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New Perspectives on the History of Chinese Demonstratives

  • 13 Oct, 2022 | 16:00-17:30 (UCT+8)
  • Online via ZOOM
  • Department of Chinese Language Studies
  • Seminar
  • English | Putonghua
  • Professor Alain Peyraube (CNRS & EHESS, CRLAO, Paris, France)

The Department of Chinese Language Studies (CHL) of the Education University of Hong Kong would like to invite you to our CHL Public Seminar Series 2022. Professor Alain Peyraube, Emeritus director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, Paris, France) and Chair professor of Chinese Linguistics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris), will share his insights on the topic ‘New Perspectives on the History of Chinese Demonstratives’. Please see below for more information:
 
Topic: New Perspectives on the History of Chinese Demonstratives
Speaker: Professor Alain Peyraube (CNRS & EHESS, CRLAO, Paris, France)
Moderator: Professor Zhu Qingzhi (CHL, EdUHK)
Date: 13 October 2022
Time: 16:00 – 17:30 (UTC+8)
Format: Zoom
Language: English and Putonghua
Registration: https://eduhk.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3rZSRiTHRaiSbpc
(Zoom link will be sent to registered participants via email on 12 October 2022.)

Abstract:


This talk provides new insights on the evolution of the demonstratives since the Archaic period, and mainly on the two main demonstratives zhè这 and nà那 in Late Medieval and Pre-Modern Chinese, from the Tang period to the Ming period.

The two following issues are discussed:

 

1.  Are the demonstratives basic expressions or whether they have been derived from nouns or verbs as a result of a grammaticalization process? This refers to the well-known controversy between Diessel (1999) or König (2017) who think that they are semantic primitives and Heine & Kuteva (2002, 2007) who believe that grammaticalization implies that all grammatical morphemes are derived from lexical sources. A special new investigation is made concerning the demonstrative ge 个 still used today in Southern dialects. It is shown that it could not have been grammaticalized from the classifier ge 个.

 

2. Do we really have a cyclic change concerning the use of the demonstratives zhè and nà as subjects, as it has been hypothesized? (i) Actually, the demonstratives could not be used alone as subjects in Tang times since they had to be followed by ge 个or di 底 that disyllabizes them; (ii) A first change occurred during the Southern Sung where the two demonstratives could be used alone as subjects; (iii) Under the Yuan, the situation was again characterized by the necessity for zhè and nà to be followed by de 的when used as subjects; (iv) lastly, under the Ming, they are used alone as subjects, as was the case in Southern Sung times and also the case today in Contemporary Mandarin. See Mei Tsu-lin (1986), Désirat & Peyraube (1992).
 
Bio:
Alain Peyraube is currently Emeritus director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, Paris, France) and Chair professor of Chinese Linguistics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris). He has been director of the Institute of East Asian Linguistics (CNRS & EHESS) from 1985 to 2000 and director of the Institute of Advanced Studies, Collegium de Lyon, from 2010 to 2016.

 

He has been Adjunct professor at the University of Science and Technology of Hong Kong from 2005 to 2011, as well as Honorary Professor at the University of Beijing since 2007, Founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC) (2005-2013), and Distinguished member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences since 2009. He became a member of the European Academy (Academia Europaea) in 2006, Chair of its Linguistics Section since 2013, and member of the Board of Trustees in 2016.

Alain Peyraube has served as President of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics and also as President of the European Association of Chinese Studies. He has been Visiting Professor and Visiting Scholar at Cornell University (Hu Shih Chair), at the University of California at Santa Barbara, at the Hong Kong Baptist University, at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Peking, at the Academia Sinica of Taiwan, and at La Trobe University in Australia.

As a specialist in Chinese historical syntax and linguistic typology of Sinitic languages, A. Peyraube has authored five books and around two hundred articles on Chinese studies, mainly with respect to Chinese linguistics. His latest research has been done within a broadly functional and cognitive framework from a cross-linguistic perspective. 
 
He was conferred the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 2008 and Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 2019.

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This seminar is included in BEd(CL) Academic Activities Encouragement Scheme (學術活動獎勵計劃) 2021/22. 
Students from Programme A5B060 who are interested in the seminar should fill in the supplementary information when completing the registration.
 
All are welcome! 
For enquiries, please contact at chl-events@eduhk.hk