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Cui, Yan (2009) The style of Lao She and modern Chinese: A study of Lao She's literary language in his fictional works. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The works of Lao She have inspired many people from all over the world to carry out research into different aspects of his life. However, to date, the study of Lao She's literary language has been largely neglected in comparison to the large volume of work that has been dedicated to other aspects of his writings, so there are still gaps in the study of his literary language. This present research provides a detailed analysis of the nature and development of Lao She's literary language style, and of the unique linguistic characteristics of his works over the thirty-seven year period of his writing career. The distinctive features of the literary language he used in his novels are identified and classified in the following categories through a thorough investigation based on a large amount of selected language data. These are the usage of (1) spoken language, (2) the Beijing dialect, (3) classical Chinese and written language, (4) English and unconventional language phenomena and (5) his distinctive modes of expression, on which no previous research has been carried out. In addition, this research also provides evidence of the development of Lao She's literary language through different historical periods by using charts and statistics which have been produced by the present writer. Lao She's literary language developed with the changes in society around him in China. The pattern of this development reflects the reality of modem Chinese language development: from classical Chinese to the vernacular, and then to the normalised Chinese common language. The Beijing dialect in Lao She's works is not solely the property of the Beijing citizens in the stories. From the usage of classical words to lexical items of written language, Lao She had his own theories on which he based his choice of words. He always consciously used his literary language in order to widen his readership. He regarded the adoption of a foreign language style in the modem Chinese written system as a way of helping the development of the Chinese language. The proof of this lies in the discovery of a large amount of language data which has an English language style and the lexical items which cannot be found in Chinese dictionaries.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:16

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