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

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

Polarity Items

(2,569 words)

Author(s): Hsiu-Chen Daphne LIAO
Polarity items are words or phrases which cannot appear in either positive or negative sentences. Roughly they can be divided into three types: negative polarity items [NPIs], positive polarity items [PPIs], and free choice items [FCIs]. NPIs occur only in environments with negative connotation (cf. Linebarger 1991). A Chinese example is given in (1), where the NP with rènhé 任何 ‘any’ is a NPI which cannot appear in positive sentences. 1. 張三*(沒有)認識任何人。   Zhāng Sān *(méi  yǒu)  rènshì  rènhé rén.   Zhāng Sān     not  have  know   any person   ‘Zhāng Sān *(doesn’t) know anyone.’ In additi…
Date: 2017-03-02


(3,814 words)

Author(s): Yuling PAN
1. Introduction Politeness refers to using language to express the concept of being polite in social interaction. It is one of the most dynamic linguistic phenomena in language use because it is closely connected to many sociocultural factors, including ideology, power, social distance, and the perception of self in relation to others. For these reasons, politeness research has fascinated scholars in many fields. Research in the West on the subject of politeness dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, and theoretical debates over modeling linguistic p…
Date: 2017-03-02

Pòyīnzì 破音字 (Graphs with Multiple Readings)

(720 words)

Author(s): Jingtao SUN | Hede WU
破 literally means ‘break’,  pòyīn 破音 ‘break the pronunciation’, that is: break the usual convention in pronouncing a Chinese character, not to read it in its usual pronunciation. Pòyīnzì 破音字 then refers to a character having, in addition to its usual pronunciation, another pronunciation for a different meaning. There are two major reasons for the emergence of pòyīnzì. First, there is the loangraph ( jiǎjiè 假借) phenomenon. When referring to a morpheme that lacked a character or that had not been consistently represented by a single character, ancient wri…
Date: 2017-03-02

Prague School Linguistics

(3,005 words)

Author(s): Lukáš ZÁDRAPA
The “Prague School of Linguistics” is the traditional designation for the Prague center of functional-structural philology, which was institutionalized as the “Prague Linguistic Circle” ( Pražský lingvistický kroužek) in 1926. Prague structuralists of the classical period (1926–1948) concentrated mainly on phonology (see, e.g., the works of N. Trubeckoj 1890–1938; R. Jakobson 1896–1982; V. Mathesius 1882–1945; B. Trnka 1895–1984) and theory of written language (J. Vachek 1909–1996), later on functional onomasiology and fu…
Date: 2017-03-02


(2,141 words)

Author(s): Xiaoguang LI
A declarative sentence often consists of two parts. One ascribes a certain property to something else; the other stands for an entity to which this property is ascribed. The two parts are described as the predicate and the subject respectively (Notions of "Subject"). In Chinese, verbs, adjectives, and nouns can all serve the function of the principal constituent of the predicate. Verb phrases often function as the predicate. Verbs are traditionally classified into transitive and intransitive verbs, depending on whether they require an object or not. Trans…
Date: 2017-03-02

Presupposition Triggers

(2,739 words)

Author(s): Yan JIANG
A presupposition is a linguistically triggered assumption that the speaker takes for granted to be mutually manifest between him and the addressee. If an assumption is more explicitly articulated than being merely triggered, it can be expressed as an assertion, which is fully encoded. If on the other hand, an assumption is expressed even less explicitly than being triggered, then it can be conveyed as an implicature, which is pragmatically inferred from a given assertion as an extra layer of com…
Date: 2017-03-02

Processing Classifiers and the Count-Mass Distinction

(4,790 words)

Author(s): Peggy LI
This article reviews psycholinguistic studies on classifiers that have provided insights into human categorization behavior, human conceptual structures, and cross-linguistic universals and variation in language processing. Following "Classifiers, Nominal", the term “classifier” will refer to sortal classifiers (also known as individual or “count” classifiers in the literature). In some cases, sortal classifiers are contrasted with mensural classifiers (also known as measure words, “mass” classifiers, or massifiers). 1. Language as a Window to our Cognitive Structure 1…
Date: 2017-03-02

Prosodic Morphology

(3,238 words)

Author(s): Shengli FENG
Prosodic morphology studies the shapes and sizes of canonical words and affixation in a language. Although it is a new area in Chinese linguistics as well as in general linguistics, many prosodic morphological phenomena have been recognized starting a half century ago. Guō first pointed out the syllabic flexibility of Chinese vocabulary items in 1938, while Lǚ first recognized the morphosyntactic preferences between 2+1 and 1+2 syllabic patterns in 1963. For example, see (1). 1. a. 鞋廠 皮鞋廠 *鞋工廠 皮鞋工廠     xiéchǎng píxié chǎng *xié gōngchǎng       píxié gōngchǎng     ‘shoe factory’ ‘leather…
Date: 2017-03-02

Psycholinguistics, Overview

(7,185 words)

Author(s): James MYERS
1. Introduction In its primary sense, psycholinguistics is an interdisciplinary field in which linguists and psychologists use behavioral evidence to study how language is processed in the normal adult mind, though more broadly psycholinguistics also encompasses the learning of language by children and adults (language acquisition) and the implementation of language processing in the brain (neurolinguistics). This lemma gives an overview of psycholinguistics in its primary sense, reviewing its sco…
Date: 2017-03-02

Psychological Reality of Linguistic Structure

(2,776 words)

Author(s): James MYERS
This lemma reviews the notion of psychological reality and its application to Chinese linguistic structures. Linguistic structures claimed to be psychologically real are claimed to be psychologically active, not merely descriptively convenient, even if there is no direct physical evidence for them. In an early study on psychological reality, Sapir (1949) argued that phonemes are not merely notational tools for grouping physical sounds, but mental entities with causal effects on behavior. Describing how his Sarcee-speaking consultant cla…
Date: 2017-03-02

Pulleyblank, Edwin George (1922-2013)

(4,028 words)

Author(s): Jingtao SUN | Wolfgang BEHR
Edwin George Pulleyblank was born into a family of school teachers on August 7, 1922 in Calgary, Canada. In 1939, he finished secondary education and attended the University of Alberta on a provincial government scholarship. He graduated in 1942, majoring in Latin and Greek Classics. With this linguistic background and a fondness of mathematics, supported by his father, a mathematics teacher, since childhood, Pulleyblank was then recruited to join the “Ultra” intelligence project in cryptanalysi…
Date: 2017-03-02

Punctuation, Modern

(3,742 words)

Author(s): Anna STRYJEWSKA
Modern Chinese punctuation ( xīnshì biāodiǎn fúhào 新式標點符號) uses a combination of signs introduced from the West and those derived from the indigenous Chinese tradition. The currently adopted set of punctuation marks evolved in parallel to the standard written vernacular Chinese ( báihuà 白話), taking shape in the debates of intellectuals starting from the late Qīng Dynasty and peaking around the time of the May Fourth Movement ( Wǔsì yùndòng 五四運動) of 1919. Most modern Chinese punctuation marks are very similar in shape and usage to their Western counterparts, but some …
Date: 1899-12-30

Punctuation, Premodern

(3,031 words)

Author(s): Matthias RICHTER
The prejudice that, before the introduction of a largely English style modern punctuation in the early twentieth century, Chinese written texts were unpunctuated results from several factors: The early dissemination and transmission of texts in print in China marginalized handwritten sources; and in printed texts punctuation indeed played a minor role. Moreover, punctuation is often too narrowly understood primarily as a means of delimiting sentences and separating units within these, and this i…
Date: 2017-03-02

Puyuma Language

(4,534 words)

Author(s): Stacy F. TENG
1. General Introduction 1.1 Geographic distribution Puyuma (Bēinányǔ 卑南語 in Chinese) is an Austronesian language spoken in Táiwān. The Puyuma people reside in southeastern Táiwān in Taitung (Táidōng 台東) County. The total population of Puyuma was around 12,000 in 2013, but the number of Puyuma speakers is probably less than 1,000. The Puyuma live in eight villages, and each village speaks a different dialect. Map 1. Geographical distribution of the Puyuma dialects 1.2 Dialect group classification and genealogical position According to Dīng (1978) and Li (1991), all dialects…
Date: 2017-03-02