Contrastive Linguistics: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives

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Contrastive Linguistics is the first book written by a linguist from mainland China on the histories and principles of comparing and contrasting Chinese and Western languages, specifically English. From Wilhelm von Humboldt's initial study in comparative linguistics to the present day, traditional scholarship in contrastive linguistics has taken a Western perspective and shown how foreign languages relate to the Indo-European language family. However, such a view has a limited scope, and there is an alternative history to contrastive linguistics. This book is an attempt by Professor Wenguo Pan to redress the balance in contrastive linguistics, comparing Western languages to Chinese, rather than vice versa. He provides a survey of contrastive linguistics in China throughout the past century, and aims to open a window for the world to see what the new generations of Chinese linguists are doing in this exciting field, and to start a dialogue between scholars of different backgrounds and linguistic traditions. Contrastive Linguistics looks at the history of this discipline both in Europe and in China. Professor Pan presents a survey of the historical, philosophical and methodological foundations of the discipline, but also examines its scope in relation to general, comparative, anthropological and applied linguistics. This book will be of interest to academics interested in a new perspective on contrastive linguistics or Chinese linguistics.