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Missionaries and written Chaoshanese


Don Snow / Chen Nuanling
Published Online: 2015-04-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glochi-2015-1001


From the 1870s into the 1920s, Baptist and Presbyterian missionaries in the Chaoshan region devoted a substantial amount of time and effort to creating a body of Christian texts in written forms of Chaoshanese, and also educating Chinese Christians in this written language. However, the strategies used by these two Protestant groups differed sharply, with the Baptists taking a culturally conservative approach and the Presbyterians adopting a much more radical one. This paper reconstructs the story of written Chaoshanese as used by Protestant missionaries, examining what these “written Chaoshanese” varieties consisted of, and the degree to which they differed from other written forms of Chinese. It also considers what insights this case study may contribute to our understanding of the factors that drive or retard the growth of written vernaculars.


从 19 世纪 70 年代到 20 世纪 20 年代, 在潮汕地区的新教传教士 (美国浸信会和英国长老会) 耗费了大量的精力把圣经等书翻译成潮汕方言, 并且在教会里进行阅读和书写的推广。然而, 这两个教会采用了截然不同的方式来书写本地方言。浸信会采用的是较为保守的方式, 而长老会采用的是更加激进的策略。本文主要是回顾传教士与潮汕话书面语发展的历史, 分析这些文本中潮汕话书面语的组成以及其与其他书面汉语的不同点, 进而通过这个个案研究探究推进或阻碍书面白话发展的因素。

Keywords: Chinese dialects; written vernaculars; Tie-Chiw; Swatow dialect; Chaozhou dialect

关键词: 方言; 方言书面语; 书写方言; 潮州话; 汕头话, 潮汕话


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About the article

Don Snow

Don Snow (PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures, Indiana University) has taught language, culture, and linguistics for over two decades in various parts of China, as well as in the United States, and he is currently Director of Language and Writing Programs at Duke Kunshan University. His research interests and academic articles focus on sociolinguistic topics such as diglossia and the historical development of written forms of Chinese vernaculars, and Cantonese as Written Language: The Growth of a Written Chinese Vernacular was published by Hong Kong University Press in 2004.

唐斯诺(印第安那大学, 亚洲语言与文化系, 博士)曾在中国与美国各地从事语言、文化、语言学教学二十余年。目前, 他是杜克昆山大学语言和写作课程项目的负责人。他的研究兴趣和学术论文主要关注社会语言学的话题, 例如双言现象与汉语方言书面形式的历史发展。他的著作《作为书写语言的粤方言: 汉语白话书写的发展》由香港大学出版社 2004 出版。

Chen Nuanling

Chen Nuanling received her BA in Chinese from Shantou University, and is currently pursuing an MA in Education at the University of South Florida. She served as research assistant for this project, and handled analysis of the Chaoshan texts.

陈暖玲从汕头大学获得中文学士学位, 目前正在南佛罗里达大学攻读硕士学位。她是本项目的研究助理, 负责潮汕方言文本的分析。

Published Online: 2015-04-14

Published in Print: 2015-04-01

Citation Information: Global Chinese, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 5–26, ISSN (Online) 2199-4382, ISSN (Print) 2199-4374, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glochi-2015-1001.

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