Abstract

Research methods employing large-scale databases of digital texts and digital lexica can assist in the detection of the ways phonetic patterns worked in concert with semantic and syntactic structures in premodern Chinese narrative texts. When applied to the speeches by eminent ministers preserved in the Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals and the Discourses of the States, close examinations of the tripartite framework of sound, meaning, and structure allow a deeper understanding of the phonorhetorical techniques employed by their composers (and/or transmitters), emphasizing key terms and imparting subtle feelings of grandeur and harmony. In comparative context, analyses of stylistic elements at scale provide insights into the rhetorical choices made by different authors in formative periods of Chinese literature, choices that informed and influenced future writers and scholars for millennia thereafter.

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