Papers on Language IV

11:00 am – 12:45 pm
Room H

  • Chaired by Wolfgang Behr
  • Nikolai Voropaev, “Precedent Phenomena diangu in Chinese Lingua-Culture”
  • Tilman Schalmey, “Experiments with Automated Dating for Classical Chinese Texts”
  • Yoann Goudin, “From Extended Latin Grammar for Describing Sinograms to the Phonetic Representation of Chinese Language. Tableau des éléments vocaux de l’écriture chinoise by Henry Kurz (1829)”
  • Chiara Bertulessi, “Chinese Lexicographical Discourse and Ideology: A Critical and Diachronic Study of the Xiandai hanyu cidian 现代汉语词典”

Nikolai Voropaev, “Precedent Phenomena Diangu in Chinese Lingua-Culture”

The term of traditional culture and philology of China diangu 典故 denotes classic precedents, plots, quotes from classical sources, aphorisms.
If we analyze the articles of numerous Chinese diangu dictionaries, we can conclude that all of them include units, which in their majority 1) are stable and are regularly reproduced in speech; 2) can be unfolded to the scope of a small text; 3) are always associated with any famous personalities and events (historical or fictional); 4) they name an event (a situation, phenomenon) or character. All of the above, we believe, allows us to correlate the concept of diangu with the concepts of a precedent phenomenon, a precedent statement, a precedent name, a precedent situation.
Diangu occupies an important place in the modern communication of the Chinese.
We believe that it was the ancient precedent phenomena (texts, situations, names, statements) that largely formed some important Chinese behavioural strategies.
Our analysis made it possible to concretise the meaning of the term of traditional Chinese philology diangu.
We also correlated the terms used in Russia with the terms of Chinese scholars and developed a classification and term system for describing and analysing precedent names and other precedent phenomena (diangu) of Chinese-language discourse.
Studying diangu helps to better understand the behavioural strategies and national character of the Chinese.

Tilman Schalmey, “Experiments with Automated Dating for Classical Chinese Texts”

Classical Chinese is often used as a term to refer to the written form of Chinese, reaching from the earliest literature such as the Shijing and Shujing until the beginning of the 20th-century. Aggravated by the continuity of Chinese writing, it appears that the pace of language change is slower—especially for the written language—than for languages with purely phonetic writing systems.
While observations regarding changes in grammar, vocabulary, and spelling are elsewhere used to date texts, the long-lasting, and rigid tradition of Classical Chinese obstructs pinpointing in which century a perceived text was originally written, especially when relying on later or digital editions.
Employing a diachronic word database created from the Hanyu da cidian, enriched with metadata and findings from other corpora, I experiment with methods from the field of computational linguistics to solve these issues. It is found that simple, innovative techniques which allow us to visualise a text as a temporal profile may outperform mathematically more complex machine learning solutions.
In my talk, I will present my conclusions and the resulting software developed as part of my dissertation project. It aims to assist the arduous work of philologists dealing with the temporal classification of texts and may also help to address issues of forgery.
The data produced during this work also sheds new light on the history of the development of written Chinese, especially on the expansion of the lexicon and the rise of polysyllabic words.

Yoann Goudin, “From Extended Latin Grammar for Describing Sinograms to the Phonetic Representation of Chinese Language. Tableau des éléments vocaux de l’écriture chinoise by Henry Kurz (1829)”

This paper proposes to shed a new light on how European sinologists crafted the notion of radical in the 19th century and interpreted the sinograms. Linguistics of Chinese often argues with sinology as soon as it deals with the characters (Budberg vs Creel in T’oung-pao (1939, 1940), Sagart vs. Vandermeersch 2006). These disputes are dated back to jesuits discussions—Bichurin vs. Callieri (in Kozha 2013)—by the new born Chinese philology two centuries ago. But these representations have to be recontextualised: the Extended Latin Grammar advocated by Auroux had a deep influence on grammatical analysis but also for describing the Chinese graphic system with sometimes antonishing conclusions. For this presentation in the field of history of linguistics, we will introduce the rarely mentioned Tableau des éléments vocaux de l’écriture chinoise (1829) by Henry Kurz, member of the just founded Société Asiatique de Paris in which it is possible to observe two trends: in one hand, how training in Latin influenced philogists of the time in distinguishing “radicals” from désinences even in sinograms, but on the other hand, an unexpected interpretation: for the first time in Europe, this was a linguistic representation of Chinese characters based on their readings—and not their meaning—a decade prior to Callery’s Systema phoneticum scripturae (1841) and almost one century Karlgren’s Analytic Dictionary of Chinese and Sino-Japanese (1923). We will discuss how upon the same documentation composed by missionnaries, and through a euro-centric framework based on Latin grammar, Kurz’s publication proposed a very original observation confirmed by linguistics against ideographic interpretations by classical sinologists…still taught nowadays.

Chiara Bertulessi “Chinese Lexicographical Discourse and Ideology: A Critical and Diachronic Study of the Xiandai hanyu cidian 现代汉语词典”

The present paper adopts the theoretical framework of critical lexicography and, specifically, of Critical Analysis of Lexicographical Discourse (Hornscheidt 2008) to carry out a study of the lexicographical treatment of selected entries in the different editions of the Xiandai hanyu cidian 现代汉语词典 (XHC). The XHC, which is compiled by the Institute of Linguistics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is regarded as one of the most authoritative dictionaries of modern standard Chinese.
This paper is based on the theoretical premise that dictionaries should be understood and analysed as a historically situated form of discourse (i.e. lexicographical discourse) (Benson 2001). Dictionaries are both products of their extra-textual reality and tools playing an active role in the construction and consolidation of those meanings that are considered as correct by the dominant ideology in a specific historical context.
The main objective of the paper is to verify whether the lexicographical discourse constructed by the XHC reflects and interacts with its extra-textual, ideological, and, therefore, political, and social context, also relying on the analysis of a corpus of China’s official political texts. The critical approach is combined with a diachronic perspective, in order to identify changes in the entry-lists and in the definitions in the different editions of the dictionary.
Furthermore, the paper intends to fill a gap in the critical literature on the XHC, in which the studies on the relationship between lexicographical discourse and ideology are, at the present day, still very limited.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room H