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Perry Link's An Anatomy of Chinese


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Does anyone have this book?*

Apparently it cites my old and much-loved site, Signese.com, and I'm curious as to what it says - probably not much, but I'm curious all the same. Not £20 curious though. And it's the kind of thing someone on here might have:

Particularly provocative is Link’s consideration of how Indo-European languages, with their preference for abstract nouns, generate philosophical puzzles that Chinese, with its preference for verbs, avoids.

That's the kind of thing that generates a twenty-page topic, two storming-outs and a banning on here.

*If not, why not buy it via that handy affiliate link. Go on. I could make literally cents.

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I don't have this book, but I am in the process of cataloguing a very large collection of Chinese books belonging to a very dear friend of mine whose love of Chinese ran to hundreds if not thousands of books.

He unfortunately died last year and I am sorting out his Chinese books for his wife so she can sell them later as she has no interest or knowledge of Chinese.

So it is highly likely i will come across this book and when i do i will let you know.

In the mean time if you search the book on "that" site for the word signese you get this and I quote:

I understand from eyewitnesses (or should we say ear witnesses) 13.12 www.signese.com July 9 2006. Viewed June 21 2012. 13. My source is Professor Hu Ch'ang Tu.

I don't know if this is of any help but there you go :)

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I think I might try and crowdfund a photo-taking trip to China so I can resurrect the site...

I'll refund the cost of Mr Link's book to the first person to write up a nice long review, by the way.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

I bought a copy a couple of weeks ago and am about half way through. It's fascinating in parts, not so in others. I like the way he writes, a good balance between academic and accessible IMO. I'll write a more detailed review when I'm finished. One thing that bugs me a little though is the sheer amount of the book which focuses on revolution politics, Mao Zedong, etc. No one would deny it's a major period in Chinese history but it would be refreshing if the author had found more examples which were not so dry and political. Referencing the old Chairman in every other chapter gets old fast, and unfortunately makes the book look slightly dated.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I recently realised I actually have an entire university library of books at my disposal and am now finally reading this book. It's a fun read so far, lots of examples (I agree with realmayo that Link has made some good choices in presenting them), and it makes a lot of sense.


Funny thing is, in discussing qiyan (seven-syllable lines) in the introduction, he states that 一看,二慢,三通過 souds better (to the ear of the native speaker) than 大家小心過街啊, because the former is qiyan. It seems he didn't realise the latter looks an awful lot like qiyan too.

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