Corpus of "Xiao-Er-Jin" Script of Muslim Chinese: Collection and Digitalization
Project Leader: MACHIDA Kazuhiko

"Xiao-er-jin" is a Chinese notation using Arabic letters developed from Hui (Muslim Chinese) religious schooling (Islamic linguistic education under Masjid) in the middle of the 16th century. Using the Arabic alphabet to express Chinese, it was originally used for annotations of Islamic holy scripts. With the development and expansion of Islamic religious schooling, it spread within the educated Hui-people and has been since used in their daily life for means such as recording and communication. Since it reflects verbal speech, it contains dialects from various regions of China. Today, a small population continues to use it in provinces such as Ningxia, Qinghai, Gansu and Koran publishing by the Hui-people still bear "Xiao-Er-Jin" translation along with a Chinese translation. The focus of this project will be on the "Xiao-Er-Jin" script and research will extend into the milieu of Arabic alphabet scripts as well.
The uniqueness of the "Xiao-Er-Jin" script is that it possesses both Arabic and Chinese script culture characteristics. Though its presence and importance in script culture studies has been long pointed out by Chinese scholars, it has not yet been fully studied. Thus this project aims to collect as much "Xiao-Er-Jin" material (manuscripts and published books, images of inscriptions, so forth) as possible, to categorize and put them on a database as well as to digitize and create a "Xiao-Er-Jin" script corpus for future thorough study. Since the "Xiao-Er-Jin" script was originally used for Islamic religious schooling, much of the existing published materials are of Islamic holy scripts. This coincides with the GICAS research plan of "Construction of Corpus of Scriptures and Commentaries". Collecting material for numerous research areas such as Chinese Islamic cultural studies, Chinese linguistic cultural studies, Arabian literary culture studies and presenting them online on the web will be of significant importance. It will also contribute to the promotion of Hui literary culture, the second most minority group in China (population of 9million), and help to clear the digital-divide situation of these people.

Sample of "Xiao-Er-Jin". Upper in Chinese, Middle in Arabic and lower
is in Xiao-Er-Jin. Li-dianjun, Zhong-a Shuangjie Zidiang Shanghai, 1955 partial.

Project Leader: MACHIDA Kazuhiko
Project Members (in alphabetical order): ANDO Jun-ichiro, KUROIWA Takashi, SATO Minoru, SUGAWARA Jun, WANG Jianxin, YOSHIZAWA Sei-ichiro
Results for the FY 2001: Research preparation period
(1) Collecting of related material in Japan: acquiring personally owned duplications of "Xiao-Er-Jin" texts
(2) Categorizing and digitizing collected material: outsourcing the collected material above for digitization (see reference site)
(3) Overseas preparatory fieldwork (Northwest region of China): Two project members sent in March. Fieldwork in collaboration with native source to collect material.
Results for the FY 2002
(1) Categorizing collected material.
(2) Research workshop "Aspects of Arabic Script Cultures in China" held in October.
(3) Overseas research investigation conducted throughout the summer season (Coastal and Northwest region of China)
(4) Publishing of report
Aspects of Arabic Script Cultures in China, Machida, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa.
Research predestination for the FY 2003
(1) Categorization, digitization and online presentation of collected material
(2) Study groups on collected material to be held
(3) Research workshop "The Milieu of Arabian Literary Culture (temp. title)" to be held.
(4) Publishing of research report Asian Script Mantras- in the Arabic alphabet (temp. title).
(5) Overseas investigation (China, Central Asia, Europe)
-Project Web Page (in Japanese)
-Xiao-Er-Jin book collection catalogue (in Japanese)
-Research workshop "Aspects of Arabic Script Cultures in China"( in Japanese )-comming soon
-Field Report(1)--KUROIWA Takashi, ANDO Junichiro (in Japanese)
-Field Report(2)--WANG Jianxin( in Japanese )
-Field Report(3)--KUROIWA Takashi( in Japanese )-comming soon
Last updated: Apr. 10, 2003