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D14 Language Flows (project completed)

Language Flows in Pre-Modern East-Asia: Literary Chinese

Coordination: Rudolf G. Wagner, Nicolae Cristian Statu


While language normally serves as the basic medium of cultural transfer – it can facilitate it, hinder it, distort it – the present project shifts the focus on language as the very object of cultural transfer: it concentrates on the flow of linguistic knowledge between cultures, and specifically on the adoption of literary Chinese (wenyan, kanbun, hanmun) as a high prestige linguistic variety in pre-modern East Asia. All aspects of the complex flow of knowledge are considered (transfers of institutional framework, instruction practices, canonical texts, cultural “experts”), with a focus on the recreation and transformation of lexical fields.

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