New Chinese grammar wiki

John Pasden of Sinosplice has a Shanghai-based company called AllSet Learning that focuses on helping foreigners learn Chinese.  He discovered that since people have different learning needs, especially when it comes to learning grammar, it would be a good idea to have an overall framework available to learners.  Since the only things that presently exist like this are textbooks, and there is nothing really like this on the web, he decided to make an online source.

And since the best kinds of online sources are those that keep up to date and can be corrected, he made it a wiki.

And since he’s an open-source kind of guy, interested in making things that are beneficial to all, he put it under a Creative Commons license.  Check it out here.Obviously it’s a project that has been in development for some time, as it already has more than 500 articles.  It would be impossible for me in this short amount of time to read all 500+ articles, so I’ll just make a few general statements of my impressions so far.

First of all, having a resource like this is absolutely wonderful, and having it as a wiki is doubly so.  It must be noted at the outset that making a comprehensive grammar of any language is a huge undertaking, and it will be some time before this wiki approaches that level of comprehensiveness.  The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, which is the most comprehensive grammar of English to date, is more than 1800 pages and took a team of linguists from around the world more than a decade to put together, and they were building on previously published comprehensive grammars that had been published periodically over the preceding hundred years.  Chinese has nothing even close available anywhere, and Chinese has a much longer linguistic history than English does, making for a potentially richer grammar.

The articles that I have looked at so far in the wiki are good, and explain things well, although there is certainly room for expansion.  It gives me a good feeling to know that it will only get more and more developed and refined, just like Wikipedia has since it started, and to know that if I see something that is a little inaccurate, I can even personally apply to be an editor and fix it myself.  (Actually, I’ll be doing just that, momentarily — grammar is one of my biggest areas of interest.)

Kudos to John for coming up with this great idea.  Let’s all get in there, make use of it, and develop it to its potential.

2 responses to “New Chinese grammar wiki”

  1. Hugh Grigg says:

    I think it’s already fantastic, but yeah, it’s still got a long way to go. But it’s only going to get better! Quite a responsibility on John’s part, as the wiki is pretty likely to become a bit of an authority on Chinese grammar. I imagine Google will take a liking to it pretty quickly, and then it’ll just hoover up all Chinese grammar traffic.

  2. John Pasden says:

    Thanks, Randy! I agree that it has a long way to go. I’m just really happy that it’s now in the stage where it “needs expanding” rather than just “needs gaping holes filled,” which was its state for quite a while.

    And I’ll be happy to set you up with an editor’s account.

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