[Cancellation of the seminar] 白話文的韻味和魅力:談談《金瓶梅》的方言色彩 The Veiled and Alluring Nuance of Dialect in the Language of the Jin Ping Mei

Please note that the below seminar is cancelled.

2019-20 School of Chinese Research Seminar

The Veiled and Alluring Nuance of Dialect in the Language of the Jin Ping Mei

张惠英教授 Professor Huiying ZHANG

時間 Time: November 19, 2019 (Tuesday), 5:00-6:30pm
地點 Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
演講語言 Language: 普通話 Putonghua



Jin Ping Mei, composed in the northern vernacular, is also replete with earthy expressions, double-entendre, and unusual Chinese graphs based on dialect homophony. In this regard it differs strikingly from The Water MarginThe Three Kingdoms, and The Story of the Stone. This situation compels us to explore its linguistic characteristics more deeply and seek out their motivation. We find that the dialect elements reflect the linguistic background of the author. The more obscure and difficult to understand the words are, the more that they reflect the speech of the author’s place of origin. Most readers understand when paishou is written with the graphs for ‘clap’ or the graphs for ‘hands together’. But when obscenities are obscured by their written form, utilizing unfamiliar graphs, they are much harder to figure out. And when an apparently innocuous name conceals an arcane connotation, the reader must utilize phonology and dialect comparison to uncover the interpretation. The language of the Jin Ping Mei, like its title, ‘The Plum in the Golden Vase’, and the appellation of its anonymous author, Xiaoxiaosheng ‘The Merry Fellow’, uses the pretext of playful entertainment, in both delighted laughter and vexed curses, as a means to vent the oppressions weighing on one’s bosom while preserving a cover to protect oneself. The true picture is left to future generations to unwrap.


張惠英, 海南師範大學對外漢語中心教授, 曾任中國社會科學院語言研究所研究員(30年), 也曾多次在海外著名大學為訪問學者(包括在哈佛大學、美國華盛頓大學、荷蘭萊頓大學等), 論著包括《金瓶梅俚俗難詞解》(1993)、《漢語方言代詞研究》(2001)、《語言現象的觀察與思考》(2005)、《崇明方言研究》(2009)、《音韻史話》(2011)、《海南島和周圍語言比較研究》(2017) 等。

Professor Huiying Zhang has held professorial and research positions at Hainan Normal University and the Institute of Linguistics in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; she has also been visiting professor at many universities overseas (including Harvard, the University of Washington, Leiden University, etc.); her many publications include Annotated Glossary of Vulgarities and Difficult Words in Jin Ping Mei (1993), Research on Pronouns in the Chinese Dialects (2001), Thoughts and Observations on Languages Phenomenon (2005), Research on the Chongming Dialect (2009), On the History of Phonology (2011), Comparative Study of the Dialects of Hainan and Neighboring Regions (2017).

All are welcome