Taipei: Academia Sinica, 2008.
Operating mostly on shoestring budgets for two decades, Brewer has collected 1,400 recordings of Southern Min and Hakka interviews; folk narratives supplemented responses to structured questionnaires. For data analysis, only off-the-shelf software and hardware were used.
To begin filling in one of the fundamental lacunæ, Brewer’s monograph purports to be a contribution towards a linguistic atlas of Taiwan. It is a microscopic view of language distribution, in which each lexeme is defined, not only by denotation, but also by (i) an inventory of phonetic variants and (ii) seven informant background factors (age, sex, language use, ethnicity, education, occupation, and residential history). Just three Taiwanese Southern Min words are scrutinized in depth in this study, words for ‘thumb’, ‘goose’, and ‘bat’, illustrated with 90 maps.