This general introduction to the study of Chinese traces the language's history from its beginnings in the second millennium B.C. to the present, and provides a clear picture of the contemporary language and its sociolinguistic status. Chinese, in its numerous dialects, has more speakers than any other language in the modern world, and this vast extension in time and space brings to its study an exceptional complexity. Nevertheless, Norman's crisp organization and lucid elegance make this extraordinary range of material easily accessible even to those with an elementary understanding of linguistics. Chinese includes information on the genetic and typological connections of the language, the writing system, the classical and early vernacular tongues, the modern language and non-standard dialects, and the history of linguistic reform in China.
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The historical phonology of Chinese
23 The Song rhyme tables
24 The methodology of Middle Chinese reconstruction
25 The reconstruction of Old Chinese
26 Old Mandarin
27 Tonal development
The Chinese script
67 Stress and intonation
The modern standard language II
72 The morpheme
73 The word
74 Word classes
75 Expression of grammatical categories
76 The Chinese sentence
32 Codification of the script under the Qin dynasty
33 The varieties of ancient script and its nomenclature
34 Developments in the Han dynasty
35 PostHan developments in the script
36 The number of Chinese characters
37 The adaptability of the Chinese script
38 Recent developments in the Chinese writing system
The classical and literary Languages
42 Morphemes and words
43 Word classes
44 The Classical Chinese sentence
45 Some grammatical operations
46 Place and time adjuncts
47 Nominal and verbal modification
49 Conjoining constructions
410 The classical literary language in later ages
The rise and development of the written vernacular
52 Nouns measures and localizers
53 Pronominal forms
55 Changes in word order
The modern standard language I
62 The problem of nomenclature
63 Phonology of the standard language preliminaries
64 The initials
65 The finals
77 Traditional Chinese lexicography
78 The rise of bilingual dictionaries
79 Modern lexicography in China
82 Historical factors in dialect development
83 Degree of diversity among the Chinese dialects
84 Dialect geography
85 Dialect boundaries
86 The Mandarin dialects
87 The Central dialects
88 The Wu dialects
89 The Gan dialects
810 The Xiang dialects
The dialects of the Southeast
92 The Yue dialects
93 The Kejia dialects
94 The Min dialects
95 Min and Kejia
96 Difficulties in classification
Language and society
102 Diglossia bidialectalism bilingualism
103 Government language policy
104 The fate of alphabetic writing in China
105 Present and future prospects
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