Lin Yutangon “Discursive Classical Chinese” and “Chinese Pidgin English”


7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


  • Time: 19:00-20:30
  • Date: Wednesday, 11 May 2022
  • Venue: Zhumu, Please contact for Zhumu details


Lin Yutang 林语堂 (1895–1976) was one of the most well-known modern Chinese writers to the world. The single most important achievement of the New Culture Movement in the early 20th century China was to replace wenyanwen 文言文 (classical Chinese) with baihuawen 白话文 (vernacular Chinese) as the standard modern Chinese. Lin belonged to the circle of influential figures of Literary Revolution and promoted the use of vernacular Chinese. By the 1930s, however, he became more and more sceptical about the kind of baihuawen being practiced at the time as deviating from Its original goal of “writing as you speak.” He then proposed and practiced the style of yuluti 语录体 (discursive classical Chinese) as a better alternative to the corrupted “vernacular Chinese.” As a bilingual writer of Chinese and English, Lin Yutang also mocked the proposal of “BASIC English” and called for the introduction of “Chinese Pidgeon English” (yangjingbang Yingyu 洋泾浜英语). This lecture will discuss the historical and translingual complexity of modern Chinese language reform in relation to Lin Yutang’s proposals of “discursive classical Chinese” and “Chinese Pidgeon English.”


Dr. Jana Benická is Professor of Chinese Studies and Head of Department of East Asian Studies at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. She has published widely in Chinese Studies, including on the studies of Chinese Buddhism as well as the studies of modern Chinese writers such as Qian Zhongshu and Lin Yutang.

You may be interested.