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Yunnan Bai

Authored by: Grace Wiersma

The Sino-Tibetan Languages

Print publication date:  December  2002
Online publication date:  May  2006

Print ISBN: 9780700711291
eBook ISBN: 9780203221051
Adobe ISBN: 9781135797188

10.4324/9780203221051.ch40

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Abstract

This survey is a much-reduced version of a longer work which remains in manuscript, cited here as Wiersma 2001. Citation to sources published in Chinese is given in full in the longer paper, and a fuller sample and discussion of the data are also provided. Although I alone am responsible for the views expressed here, my perspective on Bai has grown from discussion with many experts over the past fifteen years. Most recently, and during the preparation of this chapter, I have enjoyed fruitful exchanges with Fu Jingqi and Xu Lin. My original inspiration was provided through contact with James Matisoff at Berkeley. Jim challenged me to commit to the study of Bai, aided and abetted by the late Paul K. Benedict. My efforts to grasp the substance and context of the language might have foundered without the support of the late Zhao Yansun, who generously shared his views, contacts, and unpublished material with me in China despite considerable inconvenience. My field trips to Dali were supported and facilitated by the late Yang Yingxin, then head of the Yunnan Minority Language Advisory Commission. I regret the passing of these two departed Bai enthusiasts before I was able to thank them publicly for their generosity and encouragement. Li Shaoni was my principal language consultant in China, and I am grateful to him for patiently enduring my interviews and for generously introducing me to his home community during the months of April and May, 1989. Finally I wish to express grateful thanks to the former US Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China through which funding for my research in China from 1987 to 1989 was provided, as well as to the Special Fund for Exchange with China of the Hong Kong Polytechnic for a grant which allowed me to attend the Bai corpus planning symposium in 1993. And thanks also to the Graduate Division at Berkeley for its support under the Humanities Graduate Research Program which allowed me to consult with François Dell at the Centre de Recherches linguistiques en Asie Orientale in 1986.

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