Zhang Binglin

Inventor

1868 – 1936

52

Who was Zhang Binglin?

Zhang Binglin was a Chinese philologist, textual critic, philosopher, and a revolutionary.

His philological works include Wen Shi, the first systematic work of Chinese etymology. He also made contributions to historical Chinese phonology, proposing that "the niang and ri initials [in Middle Chinese] come from the ni initial [in Old Chinese]". He developed a system of shorthands based on the seal script, called jiyin zimu, later adopted as the basis of zhuyin. Though innovative in many ways, he was skeptical of new archaeological findings, regarding the oracle bones as forgery.

An activist as well as a scholar, he produced many political works. Because of his outspoken character, he was jailed for three years by the Qing Empire and put under house arrest for another three by Yuan Shikai.

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Born
Dec 25, 1868
Yuhang District
Spouses
Lived in
  • Zhejiang
Died
Jun 14, 1936
Suzhou

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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