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Linguistic Change and the Chinese Dialects—An International Symposium Dedicated to the Memory of the Late Professor Li Fang-Kuei

“Linguistic Change and the Chinese Dialects from the Perspectives of Historical Documentation and Language Contact”, an international symposium dedicated to the memory of the late Professor Li Fang-Kuei, distinguished scholar and teacher at the University of Washington from 1949 to 1968, took place August 17-19, 1998, at the University of Washington’s Faculty Center. The symposium was subsidized by the University of Washington (Department of Asian Languages and Literature, China Studies Program of the Jackson School of International Studies, College of Arts and Sciences) and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Twenty-nine scholars from all over the world presented papers for eleven panels. The keynote address of the first day, “Linguistic Co-evolution”, was given by William S-Y. Wang (City University of Hong Kong and professor emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley). First-day speakers included Ting Pang-Hsin (professor and dean of the School of Humanities & Social Science of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Agassiz Professor emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley), Ken-ichi Takashima (University of British Columbia, Canada), Anne Yue (University of Washington), Hirayama Hisao (Waseda University and professor emeritus of Tokyo University), William Baxter III (University of Michigan), W. South Coblin (University of Iowa) and Iwata Ray (Shizuoka University), on topics ranging from oracle bones inscriptions to Mandarin tones and phylogeny, and the Jiang-Huai dialects.

The second day of the symposium began with a special presentation by the eldest daughter of Li Fang-Kuei, Lindy Li Mark (California State University at Hayward) on “A Dialect Approach to Speech in Kunqu Performance”. Lindy’s performance was particularly moving to those who had heard Li Fang-Kuei himself accompanying on the flute the kunqu performance of Madame Li Xu Ying. Another keynote address, “Voicing in the Shyrbei Dialect”, was given by Jerry Norman (University of Washington). Second-day speakers included Zhang Min (National University of Singapore), Hou Jingyi (Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Huang Xuezhen (Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), You Rujie (Fudan University), Li Xiaofan (Peking University), Wu Yunji (University of Melbourne), Laurent Sagart (Centre de national de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris) and Yan Sen (Jiangxi Normal University) on topics relating to the dialects of Southern Mandarin, Jin, Wu, Xiang, Gan, Hakka, and to the Women’s Script.

Third-day speakers included Mei Tsu-Lin (Cornell University), Shi Qisheng (Zhongshan University), Lien Chinfa (National Tsing Hua University), Hung-Nin Samuel Cheung (University of California at Berkeley and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) and Benjamin T’sou (City University of Hong Kong), on topics relating to the Min and the Yue dialects.

The symposium was made very special by the attendance of two of Professor Li’s three children (Lindy and his youngest child Annie) and three grandchildren.

A volume of selected papers presented at the symposium was published in December, 2000 by the Academia Sinica of Taiwan, supported by a publication grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation. For further information please visit the website at http://www.ling.sinica.edu.tw.