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


(1,617 words)

Author(s): Guisen TIAN
“Taboo” refers to a prohibition of human activity or behavior based on the belief that such behavior goes against existing cultural or social conventions, ethical standards or religious beliefs. The word was borrowed from a Polynesian language, and its first recorded use in English was by Captain James Cook in his description of his third voyage round the world in 1777. According to Steiner (1956:145), Polynesian taboos are usually associated with two kinds of prohibitions: prohibitions of any p…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tai-Kadai Languages

(4,265 words)

Author(s): Yongxian LUO
The Tai-Kadai languages form one of the world’s major language families, as they are spoken by close to 100 million speakers (Diller et al. 2008). The language family extends over a vast linguistic area covering much of mainland Southeast Asia. Within China, Tai-Kadai speakers occupy an area adjacent to Southeast Asia extending eastwards to Hǎinán Island and Guǎngdōng Province and westwards to Déhóng 德宏 prefecture in Yúnnán province on the China-Burma border, northwards to Guìzhōu and the Yúnnán-Sìchuān border, and so…
Date: 2017-03-02

Táiwān: Language Situation

(3,013 words)

Author(s): Henning KLÖTER
1. Introduction Located off the eastern coast of China and covering an area slightly smaller than the Netherlands and slightly larger than the US State of Maryland, the island of Táiwān is home to some 23 million people speaking Sinitic and non-Sinitic languages. Together with the People’s Republic of China and Singapore (Singapore: Language Situation), Táiwān is one of three political entities with Mandarin as an, or the, official language. Formerly a gateway for Chinese immigrants and largely-ne…
Date: 2017-03-02

Táiwān/PRC Divide and the Linguistic Consequences

(2,057 words)

Author(s): Henning KLÖTER
The political division of Táiwān and China dates back to 1895, when Táiwān became a colony of Japan. In 1949, four years after the end of World War II and Japanese colonial rule in Táiwān, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded and the government of its predecessor, the Republic of China (ROC), was relocated to Táiwān. Thus, except for the four years between 1945 and 1949, both sides of the Táiwān Strait have been under separate political rule for more than a century. 1. Language Planning and Standards The political division has had various consequences on the formation of …
Date: 2017-03-02

Táiwān Spoken Chinese Corpus

(1,691 words)

Author(s): Kawai CHUI | Huei-ling LAI | Hui-Chen CHAN
1. Introduction The Taiwan Spoken Chinese Corpus, also known as The NCCU Corpus of Spoken Chinese, is a project of documenting spoken Mandarin, spoken Hakka (Kèjiā 客家), and spoken Southern Mǐn (Mǐnnán 閩南), whereby open online access to the data is provided for non-profit-making research and teaching. Taken together, Mandarin, Hakka, and Southern Mǐn are spoken by the majority of the Táiwān population, and only a small fraction (about 2%) speaks indigenous languages. Documentation of the spoken var…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tangut Language

(3,583 words)

Author(s): Marc MIYAKE
1. General The Tangut language (also known as Xīxià 西夏; Tangut 1mi4 1ngwu’1) was spoken by the Tangut, an extinct ethnic group who resided in the Tangut Empire (Tangut 1phon2 2be4 2lheq4 2leq4 ‘Great State of the White and High’) in what is now northwestern China (Níngxià and parts of Gānsù, Qīnghǎi, Shǎnxī, and Inner Mongolia). Tangut was the de facto official language of the Tangut state and may have been used as a lingua franca among the ethnic groups of the Tangut Empire: the Tangut, the Chinese, Tibetans, and Uighurs. The Tangut language continued t…
Date: 2017-03-02


(1,491 words)

Author(s): Dan JURAFSKY
1. Introduction The story of tea begins where the far southwest of what is now China's Yúnnán province meets what is now northeastern Burma and Thailand, somewhere between the Mekong, Irawaddy, and Salween rivers. The tea plant camellia sinensis is native to a wide area that includes this region, and it was probably somewhere near here that it was first domesticated. A number of linguistic groups arrived in this region very early, first speakers of Mon-Khmer (the proto-language ancestral to Cambodian, Vietnamese, and other languages…
Date: 2017-03-02

Telegraph Codes

(2,629 words)

Author(s): Thomas S. MULLANEY
Chinese telegraph codes ( Zhōngwén diànmǎ 中文電碼) are symbolic languages used to render Chinese characters amenable to transmission within an international telegraphic network that, at its inception, permitted only the transmission of letters, numbers, and a highly limited number of symbols. In April 1871, a telegraphic cable between Shànghǎi and Hong Kong was put into official operation, connecting the Qīng empire to the rapidly expanding international network (Baark 1997:82). Two decades earlier, individuals began to explore the possib…
Date: 2017-03-02


(5,597 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
1. Definitions In a discussion of tense, we need to distinguish at least three types of tense: morphological, syntactic, and semantic tense (for discussion, see Sun 2014). Before doing that, however, we need to define the notion of tense more generally. Informally speaking, tense is about temporally locating the event reported on in a sentence relative to the moment at which the sentence is uttered. For a more technical definition, it is necessary to distinguish three “Times”, which (using Klein’s…
Date: 2017-03-02

Terms of Address, Modern

(3,634 words)

Author(s): Yueguo GU
1. Introduction  This article is about verbal expressions used to address persons directly or indirectly in modern China, primarily Mainland China, since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. The set comprises two general categories: (1) ad hoc address terms, e.g., tuīchēde 推車的 ‘the person pushing the bike’, dàiyǎnjìngde 戴眼鏡的 ‘the person wearing glasses’; and (2) stable, highly lexicalized ones. The latter is traditionally divided, grammatically speaking, into four sub-sets: pronouns, proper names, titles, and kinship terms. The ad hoc class will be left untouched,…
Date: 2017-03-02

Terms of Address, Premodern

(2,310 words)

Author(s): Daniel KÁDÁR
1. Introduction Terms of address played a fundamental role in premodern forms of both “mediated” and “immediate” Chinese interpersonal interaction (Goffman 1967), and they continue to be regarded as important in modern times. Chinese historical forms of address have a number of interrelated characteristics worth noting: The premodern lexicon of Chinese address terms has an extensive size; This extensive size is due to a) the intrinsic relationship between address forms as conventionalized indexicals and Chinese ideologies, in particular (Neo-)Co…
Date: 2017-03-02