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date: 27 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Historically, China has had language contact with people of various ethnic groups. The three large-scale contacts recorded in history are the Late Han to the Tang Dynasties—when large volumes of Buddhist sutras were translated into Chinese from Sanskrit or Pali; the Song Dynasty to the Yuan Dynasty—when China was in contact with Altaic languages; and the Qing Dynasty—when China was ruled by the Manchus. Over the past decade, researchers have studied the contact of the first two periods with respect to grammatical changes. Many contact-induced grammatical features have been identified in the translated Chinese Buddhist sutras and in the documents of the Yuan Dynasty. Scholars have studied the nature of the process and mechanisms motivating the appearances and disappearances of these unusual features in Chinese documents. Still, more work remains to be done before we gain a clearer picture of language contact in China.

Keywords: language contact, contact-induced grammatical features, grammatical changes, translated Chinese Buddhist sutras, documents of the Yuan Dynasty, unusual features in Chinese documents

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