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International Conference on Chinese Buddhist Languages

The 14th International Conference on Chinese Buddhist Languages was held online from 10 to 12 December 2021 with the theme of ‘The Spread of Buddhism and Language Change’. Professor William Wang Shiyuan of the University of California Berkeley and Professor Victor H. Mair of the University of Pennsylvania were invited to give keynote speeches.

The conference was co-organised by the Department of Chinese Language Studies, the Centre for Research on Chinese Language and Education (CRCLE) at The Education University of Hong Kong, and the Center for the Study of Humanistic Buddhism at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. It attracted over 100 scholars from more than 50 institutions all over the world to discuss various topics, including:


(i) language changes in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other areas caused by the spread of Buddhism, and from the perspective of ancient Buddhist literature; 
(ii) noumenal research on the Chinese-translated Buddhist scriptures, including the study of Sanskrit-Chinese comparative collation, and comparative studies of different translations of the same scripture; 
(iii) comparative studies of Buddhist and non-Buddhist languages and characters; 
(iv) research on the Yinyi (dictionaries of pronunciation and meaning) of Buddhist scriptures; and 
(v) the impact of other religions on the development of languages in these countries during the process. 


Sixty conference papers were selected for different panels. Plenary speakers specialised in Chinese Buddhist languages studies also shared their research outputs.


Professor Zhu Qingzhi, Chair Professor of Chinese Language and Director of CRCLE, said, “The ancient Chinese Buddhist scriptures are the largest religious literature relics in human history, and have an important linguistic research value. It helps us better understand the relationship between the transmission of religion and language change, especially the relationship between the spread of Buddhism in East Asia and the language changes in East Asian countries.”