A loanword, or wailaici, is a word with similar meaning and phonetic form to a word from a foreign language that has been naturalized in the recipient language. From ancient times, cultural exchanges between China and other countries has brought and integrated a myriad of loanwords to the Chinese language. Approaching the topic from a diachronic perspective, this volume is the first book-length work to chart the developmental trajectory, features, functions, and categories of loanwords into Chinese.
Beginning with a general introduction to the Chinese loanword system, the author delves deeper to explore trends and standardization in Chinese loanword studies, and the research landscape of contemporary loanword studies more generally. Combining theoretical reflections with real-life examples of Chinese loanwords, the author not only discusses long established examples from the dictionary but also a great amount of significant loanwords adopted in the 21st century. The author shows how the complexity of the Chinese loanword system is intertwined with the intricacies of the Chinese character system.
This title will be an essential reference for students, scholars, and general readers who are interested in Chinese loanwords, linguistics, as well as language and culture.