principles for Writing Clearly and Coherently by Mister , based on Mair (1997:20). Literally, wén tōng means ‘perfect mastering of written language’. The book was intended as a practically oriented grammar of Classical Chinese (Warring Stat…
Date: 1899-12-30

Medieval Chinese Syntax

(9,337 words)

Author(s): Christoph ANDERL
1. General Observations and Periodization A definition of the periodization of Early Medieval Chinese (EMC) in terms of syntactic development can only be provided tentatively. By convention, the beginning of Early Medieval Chinese is usually associated with the introduction of Buddhism to China, and the beginning of translation activities from Indic languages from circa the 2nd century CE onwards. This dating is based on the observation that many new grammatical markers and syntactic constructions for the first time surfaced (although some may well have existed earlier in the spoken language) in translated Buddhist texts, and that translation activities eventually had a considerable impact on language development.…
Date: 2017-03-02

Menzerath's Law

(1,679 words)

Author(s): Cornelia SCHINDELIN
Menzerath’s Law is named after the German phonetician Paul Menzerath (1883–1954) who had observed that in German, longer words tend to contain shorter syllables, measured by their number …
Date: 2017-03-02

Metaphor and Metaphorical Language

(3,125 words)

Author(s): Ning YU
1. Cognitive Linguistic View of Metaphor: Conceptual Metaphor Theory Metaphor and metaphorical language became a prominent area of linguistic research with the rise of Cognit…
Date: 2017-03-02

Metaphor Processing

(2,694 words)

Author(s): Kathleen AHRENS
1. Overview Conceptual metaphors establish a relationship between two concepts, X and Y, which activates a figurative meaning of Y that is different from its literal meaning. For example, in (1) below, although the word gēnjī 根基 literally means ‘base/foundation’, here it refers metaphorically to ‘basis’. Thus, the metaphor has created a relationship between the concepts of IDEAS and BUILDINGS, in that an idea may (or may not) have a valid basis, just as a building may or may not have a strong foundation.…
Date: 2017-03-02