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.

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Reading Characters and Words, Behavioral Studies

(2,698 words)

Author(s): In-Mao LIU | Jei-Tun WU
Reading is a process of transforming symbols into sounds (or representations of sounds) for the purpose of deriving meaning. Orthography generally refers to the rules about how to write these symbols. In the context of Chinese, the main concerns are “character recognition”, “word segmentation”, and “character-sound translation”. 1. Character Recognition Character recognition generally refers to character-form identification, from which meaning is retrieved. For understanding character recognition, the following topics are of general interests:…
Date: 2017-03-02


(1,412 words)

Author(s): Chen-sheng Luther LIU
The meaning of reciprocity in Chinese reciprocal sentences, especially regarding distributivity and what is called grain ambiguity, cannot (as we will see below) be derived from the two major theories of reciprocals: the intrinsic theory of Heim et al. (1991) and the relational theory of William (1991). This may be related to the fact that, whereas in some languages reciprocals are pronominal, Chinese reciprocals like hùxiāng 互相 , jiāohù 交互 , jiāoxiāng 交相, zìxiāng 自相, and bǐcǐ 彼此, all meaning ‘mutually’, always occur as adverbs. Predicates modified by them require a …
Date: 2017-03-02

Reconstruction, Methodology

(5,965 words)

Author(s): William H. BAXTER
Linguistic reconstruction is the process of making inferences about languages that are no longer spoken. Sometimes the goal is primarily to reconstruct some particular synchronic linguistic state: the language of a certain body of texts, or the language ancestral to a certain group of later languages. But in a broader sense, linguistic reconstruction involves the reconstruction of entire linguistic histories: not only what a particular language was like at a certain point in time, but also how i…
Date: 2017-03-02


(4,072 words)

Author(s): Feng-fan HSIEH
1. Introduction Sinitic languages are morphologically poor in the domain of inflection, and derivation is equally typically not realized by means of morphophonemic alternations either. Aside from compounding, reduplication may be regarded as the most well-represented morphological process in these analytical languages. Morphologically speaking, reduplication is affixation, although it has long been accepted, albeit not uncontroversially, that the reduplicative affix (i.e., the reduplicant) is copied from the stem or the root that undergoes…
Date: 2017-03-02

Reference Processing and Discourse

(2,041 words)

Author(s): Yulong XU
Reference to entities talked about in discourse can be expressed in Chinese by using different types of referring expressions, and reference processing is an important sub-task of discourse processing, whose main purpose is to determine which discourse entity is referred to by a particular referring expression used in a particular discourse context. 1. Forms of Reference and Their Discourse Functions According to their form, Mandarin nominal referring expressions can be classified into the following 6 types: 1. indefinite noun phrases, which take the general form …
Date: 2017-03-02

Relative Clause Comprehension, Neurolinguistic Studies

(4,285 words)

Author(s): Chin-Lung YANG
1. Introduction Studies of relative clause (RC) processing in Chinese are motivated by the fact that Chinese sentences containing a RC have a “mixed-headed” structure. While in Chinese the verb phrase (VP) is head-initial as in English and many other languages, the structure of the nominal phrase is rigorously head-final, unlike English but consistent with head-final languages like Japanese, Korean and Hindi (Yamashita et al. 2011). In Chinese, nominal modifiers and the marker de 的 both precede the head noun in adjectives (e.g., měilì de huāduǒ 美麗的花朵 ‘a beautiful flower’), geni…
Date: 2017-03-02

Relative Clauses

(3,771 words)

Author(s): Francesca DEL GOBBO
1. Typology A relative clause is a clause that modifies a noun phrase, as illustrated in the following example: 1. [我給你的]書   [wǒ  gěi   nǐ     de]  shū    1sg  give  2sg  sub  book   ‘the book that I gave you’ Relative clauses in Mandarin are characterized by the following features: 1. they are prenominal; 2. they do not contain a relative pronoun (note that suǒ 所 is not a relative pronoun (see Chiu 1995, Jiang 2008 and Aldridge, in press, and references cited there); 3. they generally require the presence of the nominal modification marker de; 4. they can contain gaps or resumptive pronouns; 5.…
Date: 2017-03-02


(6,947 words)

Author(s): Bianca BASCIANO
Resultative constructions consist of a main verb denoting some event and a secondary predicate expressing the result of the event, as e.g., English I hammered the metal flat. Chinese has two kinds of resultative constructions: the resultative phrase, which has the form V- de 得 VP/S, and resultative V-V compounds.   1. The Resultative Phrase The resultative phrase has been analyzed as a biclausal structure, consisting of a matrix verb and a resultative clause (see e.g., Huang 1988, 1992, Li 1998, 2005), which is structurally represented as the complement of the matrix verb. The morpheme de…
Date: 2017-03-02

Rgyalrong Language

(3,367 words)

Author(s): Guillaume JACQUES
1. Introduction Rgyalrong is a group of four languages spoken in Sìchuān province, People's Republic of China. These languages, along with Lavrung and Horpa/Rtau, belong to the Rgyalrongic branch of the Sino-Tibetan family (Sun 2000); they are likely to be closely related to other languages such as Pumi, Muya, Tangut, Queyu and Qiang within a larger Qiangic branch. The four Rgyalrong languages are known by various names, as some scholars use the Tibetan place names of the area where these languages are spoken, while others use the Chinese transcription of these names. Eastern Rgyalrong…
Date: 2017-03-02