Sound, Meaning, Shape
The Phonologist Wei Jiangong (1901-1980) between Language Study and Language Planning
One of the leading proponents of the radical linguistic reforms in 20th century China, Wei Jiangong remains hardly known in the West. This book describes how Wei, who was rooted in traditional philology and conceptualizing language as a tool, helped to promulgate a standard language, led the compilation of the world’s most popular dictionary, and helped to drive script reform. While these measures were characterized as violent intervention in the Chinese language sphere, Wei’s careful negotiating of linguistic description and political prescription illustrates how they also may have been steps that helped to achieve linguistic self-determination.
Mariana Münning is research assistant at the Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg. Her field of research, teaching and publication includes linguistics, language planning and textbooks of 20th century China.