Y.R. Chao works being reissued

cover of the book 'Linguistic Essays, by Yuenren Chao'The Commercial Press has begun issuing a set of the complete works of Y.R. Chao (Zhao Yuanren / 趙元任 / 赵元任). This project, which will comprise some twenty volumes, will contain works in both English and Mandarin Chinese. All of the many fields Chao wrote about will be covered. Letters and journals will also be included, as will sound recordings. Wonderful!

For those who don’t want to wait for the whole series or don’t feel the need to buy all of them, the Commercial Press has also two volumes of Chao’s selected essays on linguistics: one in English and one in Mandarin. These are, respectively, Linguistic Essays by Yuenren Chao (ISBN: 7-100-03385-3/H·860) and Zhào Yuánrèn yǔyánxué lùnwénjí (赵元任语言学论文集) (ISBN: 7-100-03127-3/H·789).

cover of the book '赵元任语言学论文集 Zhao Yuanren Yuyanxue Lunwenji'Note how the cover of Linguistic Essays, a book printed just last year in China, uses “Yuenren Chao,” the traditional spelling and Western order of his name, rather than “Zhao Yuanren,” the spelling used in Hanyu Pinyin. Also note how the Mandarin title is given in traditional, not simplified, characters: 趙元任語言學論文集, not 赵元任语言学论文集. A nice surprise, on both counts. On the other hand, the botched romanization on the cover of the Mandarin-language collection, which gives “ZHAOYUANREN YUYANXUELUNWENJI” instead of “Zhào Yuánrèn yǔyánxué lùnwénjí,” is particularly inappropriate and painful to look at on a collection of the works of this brilliant linguist. But don’t judge this book by its cover.

Here are links to all the volumes in the complete works that I’ve been able to locate information on:

cover of the first volume of Y.R. Chao's collected works

3 thoughts on “Y.R. Chao works being reissued

  1. This is wonderful news! I am especially excited that sound recordings will be included in the collection. For many years I have been searching for the recording that Chao was said to have made of the artificial Chinese standard of 1913 (the so-called lao3 guo2yin1 or ‘Old National Pronunciation’, as opposed to the xin1 guo2yin1 adopted in the 1930s based on Beijing phonology, which is the direct antecedent of Taiwan’s Guo2yu3 and the mainland’s Pu3tong1hua4). This recording served as the basis of the standard language that Chao taught to Western students at Harvard in the 1920s. One reason I’ve been eager to hear these recordings is to find out how Chao rendered the ‘fifth’ or ru4 ‘entering’ tone that was part of the standard. If you find out any specific information about the availability of recordings, please post it for us.

  2. Just finished reading Family of Chaos in Chinese and wanted badly to read all of Chao’s writings. A wonderful delight to find this posting of announcement of the re-issuing of Y. R. Chao’s works. Saves a lot of time trying to find the works separately. Many thanks.

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