Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Mig

Sinologist scholars

Recommended Posts

Mig

I was wondering if there is a sinologist scholar who's fluent in mandarin Chinese giving a lecture in Chinese. . I have watched some giving lectures in English for
a Chinese educated audience. Just saw Kristofer Schipper right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Jim

Found this doing a search on Youku with the terms 汉学家 讲课 :https://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNzg4NjI2Nzky.html?spm=a2h0c.8166622.PhoneSokuUgc_3.dtitle

There were other results too, only checked out a couple.

ETA If you want something really 地道 there's Dr Fred Engst but it's a bit of a cheat as he grew up in Xi'an. https://www.bilibili.com/video/av12478295/

  • Like 3
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mig

Thanks Jim, the  汉学家 讲课 was much helpful and found many who are fluent in Mandarin Chinese. What I have noticed is that many more are specialists but
I don't see them speaking Chinese and I have met in the past many of those who are not fluent in Chinese but became scholars of Chinese studies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Balthazar

I dont think many typical sinologists have excellent spoken Chinese. They're mostly buried in classical texts and/or focus on translation of written works, so I don't think it's all that puzzling.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mig

Balthazar, indeed, I have noticed that too even by those who are linguists specialists in Chinese language, moreover specialists in  English written materials for the most part. On the other hand, I see a new generation of westerners speaking fluently Chinese as Dashan and many others. Back in the days, (70's, 80's and 90's) Slavic spoken scholars were much fluent in mandarin Chinese. I was just curious the shift that has happened and the reason why many sinologist still are not proficient in Chinese.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

My impression is that older scholars, those that got into the field when China was largely closed to the West, don't have particularly good colloquial skills and tend to speak quite formally, with pronunciation and tones so carefully enunciated it almost hurts to hear them. I call it the Academician Accent.

 

I suspect you have problems finding talks in Chinese by the most eminent scholars because they know their Chinese doesn't quite match up to their eminence, and they're reluctant to advertise it.

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Balthazar
4 hours ago, Mig said:

On the other hand, I see a new generation of westerners speaking fluently Chinese as Dashan and many others. Back in the days, (70's, 80's and 90's) Slavic spoken scholars were much fluent in mandarin Chinese.

 

1. Yes, but would you call Dashan a "Sinologist"?

2. "Slavic spoken scholars were much fluent in mandarin Chinese" - would be interesting to hear more about these. Do you have examples, and are there video/audio recordings available?

 

When I was studying in Hong Kong I attended a class by John Minford on "Chinese Literature through Translation" (English taught). He's what I guess you would call a classical Sinologist, but with a focus on literature rather than linguistics. I'd say about 70 percent of the students were (Mainland) Chinese. Some of them would come up to Minford during the breaks to discuss details in Chinese. While he never appeared to have any problems with holding a conversation about the works of literature he was lecturing on in Chinese, there is no doubt that his verbal skills (intonation, pronunciation) was not at the level of his reading and that he spoke in a rather formal way. For a (short) pronounciation example, see from 53:53 in this video. I think this is fairly typical, to echo what @889 wrote. But I'm not sure if the (younger) Sinologists of today are that much better. It seems obvious to me that the more time spent studying classical texts, the less time left over to practice speaking. I'd be extremely impressed to see a "Western" scholar with the same command of classical texts (or linguistics) as some of these guys that also spoke Chinese as good as Dashan.

 

 

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PerpetualChange

Need to look for the younger faces. Old school sinologists come from an era where academics were a less diverse bunch and mainly consisted of old white guys who did not necessarily speak Chinese well, the last in a line of old imperialist humanities departments where western academics could look upon the developing world from a pedestal of privilege as the authorities. Many of them took on Chinese students over the years, though, and the Western sinologists as well learned to speak (but not necessarily read) at a much higher level than the predecessors due to all the modern advantages. 

 

However, while the field is certainly more diverse and global these days, it's also shrinking. Outside of China, you'll find that Chinese and East Asian Studies departments of this nature are shrinking. International conferences where you may hear mandarin as a common language are few and far between, not very well attended, and probably rarely if ever filmed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu

It's said that Robert van Gulik, who spent years in China, married a Chinese wife, had many Chinese friends in high places and could write calligraphy with the best of them, had pretty atrocious spoken Chinese.

 

It seems some people in this thread define sinologist = specialist in classical Chinese. As I use the word, it's any academic specialised in a subject related to the Chinese language/culture/politics/etc, historical or current. It's true that the generation who learned Chinese in the 1960s and 1970s had little to no opportunity to actually to go China and generally didn't/don't speak Chinese well. But it's still very possible to study a China-related subject without being able to lecture about it fluently. For one thing, passive language-knowledge (reading and listening) is usually more easy to acquire than active knowledge (writing, speaking). These scholars' output is mostly in English, so they have little time or incentive to spend a lot of effort on speaking Chinese better. As long as they can converse normally with the people they need to speak with, they don't need to reach Dashan level. And you need to speak it really well to lecture in it without embarrassing yourself or being just the foreign talking monkey (or feeling like one).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Balthazar

 

32 minutes ago, PerpetualChange said:

Need to look for the younger faces.

 

Such as? I'm still eager to see the examples of Westerners with a great grasp of classical Chinese that also have good spoken Chinese.

  

30 minutes ago, Lu said:

It seems some people in this thread define sinologist = specialist in classical Chinese. As I use the word, it's any academic specialised in a subject related to the Chinese language/culture/politics/etc, historical or current.

 

I'm using it in the traditional sense, and I assumed the OP did too as he used Schipper as an example. There's probably different usages of the term, and it might have changed over the years. If it can basically mean "anyone specializing in the study of any aspect related to China/Chinese" then even I am a sinologist. I actually think the terms is about ready to be retired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PerpetualChange
1 minute ago, Balthazar said:

Such as? I'm still eager to see the examples of Westerners with a great grasp of classical Chinese that also have good spoken Chinese.

Assuming faculty in Western institutions who are Chinese are disqualified by this line of questioning.... that blows away most of the younger faces in the field I can think of. You have Timothy Chan and Xurong Kong, and many others who are Chinese, who have been published in English journals. 

 

As far as white-guy sinologists go, I've heard Martin Kern's Chinese is very good, but I have never met him. I believe he has presented in Chinese at international conferences without being embarrassed. I have seen David Knetchtges present in Chinese and he seemed to be in command. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mig

Very true Dashan is not a sinologist as it is defined by classical Asian studies, however, he has a very good command of the Chinese and there are some westerners who are getting better. As for the old school, those who couldn't go to mainland China had the opportunity to study in Taiwan as Kristofer Schipper did back in the 60's and 70's. I don't have examples of slavic scholars but I do remember some like Jaroslav Prusek, Alexis Rygaloff (French born from Russian parents), who had an excellent command of Mandarin. Goran Malmqvist from Sweden was very good and very knowledgeable. Many others known by their translation classical works or studies who were not proficient in Mandarin and apparently they had Chinese scholars informants during their career of scholars. I thank everyone for your opinion and it gives me an idea on how proficient a western scholar is in mandarin Chinese. It struck me several years ago, to see how many individuals got better at speaking fluently Chinese compared to previous generations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...