Public lecture on the Origin of Mandarin
On Friday, 20 June, 12:15 PM in the Jakobi 2 building, room 438 a lecture from the Chinese American linguist, Prof. Zhongwei Shen, University of Massachusetts Amherst “The Origin of Mandarin”.
Our recent studies on the ancient non-Chinese scripts, namely the Khitan Lesser Script, the Jurchen Script, and the hP’ags-pa Script, have demonstrated that the basic characteristics of modern Northern Mandarin can be traced to the Liao dynasty, about three centuries earlier than the Zhongyuan Yinyun of 1324, which is commonly accepted as the earliest evidence of the Mandarin phonology. Of the seven phonological characteristics analyzed, five characteristics, including the devoicing of MC voiced obstruents, already existed in the Liao dynasty. That Mandarin originated in the territories of Liao and Jin has been speculated by a number of Chinese linguists. Now the speculations on the origin of Mandarin can be firmly proved with linguistic evidence.
Prof. dr. Zhongwei Shen is a Chinese American linguist. He acquired B.A. in Chinese philology from Fudan University (Shanghai, China), both M.A. and Ph.D. (1993) in linguistics from University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Shen has worked in the University of California from 1993 to 1995, in University of Massachusetts Amherst since 1995, as the Professor of Chinese in recent years. His major fields are historical linguistics, phonology, dialectology, and philology (ancient texts and scripts).
He has published two monographs (plus two in press) and many papers, including papers in several top class journals of the field like Journal of Chinese Linguistics, Zhōng-guó yǔ-wén [Philology of China], Mín-zú yǔ-wén [Philology of Ethnicities], Yǔ-yán yán-jiū [Language Research], and Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies. He is the Associated Editor of the academic journals Journal of Chinese Linguistics and Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics. He is the Executive Secretary and the Executive Committee Member of the international academic association Li Fang-Kuei Society for Chinese Linguistics. From 2011 to 2013, he was the Executive Committee Member of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics.
For further information: Märt Läänemets, e-mail: mart.laanemets [ät] ut.ee, phone: (+372)7375589, (+372)5518847;
Tiia Margus, e-mail: tiia.margus [ät] ut.ee, phone: (+372)7375221.