The Culture of Language in Ming China
By Nathan Vedal
Columbia University Press, forthcoming March 2022
The Culture of Language in Ming China traces the origins of the study of phonetic scripts designed for writing Chinese, as well as early proposals for language standardization that brought together seemingly unrelated communities, from Buddhist monks to opera librettists. Conventionally understood as a period of intellectual stagnation, the late Ming dynasty represented a pivotal moment in scholarly practices and literary production revolving around philological pursuits, which continue to resonate to the present day. The Culture of Language in Ming China is the first book to examine the broad body of Ming scholarly texts on language.