The series Sinitic Languages of China: Typological Descriptions specializes in the description of the grammar of Sinitic languages, ‘Sinitic’ being the technical term for the Chinese branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. As such, it includes well-known examples such as Cantonese, Hokkien, Shanghainese and Hakka, lesser-known ones such as Hunanese Xiang or the Jin languages of Shanxi, without overlooking the national language known as Putonghua in China – or Standard Chinese in the West. Even Mandarin comes in many non-standard forms including Sichuanese in the southwest, or the unusual varieties spoken in Gansu and Qinghai in northwestern China and the Central Plains region, to name but a few.
The primary goal of this series is to promote scientific knowledge of Chinese languages and their typological characteristics through the publication of high calibre linguistic research, based on empirical fieldwork, close analysis of the data and solid theoretical interpretations. The grammatical descriptions, written in a functionalist framework, will be illustrated by linguistic examples presented in a ‘value-added’ four-line format that includes romanization, glossing, the idiomatic English translation, and also the Chinese characters to cater to historical and comparative interests as well as our sinophone readers.
The specific objective is to reveal the great structural diversity found in Sinitic languages and to dispel many recurrent linguistic myths about Chinese. The authors involved in this series are all highly trained fieldwork linguists with a background in both typology and Chinese linguistics.
The series thus aims to reach an international readership for the first time, given that most literature available on Chinese languages, up until now, has been predominantly written in (Standard Written) Chinese.