Unlike Kerim, I am just begining the study of Chinese. This is my first semester of Mandarin and let me tell you something, if you think publishing, teaching, and doing committee work is hard, you should try publishing, teaching, doing committee work, and learning a language that involves memorizing tens of thousands of distinct characters. Actually I don’t think the language itself is that difficulty (yet) — it’s really the writing system that is kicking my ass. But then again we’ve mostly been doing the sounds of the language and noun phrases and have yet to hit such sophisticated linguistic concept as, you know, transitive verbs.
Anyhoo, like many neophyte Chinese speakers I recently came across David Moser’s essay “Why Chinese Is So Damn Hard”:http://www.pinyin.info/readings/texts/moser.html. No surprises if you’ve learned a lot of other languages. But what was a surprise — and delight — was that Moser’s essay and the “entire festschrift that it’s from”:http://www.pinyin.info/readings/Schriftfestschrift.html are available online. It just so happens that a good number of the other monographs in the series are also available. They are all part of Victor Mair’s “Sinoplatonic Papers”:http://www.sino-platonic.org/index.html series which is making the transition to open access online publication. They all look wonderful and are a perfect example of the sort of playful occasional papers that perfect for open access: a labor of love that bursts with scholarly energy. Or so I imagine — I haven’t had a chance to read all 172!