Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Chinese geolinguistics: history, current trend and theoretical issues

Ray Iwata


Although the international trend in geolinguistics has been to utilize dialect resources via computer-based GIS, research in the Chinese field is still grounded in exploring the history of words using the classical method of linguistic geography. After describing the historical background of how we Japanese researchers carry out projects on Chinese dialects, this paper will demonstrate some of our findings: 1) The distribution of modern dialects is well accounted for in terms of “Northernization” and “Southern kernel area”; 2) Linguistic geography can make it possible to reconstruct the history of words unbiased by historical documents; 3) The development of stress accent in Northern dialects has caused some word groups to acquire grammatical elements in their forms, due to the function of analogical attraction; 4) Any word can be in collision with others due to internal and external factors. Chinese cases are explained in terms of homonymic and synonymic collisions.

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