Huang Xiaolei (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

The Debate over National Pronunciation vs. Beijing Pronunciation of Chinese in the 1920s

Today standard Chinese (Putonghua) largely follows the pronunciation used in Beijing. However, this was by no means self-evident at the beginning of the 20th century. The Debate over National Pronunciation 国音 versus Beijing Pronunciation 京音in the Chinese educational circles of the 1920s opened an important turn for the Chinese standard phonology from written to spoken language. At the same time, the turn in Chinese standard phonology has had a profound impact on modern Chinese and modern China. This lecture attempts to analyze the historical background, to reconstruct realistic motivation and to find the far-reaching implications of this debate.


  • Mo, 11 November 18.00 - 20.00