November, 2001
Hilary Chappell

Sinitic Grammar

Synchronic and Diachronic Perspectives

This book is an anthology on topics in the grammar of Chinese (Sinitic) languages. The aim of the book is to meld historical and typological approaches in the examination of grammatical phenomena in order to show the extent to which both earlier stages of Chinese, as well as the modern dialects, differ from standard Mandarin. With this purpose in mind, each author has provided important background information on the Chinese language or dialect under investigation-or on the historical period as the case may be. Similarly, the introduction to the book provides an up-to-date description of Sinitic languages in terms of history and geography, placing the goals of the volume into perspective. A dialect map of China and a summary of each chapter is provided in this same introductory chapter to further facilitate use of the book. 

General readers, curious about Sinitic languages-or Chinese dialects-should find this collection equally accessible as specialists in the fields of Chinese linguistics; typology; historical and diachronic linguistics; grammaticalization; and empirical, descriptive linguistics. Topics covered include aspect, evidentials, locatives, verb complementation, reduplication, modal verbs, markers of predication, affixation, prepositions, relative clauses, interrogatives, and stratification. Language data from most of the ten main Chinese dialect groups are presented, the specific dialect studies being on Xiang, Cantonese Yue, and Taiwanese Southern Min. Earlier stages of Chinese examined include the Pre-Archaic Shang bone inscriptions, Archaic and Medieval Chinese, and the written genre of Classical Chinese.