Studies in Colloquial Chinese and Its History

Dialect and Text


Edited by Richard VanNess Simmons

ISBN : 978-988-8754-09-0

Language, Linguistics, Reference

May 2022

296 pages, 6″ x 9″, 8 b&w illus.; 1 map and 51 tables

  • HK$720.00

Studies in Colloquial Chinese and Its History: Dialect and Text presents cutting-edge research into issues regarding prestige colloquial languages in China in their spoken forms and as well as their relationship to written forms and the colloquial literary language. These include the standard regional languages and prestige dialects of the past, the influence of historical forms of spoken Chinese on written Chinese, the history of guānhuà and the history of báihuà, proto-dialects and supra-regional common languages (koines), and their relationship to spoken dialects. The various studies in this collection focus on the dialect groups with the most substantial written tradition, including Mandarin, Wu, Min, and Cantonese, in north, central and eastern coastal, and southern China respectively. The contributors explore the histories of these dialects in their written and spoken forms, presenting a variegated view of the history and development of the regional forms, including their evolution and influence. This edited volume expands our understanding of the underlying factors in the formation of supra-regional common languages in China, and the written forms to which they gave rise. It broadens our understanding of the evolution of written and spoken forms of Chinese from a comparative perspective, revealing the interrelationships of various areal forms of Chinese and historical koines in China.

Richard VanNess Simmons (史皓元is a professor in the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong, and director of the Chinese Language Center; he is also professor emeritus at Rutgers University. His research focuses on the history, geography, and relationships of Mandarin and the Chinese dialects. He has done extensive fieldwork investigating and mapping China’s Mandarin and Wu dialects. His publications include Shanghainese-English/English-Shanghainese Dictionary & Phrasebook (2011), Chinese Dialect Geography: Distinguishing Mandarin and Wu in Their Boundary Region (2006), Chinese Dialect Classification: Theory and Practice (1999 and 2011), Issues in Chinese Dialect Description and Classification (1999), and The Sōushén hòujì: Latter Notes on Collected Spirit Phenomena Attributed to Táo Yuānmíng (365–427), an annotated translation (2022).

Other contributors (for the Table of Contents, please click here or the PDF Preview button below the book's cover image):

David Prager Branner (林德威,號茶米) is a sinologist who studies Chinese language and lexicography.

Marjorie K. M. Chan (陳潔雯) is associate professor at The Ohio State University.

Kengo CHIBA (千葉謙悟) is professor at Chuo University in Tokyo.

Weldon South Coblin (柯蔚南) was professor at the University of Iowa.

GUŌ Lìxiá (郭利霞) is professor at Nánkāi University, China.

Henning Klöter (韓可龍) is professor at the Institute of Asian and African Studies (IAAW), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

HUÁNG Lín (黃霖) is professor emeritus at Fudan University in Shanghai.

HUÁNG Xiǎodōng (黃曉東) is professor at Beijing Language and Culture University.

LIÚ Xīnzhōng (劉新中) is professor at Jinan University.

NÍ Zhìjiā (倪志佳) is a PhD student at Peking University.

SHÍ Rǔjié (石汝杰) is professor at Kumamoto Gakuen University.

ZĒNG Xiǎoyú (曾曉渝) is professor at Nánkāi University.

ZHĀNG Huìyīng (張惠英) is a research professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and professor at Hǎinán Normal University.

ZHĀNG Měilán (張美蘭) is professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. 

“This is a rigorous and cohesive collection of articles important to our understanding of the development of the current modern varieties, and also to our understanding of the creation and interpretation of the texts themselves. Anyone interested in empirical work on Chinese dialects would find this of interest.”
Randy J. LaPolla (羅仁地), Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (FAHA)

“The history of Chinese dialects and Mandarin is a source of interest for many scholars. It is rare, however, to meet a collection that addresses the history and appearance of writing in such a detailed and unconventional way. This unique volume deepens our understanding and offers new insights into established scholarship. A highly recommended publication.”
Marinus van den Berg (范德博), Editor of the Journal of Asian Pacific Communication (JAPC)