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Old ChineseA New Reconstruction$
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William H. Baxter and Laurent Sagart

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945375.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction
Source:
Old Chinese
Author(s):

William H. Baxter

Laurent Sagart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945375.003.0001

After defining Old Chinese, this short introductory chapter characterizes the approach used in the book, contrasting it with more traditional approaches whose limitations are described: first, the work of Qing-dynasty philologists who laid the foundations of the discipline; then the work of Bernhard Karlgren. The book’s approach is defined in terms of the new evidence that it brings to bear on the reconstruction of Old Chinese: evidence from paleography, from Chinese dialects, and from recent advances in the reconstruction of other East Asian languages; and also in methodological terms, in particular the authors’ preference for hypothetico-deductive methodology, and their view that reconstruction is never complete as long as new data become available. The chapter closes with an explanation of conventions used, and a plan of the book.

Keywords:   Qing philology, Karlgren, paleography, Chinese dialects, East Asian languages, hypothetico-deductive

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