Professor Zhongwei Shen retired from his position as Professor of Chinese here at UMass Amherst at the conclusion of the fall, 2022 semester.

Professor Zhongwei Shen received his BA from Fudan University, Shanghai, China and MA and PhD from University of California at Berkeley. He joined the faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1995. Currently he is a Full Professor of Chinese Linguistics in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Chinese Linguistics, and Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics.

In recent works, he studied the early history of Mandarin by using the materials written in the Khitan script, the Jurchen script, and the hP’ags-pa script used by the Altaic speakers. He is also interested in various aspects of Chinese dialectology, including the historical formation of the Chinese dialects, the geographical distribution and classification of modern dialects.

Prof. Shen has practiced Chinese calligraphy and seal carving since a young age. His calligraphy works appeared in the Chinese national calligraphy exhibition and collected by universities in China, Japan and the U.S.

Research Areas

  • Chinese historical phonology
  • Chinese dialectology
  • Mechanism of sound change


2020    A Phonological History of Chinese, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY.

2015    Menggu Ziyun Jijiao《〈蒙古字韵〉集校》, Beijing: Commercial Press.

2011b  Special Issue: Synchronic Studies of the Wu Dialect, Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics, Vol. 5.2. (ed.)

2011a  Special Issue: Diachronic Studies of the Wu Dialect, Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics, Vol. 5.1. (ed.)

2008    Studies on the Menggu ZiyunLanguage and Linguistics Monograph Series No. A-16, Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica.

1997    Exploring the Dynamic Aspect of Sound Change, JCL Monograph Series No. 11.

Courses Previously Taught

  • Chinese 140: Chinese Script
  • Chinese 150: Peoples and Languages of China
  • Chinese 375: Introduction to Chinese Linguistics
  • Chinese 576: History of Chinese, Phonology
  • Chinese 577: Chinese Dialectology
  • Chinese 691A: Graduate Seminar