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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Wáng Lì 王力 (1900-1986)

(4,539 words)

Author(s): Mariana MÜNNING
1. Biography Wáng Lì (courtesy name Liǎoyī 了一) was born in 1900 into a poor family in Bóbái 博白, Guǎngxī province. He received a large part of his education from his father Wáng Zhēnlún 王貞倫 and through autodidactic studies. To earn money, Wáng Lì started teaching in primary school when he was 17. This raised in him the question of didactics and teaching strategies for the study of Classical Chinese and classical sources, which were at that time still an integral part of primary school education (Gr…
Date: 2017-03-02

Warring States to Medieval Chinese

(6,693 words)

Author(s): Barbara MEISTERERNST
The period at issue is an important transitional period for the Chinese language; by its end, the basis of the grammar of Modern Chinese had been fully established. The substantial changes the Chinese language is subject to during this period affect all aspects of grammar, i.e., phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon. This article is mainly confined to syntactic changes; changes in the phonology, the morphology and the lexicon are discussed in separate articles. 1. The Written and Spoken Language Issue Although most Chinese texts from the Archaic period (comprising Earl…
Date: 2017-03-02

Wèi Jiàngōng 魏建功 (1901-1980)

(2,239 words)

Author(s): Mariana MÜNNING
Wèi Jiàngōng 魏建功 was born in 1901 in Xīchǎng 西場, Rúgāo 如皋 county (today a part of Hǎi'ān 海安 county) in Jiāngsū province into a relatively wealthy and well-educated family. Fascinated by folk songs of his native area since childhood, this interest led him to study folklore. At the Nántōng Middle School (Nántōng zhōngxué 南通中學) he discovered his interest in philology and was introduced to etymology and Chinese sources, such as the Shuōwén jiězì 說文解字 and the Ěryǎ 爾雅. The recently established school offered a modernized and westernized curriculum, used English textbooks in so…
Date: 2017-03-02

Wén bái yì dú 文白異讀 (Literary and Colloquial Readings)

(3,739 words)

Author(s): Hsiu Fang YANG
The terms “literary reading” ( wéndú 文讀) and “colloquial reading” ( báidú 白讀) refer to different readings (“pronunciations”) of the same character depending on whether it represents a morpheme in the colloquial or the literary lexical layer. Thie phenomenon is widespread in Sinitic languages and has existed for a long time. In his 11th-century book Guī tián lù 歸田錄 [Recordings of my return to the fields], Ōuyáng Xiū 歐陽修 (1007–1072) notes that in ordinary speech, including that of well-educated people, the common verb 打 ‘hit, do’ is pronounced as an open syllable (ancestral to modern )…
Date: 2017-03-02

Wén 文 versus zì 字

(2,049 words)

Author(s): Francoise BOTTÉRO
Wén 文 and 字 are customarily presented as basic terms for the study of the Chinese writing system and usually interpreted as ‘simple graphs’ ( wén) versus ‘compound characters’ ( ). For a now classic statement of this type see, e.g., Duàn Yùcái 段玉裁, 1735–1815, in his famous Shuōwén Commentary ( Shuōwén jiězì zhù, 1988:15A 2b, cf. Hú Pǔ’ān 1937:1). Since the meanings of these two words have changed with time, it is worth retracing their terminological history. The clarification of their different meanings is necessary in order to gain a better u…
Date: 2017-03-02

Westernization of Chinese Grammar

(2,427 words)

Author(s): Edward GUNN
Westernized grammatical innovations in Chinese were largely the result of large-scale translation of Western texts beginning in the late nineteenth century. Translations into Chinese were done primarily via Japanese translations of those texts or directly from English, but also from other European languages. Because the overwhelming majority of Chinese university students going abroad studied in Japan, Japanese lexical and grammatical features used to translate Western texts came to dominate Chi…
Date: 2017-03-02

Western Views of the Chinese Language

(4,295 words)

Author(s): Mariarosaria GIANNINOTO | Giorgio CASACCHIA
Western approaches to the Chinese language have gone through several phases. Some firsthand information about the Chinese language and writing system reached Europe in the 13th century. European views of Chinese were largely shaped by 16th and 17th century missionary accounts, some of which were translated into several European languages and distributed in different countries (Lach 1965:743; Mungello 1989:48, 75, Klöter 2011:27). In the 17th century, the Chinese language became a topic in Europe…
Date: 2017-03-02