1st Edition

The Chinese Writing System in Asia An Interdisciplinary Perspective

By Yu Li Copyright 2020
    252 Pages 67 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 67 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Chinese Writing System in Asia: An Interdisciplinary Perspective integrates a diverse range of disciplinary approaches in examining how the Chinese script represents and actively shapes personal and social identities in and beyond Asia. It is an ideal read for students and scholars interested in a broad and culturally rich introduction to research on the Chinese writing system. It can also serve as the main text of an undergraduate course on the subject.

    Key features of this volume include:

    • Insights from studies of the Chinese writing system in linguistics, script reform and technology, gender, identity, literature, and the visual arts;
    • Examples embedded in inquiries of the cultural history and contemporary society of Asia;
    • Rigorous yet accessible discussions of complex concepts and phenomena that assume no prior knowledge of Asian languages or linguistics;
    • Supplementary multimedia materials and resources, including instructional support, available online. 

    Part I Linguistic Preliminaries

    Chapter 1 Foundational concepts

    Chapter 2 What is writing?

    Chapter 3 What kinds of writing systems are there?

    Chapter 4 Pīnyīn tutorial

    Part II Writing Chinese

    Chapter 5 The Chinese speech

    Chapter 6 Written Chinese

    Chapter 7 The Chinese writing system

    Chapter 8 Demythifying the Chinese script

    Part III Borrowing the Chinese writing system

    Chapter 9 Chinese characters in Asia: An overview

    Chapter 10 Writing Korean

    Chapter 11 Writing Japanese

    Chapter 12 Writing Vietnamese

    Part IV Reforming the Chinese script

    Chapter 13 Phonetic writing before pīnyīn

    Chapter 14 Pīnyīn

    Chapter 15 Simplification of Chinese characters

    Chapter 16 Writing and technology in modern China

    Part V Identity and gender in writing Chinese

    Chapter 17 Handwriting and personhood

    Chapter 18 Sexism in the Chinese writing system

    Chapter 19 Nǚshū: Women’s script

    Chapter 20 Script choice in writing Japanese

    Part VI Chinese Characters in art and literature

    Chapter 21 Chinese calligraphy

    Chapter 22 A calligraphy workshop

    Chapter 23 Modern calligraphy in China

    Chapter 24 Chinese Characters in Avant-garde art

    Chapter 25 Chinese Characters and Western Modernist poetry


    Yu Li is Assistant Professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola Marymount University, USA. Her research interests include Chinese linguistics, Chinese language pedagogy, East Asian calligraphy, and the Chinese linguistic landscape in the diaspora.

    "This is a comprehensive introduction to the Chinese writing system from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. The author writes beautifully on the linguistic, socio-cultural, anthropological, literary and artistic aspects of Chinese characters." - Hongyuan Dong, Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Linguistics, The George Washington University in Washington DC, USA

    "This book is a welcome new introduction to the Chinese writing system. I see the strengths of the book in three areas: its wide scope in the topics it covers, its thoroughness in the treatment of the topics, and its balance between scholarly discussions of the topics and its attention to popular interest in the topics." - Guohe Zheng, Professor of Japanese, Ball State University, USA