Mieczysław Jerzy Künstler: The Sinitic Languages. A Contribution to Sinological Linguistics

Victor H. Mair
2022
For a comprehensive treatment of the diachronic and synchronic aspects of Sinitic languages, this is a most unusual work. It is unconventional in many respects, not least being the author's determination to exclude Chinese characters in his book. The only Sinographs that do appear are in the "Index with Glossary" (pp. 291-322), compiled by Barbara Hoster, Dirk Kuhlmann, and Elke Spielmanns-Rome. Künstler's decision not to include Chinese characters in his text was intended to emphasize his
more » ... ption of Sinitic languages as fundamentally oral in nature. His reasons for omitting Chinese characters in his book are succinct and powerful: I decided not to use Chinese characters in this book -not out of some strange editorial economy, but in order to show that language and writing are really two different things, that writing is only a code used to record a language, but is -so to say -external to the language itself (p. 11).
doi:10.48463/chun.2019.34.17846 fatcat:3uqjmr5yivdfvkseurlhvnowoi