Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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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

Early Release Version: content being added regularly, expected completion Fall 2016.

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

Macau: Language Situation

(3,946 words)

Author(s): Raimundo ENEDINO DOS SANTOS
Macau (Mandarin Àomén, Cantonese Ou3mun4 澳門) is a small peninsular territory located off the southern coast of Guǎngdōng, on the west side of the Pearl River delta about 60 kilometers from Hong Kong. (Macau can also be spelled “Macao”. According to Moody [2008:13], “Macau” is commonly considered to be the Portuguese spelling and “Macao” the English spelling, but in fact both spellings have been used in both languages. “Macao” seems now to be preferred in official government documents. This article will consistently use “Macau”.) The language situation in Macau is the result of …
Date: 2017-03-02

Manchu Language

(3,674 words)

Author(s): Jerry NORMAN † | Steve WADLEY
The term “Manchu” can refer either to the traditional written language or to various modern vernacular forms of the language. Manchu was first written at the very end of the16th century and has continued to be employed down to the present day. In Northeast China, the original home of the Manchu-speaking peoples, the spoken language is now on the verge of extinction (Dài 2004:535–554). Sibe (Xībó 錫伯), a Tungusic language spoken in the Ili Valley in Xīnjiāng and a couple of other places is, in rea…
Date: 2017-03-02

Mandarin, Varieties of

(5,702 words)

Author(s): Richard VanNess SIMMONS
The word ‘Mandarin’ is used quite broadly in reference to varieties of Chinese. In present day usage it is a common English term for modern Standard Chinese. Thus where one will say in Chinese that one is learning Pǔtōnghuà 普通話, or Hànyǔ 漢語, or Huáyǔ 華語, or Guóyǔ 國語, or even Zhōngwén 中文, popular English usage is apt to refer to these as ‘Mandarin’ and not simply ‘Chinese’. Modern Standard Chinese is a Mandarin based language; but 'Mandarin' encompasses much more. Among specialists, Mandarin refers to the most widely distributed group of Chinese dialects, the Mandarin dialects or Guānhuà fāng…
Date: 2017-03-02

Mǎshì wéntōng 馬氏文通

(4,691 words)

Author(s): Lukáš ZÁDRAPA
The first grammar of Chinese written in Chinese, entitled Mǎshì wéntōng 馬氏文通, was published in 1898; the original woodblock edition of that year was superseded by the moveable-types edition of 1904. The presently accepted view is that it was compiled by Mǎ Jiànzhōng 馬建忠 (1845–1900). The title is mostly translated as  Basic Principles for Writing Clearly and Coherently by Mister , based on Mair (1997:20). Literally, wén tōng means ‘perfect mastering of written language’. The book was intended as a practically oriented grammar of Classical Chinese (Warring Stat…
Date: 1899-12-30

Medieval Chinese Syntax

(9,337 words)

Author(s): Christoph ANDERL
1. General Observations and Periodization A definition of the periodization of Early Medieval Chinese (EMC) in terms of syntactic development can only be provided tentatively. By convention, the beginning of Early Medieval Chinese is usually associated with the introduction of Buddhism to China, and the beginning of translation activities from Indic languages from circa the 2nd century CE onwards. This dating is based on the observation that many new grammatical markers and syntactic constructions for the first time surfaced (although some may well have existed earlier in…
Date: 2017-03-02

Menzerath's Law

(1,679 words)

Author(s): Cornelia SCHINDELIN
Menzerath’s Law is named after the German phonetician Paul Menzerath (1883–1954) who had observed that in German, longer words tend to contain shorter syllables, measured by their number of phonemes. He hypothesized that analogous regularities would possibly hold in other languages as well as in non-linguistic areas. Gabriel Altmann assumed that Menzerath had found a general law of language which he expected to hold on all levels of linguistic analysis: “The longer a language construct the shorter its components (constituents)” (Altmann 1980:1), or, in mathematical formulation: y…
Date: 2017-03-02

Metaphor and Metaphorical Language

(3,125 words)

Author(s): Ning YU
1. Cognitive Linguistic View of Metaphor: Conceptual Metaphor Theory Metaphor and metaphorical language became a prominent area of linguistic research with the rise of Cognitive Linguistics in the early 1980s. The publication of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s seminal book Metaphors We Live By in 1980 marks the beginning of fruitful research on metaphor in various languages of the world including Chinese. Metaphor is a central topic in Cognitive Linguistics. If Cognitive Linguistics is “the study of ways in which features of language reflect other aspects…
Date: 2017-03-02

Metaphor Processing

(2,694 words)

Author(s): Kathleen AHRENS
1. Overview Conceptual metaphors establish a relationship between two concepts, X and Y, which activates a figurative meaning of Y that is different from its literal meaning. For example, in (1) below, although the word gēnjī 根基 literally means ‘base/foundation’, here it refers metaphorically to ‘basis’. Thus, the metaphor has created a relationship between the concepts of IDEAS and BUILDINGS, in that an idea may (or may not) have a valid basis, just as a building may or may not have a strong foundation. 1. 你的論點根基是什麼?   Nǐ     de    lùndiǎn     gēnjī  shì  shénme?   2sg  sub  argument  bas…
Date: 2017-03-02