The book is a descriptive grammar of Peking Mandarin, the Chinese dialect spoken in the capital of China. It is a reference grammar for learners of Mandarin but is also designed for those who are interested at Peking Mandarin and its special features. It is comprehensive because it will cover all aspects of Peking Mandarin, i.e., its history and evolution, its sound system, word and phrase structures, sentence structures, special sentence patterns and discourse features. It is also selectively in depth because issues not dealt with in most Mandarin grammar books will be given special attention here. The most prominent issues to be discussed are the parallelism between the internal structure of compounds, phrases and sentences; the complex predicates, the relatively free word order and its semantic implications; the complex sentences; the after thought structure; the focus and topic constructions; the prevalence of phonetically null forms and the recovery of their reference or signifié; and the dependency between syntax and semantics, discourse and pragmatics.
The author Dingxu Shi is an associate professor of Chinese linguistics at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He does research on syntax, interface strategy, and language contact and language change.