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Useful literature

Linguistic nationalism: the case of Southern Min by J. E. DeBernardi
In this paper, J. E. DeBernardi explores aspects of the social value of Southern Min. He draw on data collected in three Southern Min-speaking communities in which he have done participant-observation fieldwork: Penang, Malaysia; Tainan, Taiwan, and Xiamen (Amoy), the People’s Republic of China, focusing in particular on the political importance of Southern Min in Tainan. He takes as one goal that of drawing attention to the importance of regional identities and differences in Chinese society, differences all too often disregarded by those who seek to reify ‘Chinese culture’ as a monolithic entity.

A Grammar of Southern Min: The Hui’an Dialect (Sinitic Languages of China Book 3)

Southern Min (also known as Hokkien or Minnan) is a major branch of Chinese spoken mainly in Fujian and Taiwan, but also in Guangdong, Hainan and Hong Kong, as well as in many countries of Southeast Asia. Highly conservative in its linguistic profile, it is considered by many scholars to be a living language fossil due to the preservation of many archaic features that reflect its long-lasting history and culture. Yet to date there has been no comprehensive study of Southern Min using a typological framework, as the tendency is to base analyses on the model of Mandarin Chinese, the standard language. This grammar aims to present a systematic description of the Hui'an variety of Southern Min, mainly based on data collected via naturally occurring conversation. The volume includes four parts: nominal structure, predicate structure, clause structure and complex sentences, as well as a brief overview of phonology. It will have great appeal for heritage speakers, graduate students and scholars in both Chinese linguistics and typology.
Heylen, Ann, Japanese Models, Chinese Culture and the Dilemma of Taiwanese Language Reform

The history of language modernization in East Asia has been discussed in literature covering Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, but to date the case Taiwan remained unexplored. The increasing prominence of Taiwan on the international scene necessitates a deeper understanding of its linguistic culture that is equally prone to the sensitivities and current pattern of globalization. Precisely in this context, the study by Ann Heylen examines the history and nature of language modernization in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945).
Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600-1800. Shepherd, John R

This important work argues two central theses which are, if not startlingly revisionist, at least open to controversy: first, that the indigenous popu- 66, lation of Taiwan was not simply "pushed up" into the hills by the advance of Han settlement, and, secondly, that Qing policy along its frontiers was determined by a rational cost-benefit calculus which, under certain circumstances, made defence of non-Chinese lifestyles appear preferable to displacement or enforced assimilation. It persuades this reader on both counts, but it is the second which is of more sustained concern to the author, and also of more general significance.
Wei, Jennifer M., Language Choice and Identity Politics in Taiwan

Jennifer M. Wei argues that construction and perceptions of language and identity parallel sociopolitical transformations, and language and identity crises arise during power transitions. Under these premises, language and identity are never well-defined or well-bounded. Instead, they are best viewed as political symbols subject to manipulation and exploitation during socio-historical upheavals. A choice of language—from phonological shibboleth, Mandarin, or Taiwanese, to choice of official language—cuts to the heart of contested cultural notions of self and other, with profound implications for nationalism, national unity and ethno-linguistic purism. Wei further argues that because of the Chinese Diaspora and Taiwan's connections to China and the United States, arguments and sentiments over language choice and identity have consequences for Taiwan's international and transnational status. They are symbolic acts of imagining Taiwan's past as she looks forward to the future.
1. Chappell H. Dialect gram­mar in two early Southern Min texts // Journal of Chinese Linguistics. 2000. Vol. 28. № 2
Southern Min is a major Chinese language of wider communication in many countries of Southeast Asia with a conservative estimate of seven million speakers in this region, the result of a gradual, centuries-long diaspora from China. This estimate includes the three main varieties of Hokkien, Teochew and Hainanese. In this chapter, we present an overview of the main features of the grammar of Hokkien, focusing on aspects of its phonology, morphology and syntax which are distinct from standard Mandarin, while highlighting features that it shares with other languages of the Southeast Asian area.
2. Yue-Hashimoto A. Stratification in comparative dialectal grammar: a case in southern Min // Journal of Chinese Linguistics. 1991. Vol. 19. № 2
This analysis includes a description of language contact phenomena such as stratification, hybridization and convergence for Sinitic languages. It also presents typologically unusual grammatical features for Sinitic such as double patient constructions, negative existential constructions and agentive adversative passives, while tracing the development of complementizers and diminutives and demarcating the extent of their use across Sinitic and the Sinospheric zone. Both these kinds of data are then used to explore the issue of the adequacy of the comparative method to model linguistic relationships inside and outside of the Sinitic family. It is argued that any adequate explanation of language family formation and development needs to take into account these different kinds of evidence (or counter-evidence) in modeling genetic relationships.
3. The Zhongxian (中仙 ) Min Dialect: A Preliminary Study of Language Contact and Stratum-Formation Rongbin Zheng The Ohio State University
Previous studies on the historical strata of the Min dialects mostly focused on the sub-stratum of the languages and their relations with the Wu dialects. There are two views that are generally accepted: 1) the aboriginal population of the Min area was the Min-Yue people, whose language formed the Min substratum; 2) the Min dialects and the ancient Wu dialects are closely connected. Some Wu dialect elements have been retained in the Min language and formed another layer. In this paper, I will discuss these two layers in the Zhongxian subdialect of Min, and will provide examples from those two strata. The paper will also discuss a more recent stratum that is in the process of formation that is the result of influence from the official language, Putonghua
4.Klöter, Henning, “Re-writing Language in Taiwan", in: Fang-long Shih, Stuart Thompson and Paul- François Tremlett
This inter-disciplinary volume of essays opens new points of departure for thinking about how Taiwan has been studied and represented in the past, for reflecting on the current state of ‘Taiwan Studies’, and for thinking about how Taiwan might be re-configured in the future. Re-writing Culture in Taiwan is a multidisciplinary book with its own distinctive collective voice which will appeal to anyone interested in Taiwan. With chapters on nationalism, anthropology, cultural studies, media studies, religion and museum studies, the breadth of ground covered is truly comprehensive.
5.Government Information Office, The Republic of China Yearbook 2010, Taipei
6.Tsao, Feng-fu, “The Language Planning Situation in Taiwan"
This monograph presents a detailed study of the language planning situation in Taiwan. After a general account of the socio-historical context in which the planning activities have taken place, a brief review of what happened in terms of language planning in Mainland China under the Nationalist government between 1911 and 1945 is presented.
7.Tsao, Feng-fu, "The Language Planning Situation in Taiwan: An Update"
"We took a historical journey to see how things in language planning evolved up to 1999. In this update, we will continue our exploration. The turn of the century seems to be a perfect dividing line because it was in the year 2000 that the Kuomintang (KMT), which had ruled the island for 55 years, lost the presidential election and had to turn over administration to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which, as we mentioned in the monograph, emerged as a serious political player in the 1980s and contended aggressively for domination in the 1990s.The new ruling party moved quickly into action and, with their ‘pent-up’ energy, they have brought about quite a few changes in language planning; we will take up these changes in detail, exploring the DPP’s process of policy formation and examining their implementation."
  1. Medhurst W.H. A dictionary of the Hok-këèn dialect of the Chinese language. Ma­cao, 1832
  2. Maclay R.S., Baldwin C.C., Le­ger S.H. Dictionary of the Foochow dialect. 3rd ed. Shanghai, 1929
  3. Douglas C., Bar­clay T. Chinese-En­glish dictionary of the vernacular or spoken language of Amoy. Taipei, 1990
  4. Campbell W. A dictionary of the Amoy verna­cular. Tainan, 2006
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