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Grammaticalization and Lexicalization

(2,431 words)

Author(s): Alain PEYRAUBE
1. Grammaticalization While it is generally accepted that the word “grammaticalization” was used for the first time by Antoine Meillet (1866–1936) in 1912, the process of grammaticalization has been a well-known phenomenon for many centuries in China, at least from the 14th century, when Zhōu Bóqí 周伯琦 (1298–1369) stated that “today’s empty words are all former full words” ( jīn zhī xū zì jiē gǔ zhī shí zì  今之虚字皆古之實字; see Liú 2013). The process was later called xūhuà 虚化 ‘voiding’, before the term grammaticalization ( yǔfǎhuà 語法化) was coined in the 1980s. In fact, the tradition of…
Date: 2017-03-02

Zhū Déxī 朱德熙 (1920-1992)

(2,292 words)

Author(s): Alain PEYRAUBE
1. Biography It is without doubt that Zhū Déxī 朱德熙 (alternative first names Xīpǔ 西溥 and Běnyǎn 畚演), former vice-president of Peking University (Běijīng Dàxué 北京大學), was one of the most influential Chinese linguists of the last century. He was born on February 3, 1920, in Chángchūn 長春 (Jílín province, northeastern China) into a wealthy family which originated from Sūzhōu 蘇州, and had seven younger sisters and brothers. His father Zhū Bóchén 朱伯諶 was a senior official in the Ministry of Finance in Nán…
Date: 2017-03-02

Periodization

(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

Historical Syntax

(3,398 words)

Author(s): Alain PEYRAUBE
It is essential to distinguish between the mechanisms of historical syntax and its motivations, as scholars working on historical syntax try to find answers to the following four questions: (i) What are the main mechanisms leading to grammatical change? (ii) What motivates it? (iii) What are its probable paths of progression through time? (iv) What are its end results? (Hopper and Traugott [1993] 2003:32).  1. Mechanisms of Grammatical Change The model for historical syntax presented here and developed in detail in Peyraube (2005, 2015a), has only two internal me…
Date: 2017-03-02