Chinese Language(s)

Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs [TiLSM]

Book 215
Walter de Gruyter
Free sample

The major aim of the book is to trace the current structuring of the Chinese language(s) on the ground of Chinese linguistics. The research presented is based on the newest and most renowned sources, namely The Great Dictionary of Modern Chinese Dialects, and the Language Atlas of China.

The author discusses the role The Great Dictionary plays in analyzing the spectrum of linguistic differentiation in China and gives a detailed account of the kind of information the dictionary provides. As background, she sketches the development and current state of Chinese dialectology and dialect research. One of the author's aims is to show respect for the grand achievement the Dictionary undoubtedly is, but also to emphasize a critical distance to some of the views presented in it.

Apart from being an analysis of this particular Dictionary, the book presents data about the state of modern Chinese dialectology. It provides information about different classifications of the dialects and explains on what basis the classifications are made. Looking at Chinese dialectology from a Western point of view, the author aims to understand and present the Chinese perspective.

The book fills an important gap in the field of Western sinology. So far, despite lively discussions concerning the status of the varieties of Chinese and their taxonomy, full-scale studies on Chinese dialects have been almost non-existent in the Western World.

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About the author

Maria Kurpaska, Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan, Poland.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Walter de Gruyter
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Published on
May 26, 2010
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9783110219159
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / General
Literary Criticism / Asian / General
Social Science / Regional Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The volume brings together seventeen chapters by typologists and typologically oriented field linguists who have recently completed their Ph.D. theses. Through their case studies of selected theoretically relevant issues the authors highlight the mutual importance of language description, on the one hand, and of cross-linguistically informed theory, on the other. Faced with new data from previously unknown languages and even from lesser-studied varieties of European languages, linguists constantly have to deal with the inadequacy of established concepts and typologies, being pushed to further refine their classifications and to question the accepted borderlines between different categories, types, and levels of linguistic description.

The scope of the individual contributions to the volume varies from worldwide typological samples to family-internal typology to in-depth studies of single languages. The range of linguistic domains addressed include tonology, morphology, syntax, and lexical classes. Among the phenomena scrutinized are clitics, tones, case, agreement/indexation, localization, pluractionality, desideratives, lability, comitative constructions, raising, verb formation, nominal classification, parts of speech, and predicates of change. More general theoretical and methodological issues addressed include such topics as markedness, grammaticalization, lexicalization, and the integration of linguistic data and description.

The book is of interest to typologists and field linguists, as well as to any linguists interested in theoretical issues in different subfields of linguistics. A particular contribution of the volume is to present a synthesis of typological and descriptive approaches to the study of language, and to highlight the fact that broader typological study and the focused investigation of particular languages are interdependent ventures that necessarily inform each other.

This book reconsiders the classic topics of linguistic analysis and reflects on universal aspects of language from a typological and comparative perspective. The aim is to show the crucial interactions which occur at the different levels of grammar (phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax and pragmatics), illustrating their various roles in the structural organization of the sentence and exploring how interface relations contribute to yield interpretation in typologically different languages. The structural analysis is set within the Generative framework of grammar, though theoretical tenets are the outcome, rather than the starting point, of a study based on the observation of data.

As the basic intent is to show different phenomena across a wide range of languages, a 'semi-guided' method has been adopted in order to facilitate comprehension and assist the reader in the identification of language universals. For every topic, the discussion of previous literature is followed by cross-linguistic evidence so that theory can be checked against data and the relevant generalizations drawn. Ultimately, this approach reveals that grammar is based on a very limited number of universal principles, which operate yielding different effects at the different levels of the grammar. It implies that a real understanding of the language-system can only be derived from a comparative analysis in which the notion of interface plays a crucial role.

The seven chapters in the volume deal with categories and functions, argument structure, syntactic functions, the structure of noun phrases, adverbial modification, information structure and illocutive force. Throughout, the observation of data from 74 languages is a crucial element in the formulation and understanding of theoretical tenets.

This book is highly recommended for researchers and students interested in formal analysis from a typological, comparative perspective.

Spider Eaters is at once a moving personal story, a fascinating family history, and a unique chronicle of political upheaval told by a Chinese woman who came of age during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution. With stunning honesty and a lively, sly humor, Rae Yang records her life from her early years as the daughter of Chinese diplomats in Switzerland, to her girlhood at an elite middle school in Beijing, to her adolescent experience as a Red Guard and later as a laborer on a pig farm in the remote northern wilderness. She tells of her eventual disillusionment with the Maoist revolution, how remorse and despair nearly drove her to suicide, and how she struggled to make sense of conflicting events that often blurred the line between victim and victimizer, aristocrat and peasant, communist and counter-revolutionary. Moving gracefully between past and present, dream and reality, the author artfully conveys the vast complexity of life in China as well as the richness, confusion, and magic of her own inner life and struggle.

Much of the power of the narrative derives from Yang's multi-generational, cross-class perspective. She invokes the myths, legends, folklore, and local customs that surrounded her and brings to life the many people who were instrumental in her life: her nanny, a poor woman who raised her from a baby and whose character is conveyed through the bedtime tales she spins; her father; and her beloved grandmother, who died as a result of the political persecution she suffered.

Spanning the years from 1950 to 1980, Rae Yang's story is evocative, complex, and told with striking candor. It is one of the most immediate and engaging narratives of life in post-1949 China.
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