Please tell us about your research project.
I am a now a contractual researcher at École normale supérieure (d’Ulm), attached to the LATTICE laboratory UMR8094 (personal page). After defending my thesis entitled "The iconicity of the temporal sequence in contemporary Mandarin Chinese" (under the supervision of Prof. Alain Lemaréchal) at Sorbonne University (ex-Paris 4) in 2018, I am currently preparing a post-doctoral diploma in historical and philological sciences at the École Pratique des Hautes Études under the supervision of Prof. Daniel Petit with a topic on the Altaization of Pekingese from the 12th to the early 20th century.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your scholarship/exchange programme?
I am very lucky to be able to benefit from this one-month stay during this post-pandemic period in summer 2022.
During my stay at the Maison Française d’Oxford, I intend to study in detail four Chinese versions (1853, 1865, 1869, 1870) of the allegorical English novel The Pilgrim's Progress (1678) by John Bunyan, a Baptist preacher, which has been translated by English missionaries in China.
There was no official national language (Standard Mandarin or Putonghua 'common language') at the time, and most people had a better understanding of the Sinitic languages of the areas in which they lived. These four versions are extremely valuable in that they offer different translations of the same novel, first in the Amoy dialect (Southern Min, spoken in Fujian province) in 1853, then in Pekingese (1865), Shanghainese (1869), and finally Cantonese (1870).
The aim is to try to measure the evolution of these Sinitic languages over the last two centuries.
First impressions of Oxford/the University?
Oxford University is extraordinary in its medieval style with a bit of neo-gothic. It reminds me of the Sorbonne courtyard which must have looked a bit like Oxford before the 1880s reconstruction.