Studied at Danyang County higher primary school, high school Changzhou, Jiangsu Province. 1922 admitted to the National Southeast University (Nanjing Higher Normal School, 1928 renamed Central University, in 1949 changed its name to Nanjing University), enrolled in foreign language and literature department, graduating in 1926. After graduation, he taught high school in Danyang, Suzhou High School. 1936 study in the UK, has in the Department of Anthropology, University of Oxford, University of London studying library science. After returning home in 1938 he served as Associate Professor of Literature and History Department of Yunnan University, researcher at the Institute of Chinese Culture West China Union University, a professor and researcher at the Institute of Chinese Culture Department of Chinese Central University of Nanking University, Tsinghua University professor. 1952 Chinese Academy of Sciences researcher language. 1978--1985 text of the China Reform Committee, vice chairman, advisers, "Chinese language" magazine editor. 1980--1985 年 he was appointed president of the Linguistic Society of Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, "China Encyclopedia" editor in chief members of the Commission. 1980 Honorary Member of the American language. 1987 honorary doctorate of literature Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1994 was appointed foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.