Book notice: The Politics of Langu age in Chinese Education, 1895 –1919

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Jan 15 16:35:09 UTC 2008

Series Title: Sinica Leidensia, 82
2007 : Brill

Author: Elisabeth Kaske


The study examines the origins of the "literary revolution" proclaimed
in 1917 which laid the foundation for the replacement of the classical
language (wenyan) by the vernacular (baihua) as China's national
language and medium of national literature. A unique multifaceted
approach is used to explain the political significance of the
classical/vernacular divide (diglossia) against the backdrop of social
change that followed the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5. Seeing education
as the central battleground for all debates on language, the study in
six thoroughly documented chapters investigates the language policy of
the Qing and Republican
governments, vernacular journalism of the revolutionaries, the
activities of urban script reformers, the linguistic thought of
national essence advocates, and the emergence of a scholarly interest
in the vernacular in academic circles.
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