Research on Qiang

Fieldwork on Qiang and initial analyses were first carried out by Wen Yu in the late 1930's (Wen 1940, 1941, 1943a, 1943b, 1943c, 1945). Wen also did some initial comparisons and historical work on the language (1943b, 1947), and published two vocabularies of Qiang (1950, 1951).  Chang Kun (1967) used Wen's data for a comparative study of the southern Qiang dialects, and attempted to reconstruct the proto-language.  In the late 1950's the Academia Sinica (now the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) organized teams of linguists to go to the different areas where ethnic minority peoples lived and carry out fieldwork (see Liu 1998:1-3 for details).  

Fieldwork was carried out in 32 different Qiang-speaking sites, with varying amounts of data being collected in different sites.  Two members of the team that worked on Qiang were Liu Guangkun and Sun Hongkai (now retired).   An early report drafted by them was published with 'Institute of Nationalities, Academia Sinica' as the author in the journal Zhongguo Yuwen in 1962, but work on the data was disrupted because of the Cultural Revolution.   Since the late 1970's Liu and Sun have tried to work up and publish more of the data collected in the 1950's (Sun 1981a, 1981b, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1988; Liu 1981, 1984, 1987, 1997, 1998a, 1998b, 1999).

Huang Bufan, another member of the original team (now retired from the Central University of Nationalities), also published important articles on Qiang (Huang 1987, 1991, 1994; Huang, Yu & Huang 1992).  Of the works published by Sun, Liu, and Huang, two are brief descriptions of Qiang dialects (Sun 1981a on the Taoping variety of Southern Qiang and Liu 1998 on the Mawo variety of Northern Qiang), and one (Huang Bufan 1991) is an overview of all of the Qiangic languages -- the branch of Tibeto-Burman that Qiang belongs to, which includes Pumi (Prinmi), rGyalrong, Muya, Ergong, Shixing, Namuzi (see Sun 1982, 1983, 1985)).   The others mainly deal with specific grammatical features, such as the verbal orientation prefixes (Sun 1981b; Huang Bufan 1994), the case forms of the personal pronouns (Liu 1987), and the person marking (Liu 1999).   

Randy J. LaPolla and Dory Poa began doing fieldwork on the Northern Qiang dialects of Ronghong and Qugu in 1994, and LaPolla (with Huang Chenglong) has completed one full reference grammar of the Ronghong dialect with annotated texts and glossary (LaPolla & Huang, 2003).  This is the most complete description of a Qiang dialect written so far.  A summary description of that dialect is to appear as LaPolla, in press, a.  A volume of annotated texts in the Qugu dialect collected and analyzed by LaPolla & Poa was also published in 2003. 

The project team also includes Huang Chenglong, a native Qiang linguist (originally trained by Sun Hongkai, Liu Guangkun, and Huang Bufan, now a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) who has published a number of articles on his native dialect, the Ronghong dialect (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000), including an overview of the language for the Phonetic Files series published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.  He has also done fieldwork on other Tibeto-Burman languages (see for example Sun & Huang 1998). His publications can be found here.

Jonathan Evans, who is an adviser to the project, did his dissertation on Qiang (Evans 2001), having done fieldwork on Southern Qiang dialects, and has published on several aspects of the language (Evans in press, a; in press, b).  Aside from this, Gong Hwang-cheng of the Insititue of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, carried out fieldwork on several Southern Qiang dialects, but has not yet published his data.  Studies on the culture and history of the Qiang people include Yan 1951; Graham 1958; Ran, Li & Zhou 1984; Zhou & Liu 1993; Xu 1993; Li, Lin & Wang 1994; and Meng, Gui & Lin 1994.