Literature written, edited, or published by Westerners in the Ming to Qing periods and pre-World War II are important source materials for the study of Chinese linguistics. Since the 1990s, linguistic study of the modern colloquial language through Western materials has been evolving and is a popular area of study. This paper reviews this developing field, explores its possibilities and problems, and puts forward ideas for future directions.
This paper introduces the study of modern Cantonese phonology through Western materials produced in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and sheds light on the effectiveness of using them for linguistic study and discusses some cautionary points when doing so. In general, the study of Cantonese in that period was based on Western materials. In the past two decades, linguistic studies on so-called “Early Cantonese” have widened in Chinese academia and new studies are being conducted using recently found materials. We trace the development and current state of the research, demonstrate its academic value, and make suggestions for future research directions.
This paper introduces and discusses three important sets of scholarly materials produced by Western missionaries on Hakka (the Basel Mission, the English Presbyterian Mission, and the Missions Étrangères de Paris). We provide a short review of the studies published on these materials during the last 20 years. We then give some examples of how these historical materials contributed to deepening our knowledge of modern colloquial Chinese. In conclusion, we assess the worth of these materials, while discussing their shortcomings, for the linguistic field.
This paper outlines the development of the phonetic system of Mandarin and introduces recent findings on modern Mandarin from a sociolinguistic perspective by examining Western materials. First, features of Mandarin as the lingua franca of the Ming to Qing periods are discussed. Second, we analyze the works of Western scholars and reveal that they did not have a common view of the Mandarin language during the nineteenth century. Last, we demonstrate that the phrase “location name + Mandarin” was first developed in Japan and introduced to China in the twentieth century. It should be noted that this phrase formation, like “Beijing Mandarin,” did not exist in the Ming to Qing periods.
Kirishitan materials, which were produced by Catholic missionaries between the middle of the sixteenth century and the middle of the seventeenth century, have long been studied to research the history of Japanese phonemes and grammar. More recently, however, they have also been studied increasingly in other fields, such as missionary linguistics and other disciplines in the humanities. In missionary linguistics, Kirishitan materials are examined along with other products of missionaries that were based on European linguistics, as seen in the case of the Latin-Portuguese-Japanese dictionary Dictionarium Latino Lusitanicum, ac Iaponicum by the Jesuits.
In Mandarin, ditransitive verbs such as “Jiǎ (假)” and “Jiè (借)” have both the meanings of BORROW and LEND; whereas in pre-Qin Chinese they are distinguished by pronunciation and ditransitive construction. Furthermore, in monotransitive construction, the object is IO when LEND verb occurs while the object is DO when BORROW verb occurs. The DO, in the monotransitive construction “V + DO” which means BORROW, can be served by a subordinative phrase whose attributive is IO (i.e. V + [IO + zhī (之) + DO]). With the decline of “zhī (之)”, the construction “V + [IO + DO]” which means BORROW, is reanalyzed as double-object construction by possessor raising. At this point, both the meanings of LEND and BORROW exist in double-object construction simultaneously, although they are still distinguished by pronunciation. After Song Dynasty, this syllabic contrast disappeared. Therefore, there is no formal difference between the meaning of LEND and BORROW when “Jiè (借)” occurs in double-object construction.
The rime dictionary Qieyun and redactions thereon that were published after the Lu Fayan’s Qieyun has been expanded upon and revised based on various materials. Even S2071, one of the remaining volumes of the original Qieyun, includes some youyin fanqie that are assumed to not have been included in the Lu Fayan’s Qieyun. While the youyin fanqie originating from the Lu Fayan’s Qieyun do not correspond much with the xiaoyun fanqie they refer to, the youyin fanqie added to S2071 do. Therefore, the fanqie added in S2071 are likely to have been supplemented by the Qieyun itself.
This article discusses the relationship between light tone and post-syllable tone sandhi in Shanxi dialects. When mapping the frequency with which the two tones occur, the ratio of the light tone is high in the northern and southern end regions of Shanxi, while the rate of post-syllable tone sandhi is high in the central region. Therefore, the two tones demonstrate geographically complementary distribution. The distributions of both are transitioning gradually, and it is recognized that post-syllable tone sandhi is gradually being replaced by the light tone. There are two types of post-syllable tone sandhi found in Shanxi dialects, one that is conditioned by post-syllable and the other that is conditioned by pre-syllable. Finally, we compare the words possessing light tone between the northern and southern areas in order to examine their agreement rates.
In natural Chinese discourse, Base space, containing a topic and related implicatures, is developed into Focus space, the main point of which is to comment on the topic. If the implicatures in the Base are incompatible with the comment in the Focus, the acceptability of the sentence will decrease significantly because the inconsistency between the implicatures and the comment is foregrounded. However, when the topic is realized as a pronoun instead of a simple gap, the topic becomes foregrounded and the acceptability rises because the troubling contradiction is backgrounded and unseen.
Using results of previous studies, this paper attempts to explain why designative subject constructions and assertive subject constructions are a syntactic form of opposition and semantically contrary in a “bounded/unbounded” and “marked/unmarked” theory. This paper argues that, under unmarked designative/assertive subject constructions, the designative subjects are usually represented through the predicative constituents that denote unbounded actions and properties, while the assertive subjects are usually represented through the predicative constituents that denote bounded actions and properties. In marked situations, this pattern admits exceptions. Finally, this paper attempts to addresses the correlation between designative subjects, assertive subjects, and its related sentences within the concept of a continuum.