Mandarin and Cantonese: Sources and Methodology for Historical Linguistic Research

  • Starts: 5:00 pm on Monday, September 25, 2023
Christian missionaries contributed in many ways to the cultural encounter between China and the West. They were also the first westerners to learn and describe Mandarin Chinese and other Sinitic languages, Hokkien and Cantonese above all. Due to the early lack of bilingual language tools, they began to compile dictionaries, phrasebooks, grammars and primers, also devising Romanization systems to transcribe the sounds of Chinese language(s). These works are a goldmine of information for today’s scholars who want to study the history of Mandarin or Cantonese language, as well as the evolution of Chinese language teaching. The lecture will go through some of the available sources (as well as the “missing” ones) and provide some hints on the methodology to analyze these works and extract precious data from them. The Center for Global Christianity & Mission, the Institute for Religion, the BU Center for the Study of Asia, and the Departments of Linguistics, World Languages and Literatures, and History welcome Luisa Paternico from the L'Orientale University in Naples.
154 Bay State Rd., Eilts Room, 2nd Floor

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