Conferences in Hawaii

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Honolulu for the Zhang Liqing Memorial International Conference on Hanyu Pinyin. This promises to be a tremendously exciting event, with select scholars from throughout the United States, Asia, and Oceania participating. I’ll have more to say about this after the gathering.

While I’m in Hawaii I may drop in on the joint conference of the Association for Asian Studies and the International Convention of Asia Scholars (March 31–April 3). You might think, though, that with nearly 800 sessions on just about everything under the sun, at least a few of them would discuss romanization. (But nooo.) Still, session 282, “Beyond Cultural Essentialism: Neo-Orientalism in Chinese Studies” (Friday morning, 10:15-12:15), sounds interesting, especially Edward McDonald’s talk on character fetishization in Chinese studies. McDonald’s new book, Learning Chinese, Turning Chinese: Challenges to Becoming Sinophone in a Globalised World, also covers this topic.

If you know of anything else particularly interesting going on at the AAS-ICAS conference or in Honolulu at large, please let me know. (For example, what’s the best bookstore there?)

new book in Pinyin

image of the cover of the printed edition of Pinyin Riji DuanwenI’m very pleased to announce the publication of a new book, Pīnyīn Rìjì Duǎnwén, by Zhāng Lìqīng. Other than one introductory letter in English, the work is entirely in Mandarin.

This is perhaps the world’s first Mandarin-language book to be published in Hanyu Pinyin without so much as one Chinese character. Thus, it is of historic importance. But it’s also a wonderful collection of stories. The author generously granted the right to release all of this book online.

The work will also soon be available in an inexpensive printed edition.

Some of you will recall Zhang’s lovely story Dàshuǐ Guòhòu (“After the Flood”), which first appeared here three years ago. It leads the new collection. The remaining twelve memoirs/stories are mainly in the same vein, recalling a childhood in China and Taiwan.

Zhè shì yī gè lǎo gùshi. Shìqing fāshēng zài 1946 nián xiàtiān. Nà nián wǒ jiāngjìn shí suì, zhù zài Sìchuān Chéngdū jiāoqū d Bǎihuā Qiáo. Zhōngguó Kōngjūn Tōngxìn Xuéxiào d jīdì zài nàli. Wǒ bàba shì nà ge xuéxiào d jūnguān….

The author died earlier this year. She was able to view proofs of the work, though her illness prevented her from making any corrections herself. Fortunately, several people stepped in, contributing substantially to the checking of the Pinyin and other aspects of the work. I’d like especially to thank the following people: David W. Goodrich, Jiao Liwei, Kuo Hsin-chun, Melvin Lee, and Victor H. Mair. Any errors found in the book should be considered my own.

Please report any divergences from the Pinyin orthography established by Yin Binyong and the spellings used in the ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary (Zhang was, after all, one of the associate editors of that massive work) to me. I’ve made very few intentional departures from those.

Please note that the use of “d” (where most authors would use “de”) is intentional. This is not a bug but a feature, something I came to understand better the more time I spent with this text. The use of “d” is explained in the second introductory letter (Liǎng Fēng Gěi Biānzhě d Xìn: 2).

Li-ching Chang, 1936-2010

Li-ching Chang (Zhāng Lìqīng / 張立青 / 张立青 / Zhang Liqing) was born in Changyi (near Qingdao), Shandong Province, China, on October 5, 1936. When she was 5 years old, her family sought to escape the fighting (between the Communists and the Nationalists) in her native Shandong Province and fled inland to Sichuan, eventually settling in Chengdu. In 1947 Li-ching’s family followed Chiang Kai-shek’s armies and moved to Gangshan, southern Taiwan. Li-ching attended Tainan Normal School. The same school at the same location has since been expanded to become the National University of Tainan. Upon graduation from this teacher training high school, Li-ching taught in elementary schools for several years. During this period, she also joined an army drama troupe.

After an intensive period of preparation for the college entrance examinations, Li-ching was successful in entering the Chinese Department at National Taiwan University, from which she received her B.A. degree in 1964. She also went on to earn an M.A. (1966) at NTU, with a thesis focusing on the works of the early medieval poet, Tao Yuanming. Later, she enrolled in a graduate program of Chinese studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, and there she earned another M.A., writing a thesis on the modern Chinese playwright, Cao Yu.

Li-ching was a superb teacher of Mandarin and was employed by numerous outstanding institutions of higher education, including the University of Washington, the Oberlin program at Tunghai University (Taichung, Taiwan), Middlebury College, Harvard University, Bryn Mawr College (joint program with Haverford College), the University of Pennsylvania, and Swarthmore College. Li-ching was co-founder and co-editor of Xin Tang, a journal of romanized Chinese. She served on the editorial board of the ABC Chinese-English dictionaries at the University of Hawaii and made a virtuoso translation of Zhou Youguang’s The Historical Evolution of Chinese Languages and Scripts (published by The Ohio State University National East Asian Language Resource Center in 2003).

She generously provided several of her important works to this Web site, including:

Li-ching lived in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, with her husband, the scholar Victor H. Mair.

Li-ching Chang / Zhang Liqing / ???