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Sinophonics And The Nationalization Of Chinese

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Chapter Summary

A key analysis that has been missing from the newly laid foundation of Sinophone and diasporic studies is a historical understanding of what one means by the Chinese language when studying modern Chinese literature and culture. The linguistic foundation of Chinese and Sinophone studies puts recent polemics in a broader context that extends beyond the contemporary purview. The importance of building a national literature in the twentieth century subordinated a more fundamental rethinking about the elision between the sound and script of language. The phonetic alphabet, first developed to bridge different communities of native speakers, now serves to replace the notion of nativity with that of nationality. Dialects became subsidiary to the Mandarin-based common language, even though they all began as dialects, or native tones, in the original considerations.

Keywords: Chinese literature; Mandarin; Sinophonics



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