Influence of Writing System on the Language
(2,418 words)

Writing consists of symbolic means for the physical (typically visual) representation of something linguists are inclined to consider more fundamental – spoken language (Rogers 2005:2). However, though horse and cart are thus placed in the proper order, it is not always the case that where speech leads, script dutifully follows. In premodern China, the language of literature remained largely intact for centuries after the spoken tongue to which it was first tethered had split apart and set off i…

Cite this page
Jonathan SMITH, “Influence of Writing System on the Language”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 15 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2015

▲   Back to top   ▲