Abstract

Linguistic modernity is constitutive of our historical experience of the actuality and materiality of modernity as a whole. This essay delineates the discursive continuity between the May Fourth language reform movement in China in the early twentieth century and the universal language movement in early modern Europe. By showing the trans-historical and trans-national circulation of the idea of a perfect language, whether universal or national, the essay urges for a recognition of the need to consider the achievements of the Chinese language reform movement in close relation to modern Western linguistic thought and practice and thereby offers an example of global modernity and the pattern of its movement.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 325-339
Launched on MUSE
2010-07-23
Open Access
No
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