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In Honor of Mei Tsu-Lin. Studies on Chinese Historical Syntax and Morphology

Alain PEYRAUBE and SUN Chaofen, eds., 1999, In Honor of Mei Tsu-Lin. Studies on Chinese Historical Syntax and Morphology, ISBN 2-910216-02-0. Prix : 23 €

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It is certainly a privilege, a duty, and a great pleasure for us to present here these essays in honor of Mei Tsu-lin on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday.

Mei Tsu-lin occupies not only a leading position in the landscape of Chinese linguistics inside the international academic community, but his role is also unique and singular. His position is a leading one because there are few domains in Chinese linguistics that he has not taken up. He had written remarkable contributions on a wide range of topics including not only diachronic phonology and historical syntax, but also semantics, typology of languages and sinitic dialects, prosody, etc. Neither was there any historical stage of the language which has escaped his interest: from oracle bone inscriptions of the Pre-Archaic period, through the different Archaic, Medieval and Modern stages to contemporary dialects.

His role is also unique because he is undoubtedly the origin and the motor of the revival of a sector of research that was rather neglicted before him: historical syntax and semantics. His work in this regard was that of a pioneer. If researches on diachronic syntax and semantics have today become an essentiel domain of Chinese linguistics, it is due to Mei Tsu-lin. Many of his writings on this topic have served as starting points for reflections, doctoral dissertations, original researches in China, Europe, and the US where he has, moreover, trained several generations of scholars in Chinese linguistics.

His role is, last but not least, singular if one considers that several decades of extremely fruitful research has not led Mei Tsu-lin to put down some sort of synthesis in the form of a book. The main reason is that Mei Tsu-lin's work is comparable to that of the most productive mathematicians or physicists who avoid unnecessary blabbering to go directly to the essential, at the risk of being understood by only a handful of specialists. One can see in all Mei Tsu-lin's writings a constant concern of dismissing all generalities and of not repeating what has already said by others. Such an approach, by itself favors original and punctilious research, in the form of articles, and pushes back grand global systems of interpretation that would be inevitably reducing.

This volume of papers groups together contributions by colleagues, friends, and former students of Mei Tsu-lin. The theme was limited to morphosyntactic change in Chinese, but a glance at the table of contents tells us that many other specialists of linguistic change in general have expressed the wish to be associated with this homage.

The editors would like to thank all those who helped us in preparing the volume: Suzanne Chane for the English papers, Shih Lin, Huang Pei-yuan and Wang Hsing-jen for the papers in Chinese. Special thanks go to Thekla Wiebusch for her technical assistance and expertise.

Paris and Stanford, June 20, 1998, Alain Peyraube and Sun Chaofen.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword/Préface

  • Viviane ALLETON : "You et Zai sont-il vraiment en opposition en chinois contemporain?"

  • CAO Guangshun : "Shi lun hanyu dongtai zhuci de xingcheng guocheng (in Chinese)

  • Redouane DJAMOURI : "Evolution of zhi in Archaic Chinese"

  • HO Dah-an : "Lun Guo Pu jiangdong yu mingyi" (in Chinese)

  • JIANG Lansheng : "Hanyu shiyi yu beidong jianyong tan yuan" (in Chinese)

  • LIEN Chienfa : "Place Deixis in Taiwan Southern Min"

  • LIN Ying-chin : "Lun shanggu hanyu ge ji yu hui bu de xiangdui guanxi"(in Chinese)

  • LIU Jian : "Shitai zhuci de yanjiu yu "'V O guo'" (in Chinese)

  • Victor H. MAIR : "Reflections on book language and the vernacular prompted by a passage in the History of Sui"

  • Alain PEYRAUBE : "Les déplacements de constituants en syntaxe historiquedu chinois"

  • Edwin G. PULLEYBLANK : "Jiajie and Xiesheng"

  • Laurent SAGART : "The Chinese and Tibeto-Burman words for 'blood'"

  • SUN Chaofen : "The origin of the Chinese verbal suffixes"

  • Benjamin K. T'SOU: "Some remarks on the entomological terms in Chineseand the Austroasiatic link revisited"

  • James H.-Y. TAI and Marjorie K.-M. CHAN : "Some reflections on theperiodization of the Chinese language"

  • TING Pang-Hsin : "Ruguo fangyan li wanchengmao ciwei de ciyinweibianhua" (in Chinese)

  • William S.-Y. WANG : "Language emergence and transmission"

  • WEI Pei-Chuan : "Lun xian-Qin hanyu yunfu de weizhi" (in Chinese)

  • YANG Hsiu-Fang : "fangyan benzi yanjiu de tan yi fa" (in Chinese)

  • Anne O. YUE : "The so-called pivotal construction in pre-Qin Chinese"

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