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Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora - Jing Tsu

Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora

By: Jing Tsu

Hardcover Published: 21st December 2010
ISBN: 9780674055407
Number Of Pages: 320

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What happens when language wars are not about hurling insults or quibbling over meanings, but are waged in the physical sounds and shapes of language itself?

Native and foreign speakers, mother tongues and national languages, have jostled for distinction throughout the modern period. The fight for global dominance between the English and Chinese languages opens into historical battles over the control of the medium through standardization, technology, bilingualism, pronunciation, and literature in the Sinophone world. Encounters between global languages, as well as the internal tensions between Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, present a dynamic, interconnected picture of languages on the move.

In Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora, Jing Tsu explores the new global language trade, arguing that it aims at more sophisticated ways of exerting influence besides simply wielding knuckles of power. Through an analysis of the different relationships between language standardization, technologies of writing, and modern Chinese literature around the world from the nineteenth century to the present, this study transforms how we understand the power of language in migration and how that is changing the terms of cultural dominance. Drawing from an unusual array of archival sources, this study cuts across the usual China-West divide and puts its finger on the pulse of a pending supranational world under “literary governance.”

Echoing the classic Sound and Symbol in Chinese (1923) by the great Swedish Sinologist, Bernhard Karlgren, but going far beyond it in her inquisitiveness and in bringing the story of Sinitic languages and writing up to the present moment, Jing Tsu has produced a thoroughly stimulating and captivating work of linguistic and literary scholarship. Deftly navigating through such heretofore uncharted waters, Tsu guides us to a clear comprehension of extraordinarily complex issues of language, identity, and culture. Informed throughout by an acute understanding of the true nature of Sinitic languages as being governed by both phonetics and semantics and as being expressed both through speech and writing, Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora takes the exciting new field of Sinophone Studies to it highest level yet.--Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania
Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora is a fascinating inquiry into the institutionalization and dissemination of modern Chinese language from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Scholars and students in Chinese and comparative literary studies, language studies, cultural studies, and diasporic studies will find this manuscript immensely stimulating, as will general readers who are curious about the history of Chinese language in modern China. This is a brilliant work.--David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University
In her new monograph, Jing Tsu continues her exploration of the links between literature and national identity which she began in her first book Failure, Nationalism, and Literature. Raising questions about the organization of the global literary field, she proposes the new concept of literary governance to describe the established system of categorizing national literatures on the basis of seemingly obvious, but in fact barely definable, notions of native cultural and linguistic sensibility. Both in terms of its analytical framework and its subject matter, Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora constitutes a massive contribution to the study of Sinophone literature.--Michel Hockx, University of London
Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora unveils a broad and many-splendored landscape of the modern Chinese language in theory and practice in all its dynamic manifestations. it both delineates and deconstructs the myth of a monolingual national language called Chinese. ...There is no sounder and more all-rounded study of the cultural richness and diversity of Chinese diaspora, which has reached, as this book has shown, nearly global proportions.--Leo Ou-fan Lee, author of otherhuptitle>Shanghai Modern and City Between Worlds

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Literary Governancep. 1
Chinese Lessonsp. 18
Lin Yutang's Typewriterp. 49
Bilingual Loyaltyp. 80
Chen Jitong's "World Literature"p. 112
The Missing Script of Taiwanp. 144
Look-Alikes and Bad Relationsp. 174
The Elephant in the Roomp. 204
Conclusionp. 232
Notesp. 239
Glossaryp. 291
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780674055407
ISBN-10: 0674055403
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 21st December 2010
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.6 x 16.5  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.66