Edith Aldridge’s Publications.

I can’t improve on Matt Treyvaud’s No-sword post, so I’ll just quote it:

Your East Asian (and Austronesian!) treasure trove of the day: Dr Edith Aldridge’s “Publications” page. Her two papers on Chinese historical syntax are a great 80-page overview of the topic and a fine complement to Pulleyblank’s invaluable but more lexeme-centric Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar. Her papers on word order in hentai kanbun also make worthwhile reading if you care about that topic (and I do!). And she’s put it all online for free, because she’s on the side of good.

Three cheers for Edith Aldridge and all others who put their work online for free, because they’re on the side of good!

As lagniappe, speaking of free online resources: the complete contents of the 12-volume Jewish Encyclopedia, originally published between 1901-1906. (Thanks, Paul!)


  1. David Eddyshaw says:

    The papers on Hentai Kanbun are indeed interesting. I’d always thought of Hentai Kanbun as essentially just a sort of failed attempt to write proper Classical Chinese a la Japonaise; the explanation that it’s a perfectly systematic transformation of the Japanese but not a fullscale running-in-reverse of the reading-Chinese-as-Japanese Kanbun is fascinating. Like some of the ideas in the other papers, it seems obvious, but only once it’s been pointed out …

  2. What grabbed me was the analysis of Modern Standard Mandarin 被 bei-passives in the paper on Middle Chinese syntax. Traditionally, the assumption has been that a sentence like 那个孩子被老师批评了 Nà ge háizi bèi lǎoshī pīpíng le, literally ‘That (classifier) child bei teacher criticize (perfective)’ is syntactically analogous to the English passive sentence That child was criticized by the teacher, with the agent ‘that child’ demoted to the object of a preposition. But when the agent is omitted in Chinese, the bei remains anyway (unlike English *That child was criticized by, and it’s not possible to front the bei along with its apparent object, though normal Chinese prepositional phrases can be fronted without problem.

    So what’s going on here? The key is the fact that bei-passives are semantically restricted to bad things happening. You can’t say (except in translationese) ‘That child was praised by the teacher’ using a bei-passive. So the alternative analysis is that bei is actually the main verb of the sentence, meaning ‘suffer, endure’ (which is in fact the meaning of the Latin verb patior, of which passivus is the perfect participle), and the sentence should be glossed ‘That child endures [that] the teacher criticizes [him/her]’. By extension, the subject of bei can also be inanimate, as in 我的车被小偷偷走了 Wǒ de chē bèi xiǎotōu tōu zǒu le ‘My car bei a thief was stealing’, though obviously it’s the owner, not the car, who truly suffers or endures the theft.

  3. David Marjanović says:


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