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- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2021. XXIV, 206 pp., 25 b/w ill., 3 color ill., 71 tables.
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Abbreviations
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Chinese Language Origins
- The Origins of Human Language
- Out of Africa into Asia
- The Traditional Chinese Language Historical Periods
- Old Chinese
- Middle Chinese
- Early Mandarin to Modern Mandarin
- From Proto-Chinese to Old Chinese
- The Origin of Chinese Tones
- Mandarin Reflexes of Derivation in Old Chinese
- The Linguistic Affiliation of Chinese
- Chinese Is Not Related to Japanese
- 3 Chinese Regionalects
- The Regionalects
- Mandarin (Putonghua, Guoyu, Huayu)
- Sound System
- Chinese Morphemes
- Chinese Words
- SVO Word Order and ‘Second Position’
- The Verb Phrase
- The Noun Phrase
- Question Formation
- Topic, Focus and Old Information
- Aspect versus Tense
- The Left Periphery
- Discourse Analysis
- Beijing Mandarin Slang—Beijing tuhua ‘北京土话’
- Wu (e.g., Shanghainese)
- Yue (e.g., Cantonese)
- Min (e.g., Taiwanese)
- Kejia (Hakka)
- Which Regionalect Is the ‘Most Difficult’?
- Why Is Mandarin the ‘Standard’ Regionalect?
- How Different Are the Regionalects?
- 4 Chinese Writing and Reading
- Chinese Writing: Origins and Development
- What Are Characters Like Now?
- Simple versus Complex Characters
- The Six Traditional Character Types—The liu shu (六书)
- Phonetic-Semantic Compounds: Phonetic and Semantic Radicals
- How Many Characters Are There?
- How Many Characters Do People Know?
- Simplified versus Traditional Characters
- Which Are Easier to Learn, Simplified or Traditional Characters?
- Reading Chinese—Psychological Aspects
- 5 Learning Chinese
- Chinese Children Learning to Read and Write
- Chinese Children Learning to Speak
- Speaking Chinese Affects Children Learning to Count
- Adults Learning to Read and Write
- Adults Learning to Speak
- 6 Chinese Language and the Brain
- Dyslexia (Reading Deficit) in Chinese
- Factor Analytic Dyslexia (‘Cognitive’ Dyslexia) in Chinese
- Aphasia (Language Loss) in Chinese
- 7 Chinese Language and Culture
- Chinese Phonetic Loan Translations and Culture
- Chinese Naming Conventions
- Chinese Language and Thought
- Chinese Language and Society
- The Speech Characteristics of Social Groups in China
- The Simplification of Chinese Kinship Terms—China’s One- Child Policy
- Chinese Language and Chinese Food
- 8 What Can We Expect for the Chinese Language?
- Chinese Regionalects
- Chinese Writing
- Chinese Syllables and Sounds
- Chinese Words and Linguistic Typology
8 What Can We Expect for the Chinese Language?
What Can We Expect for the Chinese Language?
Let us consider what the future may have in store for the Chinese language. Nobody can predict the future, and so what I will envisage will necessarily be speculative. But it is possible to make some predictions by reflecting on the structure of the language, which we have done, by looking at how it is currently being used, which we have also taken stock of, and then considering the changes that have taken place over the past 1000 years or so, which we have also reflected upon. The most straightforward prediction may be for one of the best-known features of Chinese—its regionalects.
The status of Mandarin is expected to consolidate as China’s lingua franca, perhaps at the expense of other regionalects, which may weaken and become more endangered as a result. In Shanghai, for example, the status of the Shanghai dialect of the Wu regionalect may lose much of its prestige and become supplanted by Mandarin more and more in the coming years.1 On the other hand, the Yue regionalect in the form of Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong may be an exception to this generalization. Cantonese is expected to maintain its popularity in Hong Kong, as it is used by over 90% of the population there, and support for Cantonese as the city’s main form of speech remains strong.2
The use of Chinese...
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