Katia Chirkova. In Search of Time in Peking Mandarin. Leiden: CNWS Publications, 2003. ISBN: 978-9057890895.

This monograph focuses on Beijing Mandarin, the dialect of Beijing, which was formerly known as Peking Mandarin or Pekinese for short. Despite its official status as the spoken foundation of the national language of China, Beijing Mandarin remains largely unexplored to date.

Based on a large collection of spoken data from native speakers of Beijing Mandarin, this study comments on the ways Beijing natives use to refer to time, focusing mainly on phenomena which are underrepresented in the linguistic literature. The description concentrates on aspectual particles. Usages that are newly attested in the data are compared to existing accounts of Mandarin, raising issues of polysemy and homonymy for each of these particles. Both synchronic and diachronic aspects are examined. The book demonstrates that some forms that have been considered extinct in Mandarin are still very much alive in the language of Beijing.

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In Search of Time in Peking Mandarin is a delightful surprise — at once scholarly, current, and very readable.

The book is now out of print, and in all likelihood the book will not be reprinted. The good news is that you can download a pdf copy here, free of charge, courtesy of the author. I would love to hear from you if the book proved useful to you.