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ArtikelHuman diversity and the genealogy of languages: Noah as the founding ancestor of the Chinese  
Oleh: Hutton, Christopher
Jenis: Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Dalam koleksi: Language Sciences (Full Text) vol. 30 no. 5 (2008), page 512-528.
Topik: Chinese language; Chinese writing system; Universal history; Linguistic affinity; Linguistic naturalness
Fulltext: Hutton_Christopher, p. 512-528.pdf (181.63KB)
Isi artikelThe characteristics which were held to define the Chinese language within the Western intellectual tradition placed it for a time at the centre in discussions of the genealogy of mankind. The dominant premodern paradigm for the explanation of human linguistic diversity was Biblical exegesis, as discussed and elaborated within the framework of ‘universal history’. A number of Western scholars argued that the Biblical patriarchs could be identified with legendary figures from Chinese history and that there was a direct link between the Chinese language and the pre-Babel linguistic order. The Chinese language, in particular its writing system, had universal characteristics, making it central in the quest for the restoration of the linguistic and conceptual unity of mankind. The rise of a modern linguistics marginalized universal projects of etymological speculation, and it was concluded that there was no cognate relationship between Chinese, Hebrew and the European languages. Both the language and the writing system were increasingly seen as anomalous and unnatural. Western understandings of the Chinese language and the Chinese writing system need to be contextualized within the evolution of conceptualizations of the natural and artificial.
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