The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy

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University of Hawaii Press, Jan 1, 1984 - Foreign Language Study - 330 pages
4 Reviews
"DeFrancis's book is first rate. It entertains. It teaches. It demystifies. It counteracts popular ignorance as well as sophisticated (cocktail party) ignorance. Who could ask for anything more? There is no other book like it. ... It is one of a kind, a first, and I would not only buy it but I would recommend it to friends and colleagues, many of whom are visiting China now and are adding 'two-week-expert' ignorance to the two kinds that existed before. This is a book for everyone." --Joshua A. Fishman, research professor of social sciences, Yeshiva University, New York"Professor De Francis has produced a work of great effectiveness that should appeal to a wide-ranging audience. It is at once instructive and entertaining. While being delighted by the flair of his novel approach, the reader will also be led to ponder on some of the most fundamental problems concerning the relations between written languages and spoken languages. Specifically, he will be served a variety of information on the languages of East Asia, not as dry pedantic facts, but as appealing tidbits that whet the intellectual appetite. The expert will find much to reflect on in this book, for Professor DeFrancis takes nothing for granted." --William S.Y. Wang, professor of linguistics, University of California at Berkeley
  

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Review: Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy

User Review  - André - Goodreads

I can't understand why my professor recommended this book for me. It's outdated, presents a very narrow-minded view on Chinese language (apparently though written by an expert?) and writing, in a ... Read full review

Contents

On Defining Chinese and Language
37
A Sketch of Spoken Chinese
41
Idiolects Dialects Regionalects and Languages
53
Rethinking Chinese Characters
69
Whats in a Name?
71
From Pictographs to What?
74
How Do Chinese Characters Represent Sounds?
89
How Do Chinese Characters Convey Meaning?
116
The Monosyllabic Myth
177
The Indispensability Myth
189
The Successfulness Myth
204
Chinese Language Reform
221
Speech Reform
223
Writing Reform
240
Notes
289
Glossary
297

Demythifying Chinese Characters
131
The Ideographic Myth
133
The Universality Myth
149
The Emulatability Myth
161
Suggested Reading
301
References
303
Index
317
Copyright

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Page 35 - I think that the scholars who have almost let themselves be drawn into forgetting that Chinese is a spoken language have so exaggerated the influence of Chinese writing that they have, so to say, put the writing in place of the language.

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