The monograph consists of eleven papers which explore the grammar of early Chinese dialects by scrutinizing the pertinent historical materials. While some papers focus on a single dialect, including Mandarin, Min, Hakka, Cantonese, and Wu dialects, some papers involve a cross-dialectal comparison. The historical materials studied stretch back over a period of five centuries, from Lijingji, a play written by an unknown native speaker of Chinese in the Ming dynasty, to a variety of materials such as textbooks, dictionaries, collection of dialogues and Bible translations, which were compiled between the 19th century and mid-20th century by foreigners. By closely examining the historical materials of the early Chinese dialects, the papers try to trace the development of grammatical changes and explore the motivations and mechanisms behind the changes.
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