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An Investigation on the Expression “ Lairi (来日)” from the Aspects of the Histories of Chinese Language and Literature

Zhu Qingzhi Department of Chinese Language Studies , Hong Kong Institute of Education , Tai Po Hong Kong Department of Chinese Language and Literature , Peking University , Beijing China 100871  
" Lairi (来日)" is a temporal expression used very frequently in ancient Chinese litera- ture.From the mid-20th century linguists have come to claim that the word " lairi " has two opposite meanings expressing both past time and time to come.This view has also been accepted by scholars of ancient Chinese literature and compiled into dictionaries.Based on exhausted investigation of the elec- tronic corpora of ancient Chinese literature and documents , this paper argues that this subsequent ex- planation of " lairi " is not correct.The word " lairi " stands actually for two different expressions : one is a word expressing upcoming time and the other a phrase referring to the day of coming here.The confusion of these two forms in the literature leads to the misinterpretation of " lairi " .
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