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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(2,833 words)

Author(s): Zev HANDEL
1. Introduction Palatalization ( èhuà 腭化) is recognized as one of the most commonly occurring synchronic and diachronic processes in languages of the world. Chinese is no exception. As a synchronic process, non-contrastive palatalization of dental sibilants is common throughout the southern varieties of Chinese. In northern and central varieties, palatal sibilants are typically analyzed as phonemically distinct, although alternative analyses are possible. In the history of Chinese there have been tw…
Date: 2017-03-02


(5,015 words)

Author(s): Olivier VENTURE
The term paleography usually designates the study of ancient writing in all its aspects (decipherment, dating, hand identification, provenience identification…). The term gǔwénzìxué 古文字學 in Chinese, on the other hand, means the ‘study of ancient characters’. "Ancient characters" ( gǔwén 古文) here refers to Chinese writing before the Qín unification (221 BCE), as it is usually held that the form of the Chinese script became quite close to the modern one since that time. Chinese characters written before this period are difficult or imp…
Date: 2017-03-02

Pedagogical Grammar

(1,423 words)

Author(s): Shou-hsin TENG
In the field of learning Chinese as a second/foreign language (L2 Chinese), the English term ‘pedagogical grammar’ has been used variously, while its counterpart in Chinese, jiāoxué yǔfǎ 教學語法 , has a more consistent and standard reference, especially in mainland China. This is due to the fact that ‘grammar’ in general linguistics covers a wider range of meanings and definitions than the term yǔfǎ 語法 'grammar' in Chinese linguistics. The latter refers strictly to syntactic structures, though its competing alternative term jùfǎ 句法 'grammar' has been gaining ground in certain q…
Date: 2017-03-02

Peking University Treebank

(1,543 words)

Author(s): Weidong ZHAN
Ever since the 1990s, as statistical methods became the main stream in the field of natural language processing, increasing attention has been paid to deep tagging. The institutions that started to build the Chinese Treebank around 2000 include the University of Pennsylvania (USA), Academia Sinica (Táiwān), and Tsinghua University and Peking University (mainland China) (Xue and Xia 2000, Xue et al. 2005; Huang et al. 2000; Zhān 2000; Zhōu 2004; for more information see the appendix). This article focuses on the characteristics of the Peking University (PKU) Chinese Treebank. 1. Te…
Date: 2017-03-02

Penn Chinese Treebank

(1,963 words)

Author(s): Nianwen XUE
1. Historical Context The Penn Chinese Treebank Project (Xue et al. 2005), initiated in 1998 at the University of Pennsylvania, was developed at a time when the resurgence of statistical approaches to natural language processing led to rapid progress in syntactic parsing technologies and fueled the demand for multilingual treebanks, i.e., large corpora of manually parsed sentences that can be used to train and evaluate automatic syntactic parsers. Although decades of research in rule-based parsing had res…
Date: 2017-03-02

Perception and Production of Chinese Sounds by Non-native Speakers

(2,981 words)

Author(s): Bin LI | Jing SHAO
1. Perception 1.1 Perception of lexical tones There are four lexical tones in Mandarin. Tone 1 ( ā) is high level, Tone 2 ( á) low rising, Tone 3 ( ǎ) mid-falling and rising, and Tone 4 ( à) high falling. The major consensus of findings on Mandarin tone perception is that native tonal backgrounds help their speakers outperform those whose L1s are non-tonal, e.g., Cantonese speakers did much better than English speakers in discriminating Mandarin tone pairs (Y.-S. Lee et al. 1996). However, a tonal L1 seemed more interfering than facilitating for early bilingual speakers of H…
Date: 2017-03-02


(2,354 words)

Author(s): Alain PEYRAUBE
Ideally, periodization of the history of a language should be based on changes in all components of a language: phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the currently available histories of Chinese. There are several periodizations of the Chinese language, which are not compatible one with the other, in spite of several attempts to unify them. They differ according to the criteria used, which can be phonological, syntactical, or lexical. 1. Phonological Criteria In his monumental work Etudes sur la phonologie chinoise (1915–1926) [Studies…
Date: 2017-03-02

Periodization Table

(107 words)

English name Chinese name Time periodProto-ChineseYuánshǐ Hànyǔ 原始漢語Until ca. 500 BCEOld Chinese (a.k.a. Archaic Chinese)Shànggǔ Hànyǔ 上古漢語 ca. 1000 BCE–1st cent. CE Early Old ChineseShànggǔ qiánqī 上古前期ca. 11th cent.–6th cent. BCE Middle Old ChineseShànggǔ zhōngqī 上古中期ca. 6th–3rd cent. BCE Late Old ChineseShànggǔ hòuqī 上古後期ca. 2nd cent. BCE–1st cent. CEMiddle Chinese (a.k.a. Ancient Chinese; Medieval Chinese)Zhōnggǔ Hànyǔ 中古漢語ca. 3th cent.–10th cent. Early Middle ChineseZǎoqī Zhōnggǔ Hànyǔ 早期中古漢語ca. 3rd cent.–7th cent. Late Middle ChineseWánqī Zhōnggǔ Hànyǔ 晚期中古漢語ca. …

Personal Names

(2,510 words)

Author(s): Viviane ALLETON
The process of naming people in Chinese culture is a space where social determinations and individual impulses converge, and where one may observe the interplay of written and spoken forms of language. The official name of a Chinese person includes a family name, xìng 姓, followed by a given name, míng 名, a term that, in the context of personal naming, is often translated as ‘first name’, although in Chinese it conventionally occurs in the second, that is, last, position. The number of family names is relatively small, while given names are innu…
Date: 2017-03-02

Personal Pronouns

(4,047 words)

Author(s): Joanna SIO
1. Introduction This paper discusses the forms and usages of personal pronouns across Chinese dialects. We will provide a brief overview on the diachronic development of pronouns, forms of pronouns across modern dialects, and usages of pronouns in Mandarin and Cantonese. 2. Diachronic Development The discussion in this section is mainly taken from Pulleyblank (1995) and Norman (1988). 2.1 First-person There are two series of first-person pronouns in Classical Chinese: 1. Initial *l- in Old Chinese: 余, 予, 台 and zhèn 朕; 2. Initial *ŋ- in Old Chinese: 吾, 我, áng 卬.   (Pulleyblank …
Date: 2017-03-02