Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Names for the Chinese Language
(1,650 words)

The nomenclature of Chinese language names has a long and complex history both natively and internationally. This complexity becomes less baffling once it is appreciated that (a) “the Chinese language” is really a cover term for an immense range of linguistic varieties; (b) the emergence of new varieties, and new standards, periodically calls for new names; and (c) the choice of language names follows social and political trends which are in constant flux.

An off-hand remark by one of the most famous Chi…

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Jeroen WIEDENHOF, “Names for the Chinese Language”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 13 December 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000283>
First published online: 2015

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