Archive for Announcements

Languages and cultures of Central Asia

Herewith, I wish to announce the publication of a stupendous Festschrift in honor of András Róna-Tas’s 90th birthday. 

András Róna-Tas, distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Szeged, Hungary, winner of several international prestigious prizes, has devoted his long academic career to the study of Chuvash, Turkic elements in Hungarian, Mongolic-Tibetan linguistic contacts, the Para-Mongolic language Khitan and other Central Asian languages and cultures.

This book, presented to him on the occasion of his 90th birthday, contains a collection of papers in Turkic and Mongolic Studies, with a focus on the literacy, culture, and languages of the steppe civilizations. It is organized in three sections: Turkic Studies, Mongolic Studies, and Linguistic and cultural contacts of Altaic languages. It contains papers by some of the most renowned experts in Central Asia Studies.

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Proto-Turkic Consonants

I seldom announce the publication of Sino-Platonic Papers on Language Log, but this one, although seemingly highly esoteric, will actually be of interest to many readers.  Aside from numerous Turkic tongues, among other languages and groups it touches on, the following are mentioned:  Mongolian, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Tocharian, Uyghur, Bulgar, Tatar, Bactrian, Tungusic, Celtic, Dravidian, Yeniseian, Samoyedic, Chuvash, Latin, Italic, Prussian, Slavic (various languages), Sanskrit, Kitan, Hungarian, Xiongnu (Appendix 2 is a list of Xiongnu words surviving in Altaic languages), Circassian, Caucasian, Avar, Dingling 丁零, Khotanese Saka, Sogdian, Khwarezmian, Old Persian, Middle and New Persian, Pashto, Ossetian, and numerous Iranian languages, Yuezhi, Koguryŏan (Korean).

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Sino-Platonic Papers is pleased to announce the publication of its three-hundred-and-twenty-fifth issue:

"On *p- and Other Proto-Turkic Consonants," by Orçun Ünal (Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Göttingen, Germany)

Dedication:

To my first teacher in Mongolian

Claus Schönig (1955–2019)

http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp325_proto_Turkic_consonants.pdf

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Postdocs on ancient scripts: Chinese and Aegean

Since these are on subjects that are of interest to many of us, I'm calling them to your attention.

From Mattia Cartolano:

The INSCRIBE project is hiring!

Two post-doc positions are now available:

  1. Evolution of Graphic Codes: The Origins of the Chinese Script
  2. Undeciphered Aegean Scripts: New perspectives in Computational Linguistics

Deadline for applications: Sunday 27 March 2022
If you want to find out more, write to s.ferrara@unibo.it

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Multilingual China

That's the title of a new book from Routledge edited by Bob Adamson and Anwei Feng:  Multilingual China:  National, Minority and Foreign Languages (2022).

China is often touted as a nation of linguistic uniformity, when nothing could be further from the truth.  This book is testimony to the astonishing variety of the languages and topolects spoken in the People's Republic of China.

Multilingual China explores the dynamics of multilingualism in one of the most multilingual countries in the world. This edited collection comprises frontline empirical research into a range of important issues that arise from the presence of 55 official ethnic minority groups, plus China’s search to modernize and strengthen the nation’s place in the world order.

Topics focus on the dynamics of national, ethnic minority and foreign languages in use, policy making and education, inside China and beyond. Micro-studies of language contact and variation are included, as are chapters dealing with multilingual media and linguistic landscapes. The book highlights tensions such as threats to the sustainability of weak languages and dialects, the role and status of foreign languages (especially English) and how Chinese can be presented as a viable regional or international language.

Multilingual China will appeal to academics and researchers working in multilingualism and multilingual education, as well as sinologists keen to examine the interplay of languages in this complex multilingual context.

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Phonology and orthography in Ming China

New book from Columbia University Press:

The Culture of Language in Ming China:  Sound, Script, and the Redefinition of Boundaries of Knowledge

by Nathan Vedal

Pub Date: March 2022 ISBN: 9780231200752 320 Pages

$35.00  £28.00

Publisher's description:

The scholarly culture of Ming dynasty China (1368–1644) is often seen as prioritizing philosophy over concrete textual study. Nathan Vedal uncovers the preoccupation among Ming thinkers with specialized linguistic learning, a field typically associated with the intellectual revolution of the eighteenth century. He explores the collaboration of Confucian classicists and Buddhist monks, opera librettists and cosmological theorists, who joined forces in the pursuit of a universal theory of language.

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Scheduled power outage today 8:00am to 8:00pm

Because of a scheduled power outage, Language Log will be unavailable all day today, from about 8:00am to 8:00pm.

Update — and we're back, by 4:00pm!

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"Kong Girl Phonetics"

New issue of Sino-Platonic Papers (no. 317 [August, 2021]):

“'Kong Girl Phonetics': Loose Cantonese Romanization in the 2019 Hong Kong Protest Movement,” by Ruth Wetters (free pdf)

Abstract

Cantonese in Hong Kong occupies a specific cultural and political niche, informed by the unique context of the Hong Kong identity. During the 2019 Hong Kong protests, protesters used modified Cantonese online to evade detection and cement their identity as Hong Kongers. One way in which this was achieved is through a new online vernacular, dubbed “Kong girl phonetics” Kong nui ping jam. This vernacular borrows from grassroots romanization, English phonetics, number substitutions, and bilingualism in English and Cantonese to exclude all readers except young Hong Kong people, who show high bilingualism and high tech literacy and share the vocabulary of protesters. This essay explores aspects of this protest vernacular through non-comprehensive analysis of a thread on LIHKG (Lineage: Hong Kong Golden) lin dang 連黨 that is the first recorded example of “Kong girl speech.”

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The Ossetes

Here at Language Log we know our Ossetes and have been learning much about Scythians (see "Selected readings"), so it is good to have this new (forthcoming) book by Richard Foltz: 

The Ossetes: Modern-Day Scythians of the Caucasus
New York / London: I. B. Tauris / Bloomsbury, 24 February 2022

Publisher's description:

The Ossetes, a small nation inhabiting two adjacent states in the central Caucasus, are the last remaining linguistic and cultural descendants of the ancient nomadic Scythians who dominated the Eurasian steppe from the Balkans to Mongolia for well over one thousand years. A nominally Christian nation speaking a language distantly related to Persian, the Ossetes have inherited much of the culture of the medieval Alans who brought equestrian culture to Europe. They have preserved a rich oral literature through the epic of the Narts, a body of heroic legends that shares much in common with the Persian Book of Kings and other works of Indo-European mythology. This is the first book devoted to the little-known history and culture of the Ossetes to appear in any Western language. Charting Ossetian history from Antiquity to today, it will be a vital contribution to the fields of Iranian, Caucasian, Post-Soviet and Indo-European Studies.

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The vocabulary of traditional Chinese thought and culture

I recently got hold of an electronic copy of this book:

Zhōngguó chuántǒng wénhuà guānjiàn cí (Hàn Yīng duìzhào) 中国传统文化关键词(汉英对照) (Key Terms of Traditional Chinese Culture / Key Concepts in Chinese Culture [original English title] [Chinese-English])

Beijing:  Wàiyǔ jiàoxué yǔ yánjiū chūbǎn shè 2019 外语教学与研究出版社 2019 (Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2019)

Here is a one-drive link to the whole book.

It has been scanned by OCR, so the entire contents can be searched by simplified Chinese characters, but accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Non-Han writing in the PRC: A new series

[Blog post today by Bruce Humes]

VHM:  Since I know about half of the authors and translators in this series, I am pleased to see them and their cohort getting wider recognition and circulation.


"'Multi-ethnic' Literature: Yilin’s 2020 Cache of Fiction by non-Han Writers"

As your year-end holiday lockdown fast approaches, it’s worth noting a new series of books by non-Han writers launched this year by one of China’s best-known publishers, Yilin Press — lit., “translation forest” — that is normally associated with marketing popular foreign-language fiction in Mandarin for Chinese readers.

The name of the series itself, Library of Contemporary Classics by China’s Multi-ethnic Writers (中国当代多民族经典作家文库), is notable, because it employs the term “multi-ethnic” rather than the former politically correct, ubiquitous reference to “minority ethnic” literature (少数民族文学) that must surely have rankled some.

I will write more about the worrisome outlook for mother-tongue, multi-ethnic literature out of China — given moves to severely restrict education in Uyghur, Tibetan and Mongolian, and the ongoing incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Turkophone people in Xinjiang — but for now, here are the titles in Yilin’s new series (so far available only in Chinese) with a bit of background info and links:

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Save l'Institut de Phonétique

A change.org petition, in French, is here. An English translation follows (which was sent to me by the ISSP2020 mailing list) — please consider signing the petition and forwarding it to others who may be interested.

On the 11th of August 1927, the ‘Speech Archives’ (which were created in 1911 by Ferdinand Brunot, based on the work of Abbé Rousselot and with the financial and technical help of Emile Pathé) were integrated under the direction of Hubert Pernot into a foundation of the City of Paris and the University of Paris: 'le Musée de la Parole et du Geste' (the Museum of Speech and Gesture). In July 1928, the Institute of Phonetics / Museum of Speech and Gesture were relocated from the Sorbonne to 19, rue des Bernardins, in the heart of the 5th arrondissement of Paris.

For 92 years, thousands of teachers, researchers and students have visited this historical place. Today, the Institute of Phonetics hosts two research teams (including the CNRS Laboratory of Phonetics and Phonology), a department of Language Sciences, nearly 500 students, about fifty doctoral students, a sound proof room and recording studio, etc.

Numerous scientific projects are in progress, in various domains:

– Medical: https://lpp.in2p3.fr/la-recherche/projets-contrats/CSC/

– Pedagogical: https://lpp.in2p3.fr/la-recherche/projets-contrats/gepeto/

– Forensic: https://lpp.in2p3.fr/la-recherche/projets-contrats/voxcrim/

– Preservation of languages: https://lpp.in2p3.fr/la-recherche/projets-contrats/almas/

We recently learned that the City of Paris will be going to resume possession of the building at 19, rue des Bernardins, for a new real estate project, sweeping away nearly a century of French linguistic history.

We, researchers and former researchers, teachers and former teachers, students and former students, partners, associations and supporters of research and teaching, ask the Mayor of Paris to reconsider her decision to close this symbolic place.

Please forward this message to anyone who may be interested.

Sign the petition here if you want to help us: http://chng.it/754JyBttKZ

Les amis de l'Institut de Phonétique (ILPGA)
amis.ilpga@gmail.com
19 rue des Bernardins
75005 Paris

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Language Diversity in the Sinophone World

That's the title of a new book (Oct. 7, 2020) from Routledge edited by Henning Klöter and Mårten Söderblom Saarela, with the following subtitle:  Historical Trajectories, Language Planning, and Multilingual Practices.   I was present at the conference in Göttingen where the papers in the volume were first delivered and can attest to the high level of presentations and discussions.

This is the publisher's book description:

Language Diversity in the Sinophone World offers interdisciplinary insights into social, cultural, and linguistic aspects of multilingualism in the Sinophone world, highlighting language diversity and opening up the burgeoning field of Sinophone studies to new perspectives from sociolinguistics.

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A monumental new Cantonese-English dictionary

ABC Cantonese-English Comprehensive Dictionary
Robert S. Bauer Series: ABC Chinese Dictionary Series Paperback: $42.00 ISBN-13: 9780824877323 Published: December 2020
University of Hawaii Press 1248 pages

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