Chinese, overseas experts discuss integration of Old Chinese phonology and paleography at UM

26 Jul 2017

The University of Macau’s (UM) Department of Chinese Language and Literature recently co-organised the International Conference on the Integration of Old Chinese Phonology and Paleography, with Hong Kong Baptist University’s Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology, with the aim of deepening and promoting the integrated study of Old Chinese (OC) phonology and paleography. Chaired by Prof Chen Zhi from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, the conference attracted 25 experts and scholars from around the world.

Lionel Ni, vice rector (academic affairs) of UM; Hong Gang Jin, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH); and Zhu Shoutong, head of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature attended the conference’s opening ceremony. Prof Ni said that to achieve its goal of becoming a world-class university, UM must first develop the university’s Chinese department into a first-rate department, and therefore all events hosted by the Department of Chinese Language and Literature will receive full support from the university. As an internationally renowned applied linguist, Prof Jin pointed out that new discoveries in OC phonology and paleography will be greatly beneficial to modern applied linguistics, and the studies conducted by the participating scholars will help further the research of the FAH in a number of aspects. Prof Zhu gave a brief introduction to the Department of Chinese Language and Literature and expressed his hope to organise similar international conferences in the future in order to promote the department’s development.

There were seven keynote speakers at the conference. They were Prof Zhengzhang Shangfang, a researcher from the Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Prof Pan Wuyun, a chief researcher of Fudan University’s International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization, and E-Institute of Shanghai Universities for Comparative Linguistics; Prof Chi Hsiu-sheng from the Department of Chinese Literature, Chinese Culture University; Prof Axel Schuessler, an emeritus professor from Wartburg College; Prof William Baxter from the Department of Asian Language and Cultures, University of Michigan; Prof Laurent Sagart, a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research; and Prof Christoph Harbsmeier, a professor emeritus from the University of Oslo. All of them have published extensively in this highly specific field. Some of them have developed systems of Old Chinese reconstructions that are widely used, such as the Zhengzhang-Pan system and the Baxter-Sagart system. Conference participants discussed hot issues in OC reconstruction, including the use of recently published excavated materials in reconstructing OC phonology.

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