Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Chinese as a Monosyllabic Language
(1,913 words)

1. Introduction

From the 17th to the 20th century, it was generally assumed that Chinese was a monosyllabic language. Ineichen (1987:268) traces the origin of this idea back to the 17th century, to the works of Jesuits Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) and Joseph Henri Marie de Prémare (1666-1736). In the following centuries, linguists, sinologists, and missionaries all referred to Chinese as mo…

Cite this page
Emmelot VERMAAS, “Chinese as a Monosyllabic Language”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 28 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_000227>
First published online: 2015

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