Today’s Historical Text comes from the Chinese Students’ Monthly of November 1908. The paragraph, on page 24 of the issue, addresses something that has been a difficulty of Chinese peoples for thousands of years: the diversity of languages among the different regions of China. What many in the US think of as “Chinese” is typically either Mandarin – a northern dialect – or Cantonese – a southern dialect – but in fact there are dozens of other languages within the borders of China. Although these languages all use the same Chinese characters, many are not mutually intelligible when spoken. Much like the solution the current People’s Republic of China has come up with, the CSA suggests using Mandarin as a lingua franca among the students of different dialects.
Tag: Historical Text
Today’s Historical Text is a news item from the English-language news in China. The article is about the graduation exercises at Tsinghua University in June of 1915. A note: about 50 non-associated people from Peking attended this graduation, just because they were interested in Tsinghua as a school . . . something completely unheard of at a modern graduation from a US university!
Today’s Historical Text is from the Chinese Students’ Monthly from 1915 and focuses on the changing role and policies at Tsinghua University. Founded just 4 years earlier with Boxer Indemnity funds, Tsinghua was meant to prepare Chinese students to study in US universities. It later added a university department of its own, and is currently one of the most prestigious universities in China.
I am REALLY EXCITED about this historical text, because it is a new one for me. I just connected with a colleague in China and we have been furiously exchanging information and documents. This is an edition of the “Mei zhou Liu xue Bao gao”, or “Newspaper of American Study Abroad”, which was published by the Chinese Students’ Association of the Western States (mainly California). This publication was meant to be released in 1906 – all the information in it is from 1905 – but it was delayed due to the San Francisco earthquake, so it was published in 1907 instead.
I thought I’d start a new feature in the blog where I reprint some amusing/interesting/historically significant text from some of my primary sources, to give you a better idea of the cultural context of the students I profile. These will be presented with citations, photos, descriptive text, and very little editorializing. Here we go!