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A Social View on the Chinese Language

Jerome L. Packard

A Social View on the Chinese Language is intended to be a general linguistic introduction to the Chinese language for the general reader and can be used in beginning-level Chinese linguistics courses. It is different from other Chinese linguistics surveys because, in addition to the usual areas of interest (such as the Chinese dialects, the history of the language, the characters and the grammar), it offers a view into linguistic phenomena that are also related to human behavior and society, such as how Chinese children and US college students learn Chinese, how the brain processes Chinese, the genetic origins of Chinese, language disorders and language loss in Chinese, differences in Chinese language use in different social groups, studies of Chinese reading and psycholinguistic aspects of Chinese language use.
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List of Figures



Figure 2.1Routes of migration into East Asia—the ‘southern’ route (red and white arrows), and the ‘overlapping’ model, which combines the northern (blue arrows) and southern routes

Figure 2.2The Split of the Proto-Sino-Tibetan Group into Proto-Tibeto-Burman and Proto-Chinese

Figure 2.3Proto-Sino-Tibetan language family tree

Figure 3.1Comparison of Tense and Aspect

Figure 3.2Min ‘Tone Sandhi Circle’

Figure 3.3Phonological Distance from Beijing Mandarin based on textual database comparison

Figure 3.4Hierarchical cluster trees for 15 Mandarin dialects and Chinese regionalects, based on (a) subjective intelligibility ratings, and (b) subjective similarity ratings

Figure 4.1Script types in the development of Chinese writing

Figure 4.2Eight basic Chinese character strokes

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