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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  6 reviews
A general introduction to the study of Chinese traces the language's history from the second millennium B.C. through the present and provides a contemporary view of its sociolinguistic status.
Paperback, 306 pages
Published January 21st 1988 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Jerry Norman's overview of Chinese, part of the Cambridge Language Surveys series, is an admirably diachronic treatment. Not content to simply speak of features of the major modern dialects, Mandarin and Cantonese, Norman places very early an exploration of the historical phonology of Chinese (back to Old Chinese) and of the development of the script. His explanation of tonal development in Chinese, in which he uses the "s-hypothesis", is especially enlightening.

After this very necessary basis
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: china, linguistics
I can definitely recommend this book as a general overview on "Chinese" as a language/language family! Norman goes into quite some detail describing historical relationships, the development, phonetical features and issues in classifying the dialects, the reconstruction of Middle Chinese and other stages, the way the Chinese language(s) evolved and the strive for a national standard language as well as the development of a good transcription system. He also describes the major principles of the ...more
Karen Chung
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you'd like a solid, in-depth scholarly introduction to the Chinese language, start here!
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Really interesting linguistic history and analysis of Chinese. Although in all fairness, I was a Chinese major, and most people would probably find it inestimably boring.
Blake Brownrigg
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Apr 13, 2014
Good, but needs characters. Rather difficult to read if you are not specifically a Mandarin speaker.
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