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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Tonal Notation, Premodern

(3,107 words)

Author(s): Richard VanNess SIMMONS
The various types of tonal notation for Chinese have always been aligned with the Chinese tradition regarding tones and their categories. Among them, there are essentially three general strategies: to mark tone by category using name or number, by the use of added marks or diacritics, or by spelling convention. The oldest method is to simply indicate the tone category— píng 平, shǎng 上, 去, 入. Sometimes an upper and lower register distinction is indicated, as qīng 清- zhuó 濁, yīn 陰- yáng 陽, or shàng 上- xià 下. Almost as old in origin is the use of circular marks to identify the to…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tonal Perception, Behavioral Studies

(1,803 words)

Author(s): Peggy MOK
1. Perceptual Correlates of Tones There is a wide consensus that fundamental frequency (F0, which is determined by the rate of vocal fold vibration) is the major acoustic correlate and the primary perceptual cue of lexical tones in both Cantonese (Fok-Chan 1974) and Mandarin (Howie 1976). Native listeners, however, weigh the perceptual dimensions differently. Gandour (1984) found that while both F0 height and F0 direction are important perceptual dimensions of tones, Cantonese listeners attached more…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tonal Perception, Neurolinguistic Studies

(5,364 words)

Author(s): Jackson T. GANDOUR | Ananthanarayan Ravi KRISHNAN
1. Introduction Pitch is one of the most important information-bearing components of speech (Laver 1994). Tone languages like Chinese offer advantages for investigating neural mechanisms underlying pitch at different levels of processing because of its phonemic status at the syllable level (Yip 2003). Dynamic variations in voice fundamental frequency contours provide the dominant acoustic cue for tone recognition (Gandour 1994). Behavioral data, e.g., lesion deficits after stroke (Eng et al. 1996; Gandour 1998, review; Liang 2008; Wong 2002, review; Yiu and Fok 1…
Date: 2017-03-02


(4,663 words)

Author(s): Zhiming BAO
1. Introduction Tone is the linguistic use of pitch, that is, when pitch is used to convey meaning, it is called tone. Pitch is the auditory impression of the acoustic signals of speech sounds, especially the frequencies, which are determined by the vibration of the vocal folds. We measure frequencies in hertz, the number of closing-and-opening cycles of the vocal folds within a second. Pitch, by contrast, is subjective and cannot be calibrated in the same manner. There is, however, a positive cor…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tone and Intonation

(2,901 words)

Author(s): Wai-Sum LEE | Eric ZEE
Chinese is a tone language and, like all other languages, it also uses intonation. While the tones are lexically distinctive, intonation conveys syntactic information. As tone and intonation, which have different functions, are materialized simultaneously by the use of pitch variation, interaction between the two is expected to occur. To explain the effect of intonation on tone in Standard Chinese, Chao (1933, 1968) uses the analogy of small ripples (tone) gliding on large waves (intonation) and…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tone in Whispered Speech

(1,491 words)

Author(s): Man GAO
1. Introduction Whispering is a natural mode of communication; it is used for instance to reduce the perceptibility of speech. Unlike normal speech, the vocal folds remain open during whispering, which means that pitch is absent. Tone languages such as Mandarin utilize pitch differences for lexical contrast (in the form of lexical tones). While pitch is the most important perceptual cue to identify Mandarin tones, Mandarin speakers can understand each other and even retrieve lexical information in…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tone, Music, and Singing

(2,590 words)

Author(s): Lian-Hee WEE
1. Musicality of Tone Linguistic tone is typically manifested as pitch, itself a musical quality. Consequently, linguistic tone and music are likely to be correlated either in the musicality of the linguistic tone itself or in how linguistic tones and musical tune may be mutually constrained when singing. Linguistic tone refers not to the modulation of pitch over an utterance, but rather to pitch features that are lexically contrastive. This is illustrated below with a comparison between Tiānjīn 天津 Mandarin, which is a tonal language (see Wee…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tone Sandhi

(1,740 words)

Author(s): Zhiming BAO
1. Introduction All modern Chinese dialects have lexical tone, although they vary considerably in the size and behavior of their tone inventories. When tones occur in a compound or phrase, they may undergo change. This phenomenon is known as tone sandhi ( liándú biàndiào 連讀變調) and is found in many, though not all, varieties of Chinese. In the Chinese linguistics literature, the term citation tone refers to tones that are part of the lexical specification of morphemes, which are typically identified with individual written characters, an…
Date: 2017-03-02


(6,041 words)

Author(s): Xiaonong ZHU
1. Introduction This article is concerned with the emergence of contour tone, which is found mainly in languages of East and Southeast Asia (ESA) but also in some American indigenous languages. African-type register tone will not be dealt with here as it differs phonetically and phonologically from contour tone to a considerable extent and might have a different source of origin. Studies pertaining to tone have a long history in Chinese philology. Although such studies have mainly been concerned with the split and merger of tones during and after the medi…
Date: 2017-03-02

Topic and Comment

(4,312 words)

Author(s): Randy LAPOLLA
In his Grammar of Spoken Chinese (1968), still the best grammar of Mandarin available, Y.R. Chao states that all clauses in Chinese are topic-comment, and there are no exceptions, though there are some clauses that only have comments, as in (1): 1. 下雨了。   Xià   yǔ     le.   fall  rain  csm   ‘It’s raining.’ Put very simply, the structure of the clause has two parts: the topic, which is reference to some referent available for comment; and the comment, which supplies some information about that topic. Chao (1955, 1959) argued that word order is no…
Date: 2017-03-02

Traditional Chinese Phonology

(7,649 words)

Author(s): Guillaume JACQUES
Chinese historical phonology differs from most domains of contemporary linguistics in that its general framework is based in large part on a genuinely native tradition. The non-Western outlook of the terminology and concepts used in Chinese historical phonology make this field extremely difficult to understand for both experts in other fields of Chinese linguistics and historical phonologists specializing in other language families. The framework of Chinese phonology derives from the tradition of rhyme (= rime) books and rhyme tables, which dates back to t…
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcribing Foreign Names

(3,339 words)

Author(s): Feng-fan HSIEH
The purpose of this lemma is to summarize some general principles for transcribing foreign names into Chinese characters, in particular, Standard Chinese (SC). It is not controversial that the Chinese language has long been noted for its resistance to “phonetic borrowings” from foreign languages (Amelung et al. 2001; Norman 1988; Novotná 1967; Wiebusch and Tadmor 2009, among others; see also The World Loanword Database [WOLD]). Specifically, in comparison to Japanese and Korean, Standard Chinese is highly resistant to phonetic loans (or, so…
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcription Conversion Tables

(100 words)

Tones* Hànyǔ pīnyīn 漢語拼音 Wade-Giles Zhùyīn fúhào 注音符號 (Bopomofo) IPATone 1āa1ㄚa55˥Tone 2áa2ㄚˊa35˦˥Tone 3ǎa3ㄚˇa214˨˩˦Tone 4àa4ㄚˋa51˥˩Neutral toneaa0 / a5ㄚ˙a*In Gwoyeu Romatzyh, the four tones are incorporated into the spelling as indicated below. The neutral tone is marked by using the first-tone form with a preceding period. Hànyǔ pīnyīn** 漢語拼音 Wade-Giles Zhùyīn fúhào 注音符號 (Bopomofo) IPA Gwoyeu Romatzyh (Tone 1) Gwoyeu Romatzyh (Tone 2) Gwoyeu Romatzyh (Tone 3) Gwoyeu Romatzyh (Tone 4)aaㄚ[a]aaraaahaiaiㄞ[aj]aiairaeayananㄢ[an]anarnaanannangangㄤ[ɑŋ]angarngaanganqao…

Transcription Systems: EFEO System (French)

(1,689 words)

Author(s): Christine LAMARRE
The EFEO romanization scheme was widely used to transcribe Chinese in non-English-speaking parts of Europe in the early 20th century. Its name is taken from an academic institution originally based in French Indochina, the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (French School of Far Eastern Studies). The EFEO has hosted renowned scholars such as Paul Pelliot (1878–1945), Henri Maspero (1883–1945), and Paul Demiéville (1894–1979); its missions included archaeological exploration, collection of manuscri…
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcription Systems: For Cantonese

(5,517 words)

Author(s): Shin KATAOKA | Yin Ping LEE
1. Introduction Cantonese, like Mandarin, has a long history of transliteration in Roman letters. In Hong Kong and Macau today, personal and place names in Romanization are often based on Cantonese (Cheng 2014). Romanization in Cantonese started as a by-product of Western missionaries’ contact with Chinese in the 19th century. One of the earliest attempts to Romanize Cantonese was made by Robert Morrison in his dictionary and reference grammar of Chinese in 1815 (Lee and Kataoka 2006). He invented the first systematic Cantonese Romanization system in his Vocabulary of the Canton D…
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcription Systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh 國語羅馬字

(4,274 words)

Author(s): Richard VanNess SIMMONS
Gwoyeu Romatzyh (Guóyǔ Luómǎzì 國語羅馬字) was the 'National Language Romanization' developed in the early 20th century during the first decades of the Republic of China. Frequently referred to as 'GR', Gwoyeu Romatzyh was the capstone of efforts to provide an infrastructure for the promotion of a unified national language. Developed primarily by Yuen Ren Chao 趙元任 (Zhào Yuánrèn 1892–1982), but with significant support and input from other contemporary scholars, GR represents the culmination of sophis…
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcription Systems: Hànyǔ pīnyīn 漢語拼音

(4,076 words)

Author(s): Dorothea WIPPERMANN
Hànyǔ pīnyīn (‘Chinese Spelling’) romanization was drafted in the People’s Republic of China and was officially introduced by a resolution of the People’s Congress on February 11, 1958. Its implementation was situated in the context of language and script reforms during the 1950s devised by the new Chinese government. The development of a new system for the representation of the sounds of standard Chinese was one of the main tasks of those reforms, besides the reform (simplification) of Chinese characters and popularization of the standard Chinese language (Pǔtōnghuà 普通話). With the …
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcription Systems, Overview

(4,851 words)

Author(s): Dorothea WIPPERMANN
Westerners have experimented with romanizations of Chinese for hundreds of years for a wide variety of purposes, and for more than a hundred years now, Chinese intellectuals have also participated in the development of romanizations. Romanizations are important tools for studying Chinese as a second language and recording Chinese words and expressions in non-Chinese (con)texts, but they have also gained some significance in internal Chinese written language usages and discourses since the end of…
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcription Systems: Wade-Giles (English)

(2,905 words)

Author(s): Dorothea WIPPERMANN
Wade-Giles romanization originated in a draft published in the book The Hsin Ching Lu or Book of Experiments (1859, Part III:61–86) by Sir Thomas Francis Wade (1818–1895), a British diplomat and since 1888 professor of Chinese at Cambridge University. His system became more popular after he introduced it in his Chinese language textbook Yü Yen Tzŭ Êrh Chi published in 1867. The former diplomat and since 1897 successor to Wade’s chair of Chinese, Herbert Allen Giles (1845–1835), further contributed to the popularization of the system by adopting and slightly modifying it in his famous A C…
Date: 2017-03-02

Transcription Systems: Zhùyīn fúhào 注音符號

(2,948 words)

Author(s): Dorothea WIPPERMANN
Zhùyīn zìmǔ 注音字母 originated in the “Movement for spelling Chinese” ( qièyīn yùndòng 切音運動) at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Its history cannot be separated from the “National Language movement” ( guóyǔ yùndòng 國語運動) which had also begun during that time. The call for a modern national language (including a written standard based on a unified and standardized spoken language) had been influenced by the political situation of the nineteenth century, when China was dominated by foreign imperialistic powers. The …
Date: 2017-03-02
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