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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.

"Provocative and wide-ranging, A Social View on the Chinese Language, written by a well-known scholar in field of Chinese linguistics, presents all important aspects of Chinese, its origin, regionalects, writing, reading, learning, cognition, grammar, culture and history. It is an excellent handbook, superbly organized and compact, with all current discoveries in the field, and is the finest Chinese linguistics textbook I’ve seen. The explanations are very clear with rich examples and detailed illustrations. It will be beneficial for students and for anyone who wants to learn Chinese as a communicative tool or preserve it as a culture heritage."—Shengli Feng (冯胜利), Emeritus Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong

"A Social View on the Chinese Language is a timely and broadly framed introduction, which presents basic and diverse information from the evolution of our species, the sources of the languages and peoples of China, ... down to the complex kinship systems and the demographic effects of the recently discontinued one-child policy. The volume is useful toward understanding China, especially from linguistic and social perspectives. I recommend it highly not only for university coursework, but to the general public as well.”—William Shiyuan Wang, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Berkeley

“Based on the latest research, this fascinating and highly readable new book covers a surprisingly wide range of topics related to the Chinese language, including less commonly discussed issues such as dyslexia, aphasia, psychological aspects of Chinese reading, and Chinese language and the brain—topics which the author is uniquely qualified to discuss. Ideal for students in introductory courses in Chinese linguistics, language students who wish to learn more about the background of the language they’re studying, and the general reader who is curious about this increasingly important language.”—Cornelius C. Kubler, Stanfield Professor of Asian Studies, Williams College