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Old ChineseA New Reconstruction$
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William H. Baxter and Laurent Sagart

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945375.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Old Chinese

William H. Baxter

Laurent Sagart

Oxford University Press

After defining Old Chinese, this short introductory chapter characterizes the approach used in the book, contrasting it with more traditional approaches whose limitations are described: first, the work of Qing-dynasty philologists who laid the foundations of the discipline; then the work of Bernhard Karlgren. The book’s approach is defined in terms of the new evidence that it brings to bear on the reconstruction of Old Chinese: evidence from paleography, from Chinese dialects, and from recent advances in the reconstruction of other East Asian languages; and also in methodological terms, in particular the authors’ preference for hypothetico-deductive methodology, and their view that reconstruction is never complete as long as new data become available. The chapter closes with an explanation of conventions used, and a plan of the book.

Keywords:   Qing philology, Karlgren, paleography, Chinese dialects, East Asian languages, hypothetico-deductive

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