|Conteúdo||Traditional approaches to Old Chinese phonology, historical syntax and sociolinguistics are typically characterized by a fairly monolithic view of pre-imperial Chinese. There is a widespread tacit assumption of linguistic uniformity, attributed to the early emergence of a normative “refined speech” (yǎyán 雅言) of nobility intercommunication during the Zhōu period. On the one hand, this is due to the nature of the sources at our disposal to reconstruct ancient social backgrounds, pragmatic settings, registers, and contact scenarios. More often than not, however, this view seems also influenced by subliminal political narratives of unification, centralization and “purity” which continue to creep into the linguistic descriptions and interpretations of data.|
Such narratives almost inevitably lead to the postulation of neat trees of dialect divergence out of the homogenous standard of an assumed prestige koiné, and to widespread neglect of colloquial, technical, or ritual speech, of loanwords, alloglottographies and similar phenomena.