名不正，則言不順 – Language Contact in the Borderlands of the Western Regions
Friday, 31 March 2023, 4 – 5pm
An in-person lecture by Dr Hannes A. Fellner (University of Vienna) organised by the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences.
The study of language contact between ancient Indo-European languages and older varieties of Chinese is still in its infancy. Work dedicated to this issue – with very few exceptions – tends to be methodologically flawed: it suffers from a lack of understanding of the Indo-European languages in the vicinity of the area where Chinese was spoken and/or a lack of understanding of the older varieties of Chinese; it ignores the philological background on both ends of the loan relation and/or neglects historical and cultural constraints on contact situations. The recent advances in Indo-European linguistics and philology, especially regarding Tocharian – the old Indo-European language closest to ancient China – and the progress made in the study of older varieties of Chinese are the basis for a new look on language contact.
In this presentation, plausible loan words will be (re)examined based on new research in Indo-European and Chinese philology and linguistics. This will shed new light on cultural contacts on ancient China’s western frontiers and on the linguistic reconstruction of the involved languages.
Hannes A. Fellner is Associate Professor of historical linguistics and digital philology at the University of Vienna. His research focusses on Indo-European morphology and morpho-syntax, historical and comparative linguistics and philology of the Indo-European languages of the ancient Silk Road, and theoretical approaches to language change. He is the director of the Austrian Institute for Research on China and Southeast Asia and a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
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