The Dong Language in Guizhou Province, China

Long Yaohong and Zheng Guoqiao; D. Norman Geary, translator

The Dong people are renowned within China for their beautiful singing and their architectural prowess. Their gifts have grown and flourished in the valleys and mountains of Guizhou, Hunan, and Guangxi Provinces of Southwestern China. In relative obscurity before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the 2.5 million Dong people are fast gaining an international reputation.

The Dong language is distinctive for its many tones. It is often referred to outside China as Kam and occupies a significant position in the Kam-Tai family of the Sino-Tibetan phylum.

Long Yaohong and Zheng Guoqiao are recognized authorities on Dong language research. Mr. Long is a native speaker of Dong. He provides an introduction, touching on many aspects of Dong history, culture, and language, and a discussion of the grammar. Mr. Zheng supplies sections on phonology, lexicon, and orthography. The two authors jointly present a chapter on Dong dialects.

The book as a whole represents the first comprehensive description of the Dong language available in English.

Table of Contents:

Translator's Acknowledgements

  1. Introduction
  2. 1.1 The Dong nationality's name and origin
    1.2 Culture
    1.3 Language
    1.4 The influence of the Chinese language on the Dong language

  3. Phonology
  4. 2.1 Syllable initials
    2.2 Syllable rhymes
    2.3 Tones
    2.4 Differences within standard Dong
    2.5 Pronunciation of Chinese loan words

  5. Lexicon
  6. 3.1 Syllable structure
    3.2 Word structure
    3.3 Homophones, polysemic words, and synonyms
    3.4 Cognate words
    3.5 Loan words

  7. Grammar
  8. 4.1 Lexical categories
    4.2 Phrases
    4.3 Sentence composition
    4.4 Sentence structure
    4.5 Sentence types

  9. Dialects
  10. 5.1 Differentiation and distribution of dialects
    5.2 Differences in pronunciation between lects
    5.3 Differences in vocabulary between lects
    5.4 Differences in grammar between dialects

  11. Orthography
  12. 6.1 Language survey and the Dong orthography
    6.2 Implementation and use of the Dong orthography
    6.3 Using Chinese characters to record Dong

Appendix 1. Vocabulary of the Two Dong Dialects
Appendix 2. Co-occurrence of Dong Initials, Rhymes, and Tones
Appendix 3. Cognate Words

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xvi, 268 pages
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ISBN 10:
6 × 9 × 0.59 in
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