The Chinese language, spoken by over one billion people, has undergone drastic changes over the past century in a way unparalleled at any time previously. This book presents a comprehensive account of the development of Modern Chinese from the late nineteenth century up to the 1990s, concentrating on three major aspects: Modern Spoken Chinese, Modern Written Chinese, and the Modern Chinese writing system. It describes and analyses in detail, from historical and sociolinguistic perspectives, the establishment and promotion of Modern Spoken Chinese and Modern Written Chinese and the reform of the Chinese script. Through an integrated discussion of these three areas of the language it highlights the close interrelationships between them and reveals the interaction of linguistic, historical and social factors in the development of Modern Chinese.
• A book-length treatment of the drastic changes that have occurred in the Chinese language over the past 150 years, analysing the linguistic, historical and social factors involved • Many of the topics are treated here for the first time in English • Discusses variation, diglossia and biligualism in Chinese society, the promotion of Modern Spoken and Written Chinese, dialect writing, and the simplification of Chinese script
List of tables; Preface; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; Part I. Modern Spoken Chinese: 2. Establishment and promotion of Modern Spoken Chinese; 3. Norms and variations of Modern Standard Chinese; 4. The standard and dialects; Part II. Modern Written Chinese: 5. Development and promotion of Modern Written Chinese; 6. Norms and variations of Modern Written Chinese; 7. Dialect writing; Part III. The Modern Chinese Writing System: 8. Basic features of the Chinese writing system; 9. Simplification of the traditional writing system; 10. Phonetization of Chinese; 11. Use and reform of the Chinese writing system: present and future; 12. Conclusion; Notes; References; Index.
'Modern Chinese: History and Sociolinguistics is an excellent work, placing the development of modern Chinese in its social and historical context. Its publication is a great step forward for Chinese language studies and linguistics. It should be prescribed reading for all advanced students.' The Australian Higher Education