1st Edition

Nantong Chinese

By Benjamin Ao Copyright 2021
    240 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Nantong Chinese is an in-depth account of an interesting and endangered Sinitic language spoken in Nantong, China, in an area in the Northern Yangtze River Delta about 800 square kilometers in size and 105 kilometers northwest of the city of Shanghai.

    The Chinese language consists of several hundred local varieties known as Sinitic languages or Chinese dialects, each representing a unique linguistic system. This book offers a comprehensive and systematic insight into one such system that is even more complex and more interesting than standard Mandarin. The unique vocalization and other linguistic features of Nantong Chinese make it unintelligible to most Chinese people. All the important linguistic aspects of Nantong Chinese are covered, including its phonetic, lexical, morphological and syntactic subsystems.

    Nantong Chinese will be of interest to professionals and students in linguistics worldwide.

    Table of Contents

    List of Figures

    List of Tables




    General Information

    1. Geological History

    2. Administrative History

    3. Demographic History

    4. Dialects in Greater Nantong

    5. Usage and Peculiarities

    6. Vitality and Endangerment

    7. Previous Research

    The Sound System

    1. The Syllable

    2. The Consonants

    3. The Vowels

    4. The Suprasegmentals

    5. Phonotactics and Distribution

    6. Phones and Phonemes

    Sounds That Change

    1. Segmental Change

    2. Tone Sandhi

    3. Prosodic Hierarchy

    Journey from the Past

    1. The Middle Chinese Sound System

    2. Phonetic Correspondence

    3. Seeking Patterns from Chaos

    4. Regular Sound Changes

    5. Irregular Sound Changes

    6. Reading and Colloquial Pronunciation

    Place in the Family

    1. Subgrouping of Chinese Dialects

    2. Nantong Chinese Is No Mandarin

    3. The Tong-Tai-Hui Dialect Group

    4. The Tongzhou Sprachbund

    The Writing System

    1. Sample Texts

    2. The Challenges

    3. The Quest for Authenticity

    4. A Phonetic Script

    The Vocabulary

    1. Previous Studies

    2. Language Contact and Loan Words

    3. Sources of Dialectal Words

    Words and Word Classes

    1. Parts of Speech

    2. Nouns and Pronouns

    3. Number, Case and Class

    4. Adjectives, Numerals and Classifiers

    5. Verbs

    6. Tense, Mood, Voice and Aspect

    7. Function Words

    Phrases and Sentences

    1. Types of Phrases

    2. Transformation

    3. Sentence Definition

    4. Speech Act Markers

    5. Basic Sentence Types

    6. Special Constructs

    7. Negative Sentences

    8. Interrogative Sentences

    9. Focus and Focalization

    A Literary Sampler

    1. A Lullaby

    2. Children’s Rhymes

    3. Love Songs

    4. Narrative Poems

    5. Fairy tales

    6. A Glossary



    Benjamin Ao earned his doctoral degree in theoretical linguistics in 1993 from the Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University. Since then, he has been mostly working as a computational linguist in the information industry. Currently, he is an unaffiliated independent scholar living in Los Angeles, California.