Journal of Chinese Linguistics Vol.49 – 2021

Volume 49, No 1

Message from the Editors 编辑寄语

Welcome to the first issue of Journal of Chinese Linguistics (JCL) in 2021. This year marks a milestone in the development of the journal with some important announcements. First, we are pleased to announce the formation of a new editorial board, with 12 new members joining us and 9 existing members continuing to serve JCL. The new members are as follows:


Bo Hong (洪波)

          Capital Normal University, Beijing

Guillaume Jacques (向柏霖)

          CNRS (CRLAO)-INALCO-EHESS, Paris 

Bit-Chee Kwok (郭必之)

          The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Yen-Hui Audrey Li (李艳惠)

          University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Yafei Li (李亚非)

          University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison

Barbara Meisterernst (梅思德)

          National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu

Xiangdong Shi (施向东)

          Nankai University, Tianjin

Wei-Tien Dylan Tsai (蔡维天)

          National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu

Fuxiang Wu (吴福祥)

          Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing

Charles Yang (杨鹏)

          University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Boping Yuan (袁博平)

          University of Cambridge, Cambridge

Qingzhi Zhu (朱庆之)

          The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


It is our pleasure to welcome these internationally recognized scholars to join the editorial board. With their influential scholarship and world leading stature in their respective areas of expertise, they bring further prestige and renown to JCL.


We also take the opportunity to thank the existing long-serving distinguished members of the editorial board who have rendered steadfast support to JCL through the years and have kindly agreed to remain on the editorial board:


Hilary M. Chappell (曹茜蕾)

          EHESS-CRLAO, Paris

Chin-Chuan Cheng (郑锦全)

          University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Chu-Ren Huang (黄居仁)

          The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Jingxia Lin (林静夏)

          Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Tsu-Lin Mei (梅祖麟)

          Cornell University, Ithaca

Alain Peyraube (贝罗贝)

          CRLAO, Paris

Jiaxuan Shen (沈家煊)

          Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing

Ovid J. L. Tzeng (曾志朗)

          Academia Sinica, Taipei

Feng Wang (汪锋)

          Peking University, Beijing


We pay a special tribute to the senior members who have served on the editorial board during the period when Prof. William S-Y Wang served as Editor from 1973-2018. We look forward to working with all the editorial board members to make JCL a vibrant and stimulating international platform for dissemination of new findings. With a stellar cast and an expanded editorial board encompassing a much broader range of expertise and diversity of theoretical approaches, we hope to gather momentum, create greater impact and raise the visibility of JCL.


On another note, we are glad to inform you that JCL has adopted the ScholarOne Manuscripts system for online submission and peer review as of January 1, 2021. This is a timely move that will greatly facilitate the submission and review process. From now on, please submit to JCL via the following link: We highly value your contributions to the journal and wish to provide you with the highest possible level of service. Please also visit JCL’s new official website at We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions.


We’d like to welcome a new member, Yujiao Han (韩宇娇) to the editorial team. Yujiao is our new Managing Editor based at the Beijing office of JCL at the Beijing Language and Culture University. We are happy to have Yujiao’s support in managing the JCL’s editorial office in Beijing which complements the one in Hong Kong.


Last but not least, we would like to thank each and every colleague who reviewed one or more papers for Journal of Chinese Linguistics during the period from January 2019 to November 2020. Their names are listed on the next page. We thank all the reviewers for their support.



Shengli and Virginia

December 2020

Article 文章

Abstract 摘要

This study investigates the syntactic behavior of disyllabic localizers in Modern Chinese. Recent studies (Huang et al. 2009; Djamouri et al. 2013; Liu and Oakden 2014) point out the boundness nature of disyllabic localizers, but to date there has been no consensus on what syntactic status they have. We examine a wide range of disyllabic localizers and find that disyllabic localizers do not all behave the same. While some can be used both as independent words and as phrasal bound forms, others are always bound at the phrasal level. Nonetheless, there are two characteristics that are shared by all disyllabic localizers: they are all nominal, and they are all bound when occurring at the end of a phrase. The best way to characterize the entire class of disyllabic localizers is that they are nominal phrasal bound forms with some of them also functioning as nouns in certain environments.

本文探讨现代汉语中双音节方位词的语法表现。近年研究 (Huang et al. 2009; Djamouri et al. 2013; Liu and Oakden 2014) 指出双音节方位词具有黏着性的特点,但未对其词性达成共识。通过观察和测试多种双音节方位词,本文发现其语法表现并不相同。其中一部分方位词既可独立使用,又可出现在词组尾端有黏着性,而其他方位词只能用作黏着形式。但所有双音节方位词都具备以下两个特点:具有名词性;出现于词组尾端时,都为黏着形式。因此,双音节方位词整体应定性为名词性的词组尾端黏着形式,而其中一些在特定环境中可作名词用。


Keywords 关键词

Disyllabic localizer Bound vs. free Phrasal bound form Locative

现代汉语 双音节方位词 黏着vs. 自由 词组尾端黏着形式

Abstract 摘要

The word de 得is generally used to express capability in the affirmative forms of Chinese potential structure. But the negative potential structure V-bu 不-C without de can also express the meaning of capability. What the origin of potential interpretation in V-bu-C is remains to be a mystery in the research of Chinese syntax. This paper proposes that there is a syntactic position in V-bu-C expressing the potential meaning. However, the reason de does not appear in the phonological form depends on prosody. Specifically, de cannot appear in the syntactic environment with both object and complement. This can be attributed to the mechanism of the nuclear stress assignment in Mandarin. Being the nuclear stress assigner, V-bu-C must be in conformity with the minimal word condition (not greater than or equal to three syllables), as a result of which de cannot show up in the phonological form. Such an analysis not only answers the question of what the source of the potential interpretation of V-bu-C is from the view of syntax, but also deduces and interprets various forms of potential structures.



Keywords 关键词

Potential Structure  De  Negative Forms  Nuclear Stress  Minimal Word

能性结构 得 否定形式 核心重音 最小词

Abstract 摘要

The formal structure of the construction formed by a numeral (Num), a sortal classifier (C) or mensural classifier (M), and a noun (N), is controversial, as both left-branching [[Num C/M] N] and right-branching [Num [C/M N]] structures have been argued for in the literature. In this paper we report two psycholinguistic experiments on speech production and perception in Mandarin to investigate this branching issue. First, we applied the syntax-phonology interface of tone 3 (T3) sandhi and performed a phonological analysis of native speakers’ tone sandhi patterns of [Num C/M N] phrases composed of T3 monosyllabic words. Second, we conducted a click-detection experiment to see how native speakers would perceive a click inserted in a C/M phrase composed of monosyllabic words, as compared to when it is inserted in other syntactic structures with attested left or right-branching. Results from both experiments supported the left-branching structure of classifier phrases.



Keywords 关键词

Classifier phrase Left-branching Right-branching Speech production Speech perception

量词词组 左分支 右分支 语言产生 语言感知

Abstract 摘要

This study examines the application of two Mandarin tone sandhi rules on real and wug words varying in degrees of phonological and semantic dependency. Using two statistical methods, we examined the surface f0 contours and underlying pitch targets. For the third tone sandhi, a lexical effect was discovered on the relationship between “word-likeness” of stimuli and completeness of rule application. The degree of application for the half-third sandhi tone, however, was less consistent. This study offers new insights in the debate between categorical and gradient views of sandhi rules. We propose three hypothesized situations and argue that the Mandarin tone sandhi rule application involves computation of sandhi forms, though it becomes more incomplete on wug words containing more illegitimate morphemes. Finally, between the two rules, the application of the third tone sandhi rule is less phonetically motivated and more biased in wug words, exhibiting differences between real words and wug words.



Keywords 关键词

Mandarin tone sandhi Growth curve analysis Underlying pitch target Computation mechanism Wug test

普通话三声变调 增长曲线分析 底层音调目标 计算机制 假词测试

Abstract 摘要

This article presents an alternative argument that Mandarin distributor GE (GEDIS) is a pro-form to be merged as an appositive to a plural nominal, verb or adverbial. GEDIS performs a distributive function of matching a set of individuals to a set of predications, thus requiring the obligatory co-occurrence of a distributive host, i.e., an antecedent plural nominal, verbal or adverbial phrase, and a distributive target, i.e., a following syntactic constituent that helps to separate the predication. The canonical syntactic position of GEDIS is immediately to the right of the distributive host. An appositive analysis of GEDIS is proposed to the effect that GEDIS is merged as an appositive to the distributive host. This new analysis improves upon the existing adjunct analysis, which takes GEDIS as a quantificational adverb that adjoins to VP or vP. The appositive analysis is further supported by the convincing view that GEDIS is a pronoun rather than an adverb and can be extended to cover two new facts about GEDIS, where the distributive host is a plural verb phrase or a plural adverbial phrase. The conclusion reached is that GEDIS is a pro-form that is semantically associated with and syntactically apposed to a plural antecedent in the capacity of a nominal, a verb or an adverbial.



Keywords 关键词

GE Distributor Mandarin Appositive Syntax

各 分配词 普通话 同位语 句法

Abstract 摘要

This paper examines a special locative phrase formed by reduplication in Lianjiang Yue dialect. The locative phrase is composed of reduplicated location nominals and locative pro-forms, with the locative pro-form occurring obligatorily. It is observed that (i) the reduplicated location nominal must be definite and can be easily identifiable in the context; (ii) the grammatical meaning of the location nominal changes from “location” to “next to/near” after reduplication; (iii) locative pro-forms occurring in the reduplicated locative phrase are restricted to those similar to here and there in English. It is argued that there is a functional category NEAR in the reduplicated locative phrase. Location nominals, being the reference point of “near”, must be clearly specified, which results in the definiteness requirement imposed on them. The paper assumes that the locative pro-form is the head of the whole phrase, with the reduplicated location nominal as its modifier, which accounts for why the locative pro-form occurs obligatorily. The reduplicated locative phrase provides us with an opportunity to explore the internal structure of the locative phrase in Chinese and to learn the grammatical function of reduplication and the syntactic structure of reduplicative phrases.

本文研究的是廉江粤语中由重叠形式构成的一种特殊方位短语,这种方位短语由重叠的处所名词短语与方位指示语组成,并且处所名词短语之后的方位指示语必须强制性出现。调查发现重叠部分必须是有定的、易于被说话人指认的处所名词短语,重叠之后表达“靠近/在…附近”的语法意义,而方位指示语仅限于类似英语here, there的非常有限的几个方位指示语。分析认为,重叠处所名词短语中包含一个功能性成分“附近”,而处所名词由于是“附近”的参照点,必须所指明确,导致了处所名词的有定性语义要求。本文同时认为,重叠处所名词是整个方位短语的修饰语,方位指示语才是整个方位短语的中心语,由此解释了方位指示语为何必须强制性出现的问题。这种特殊的重叠方位短语作为一个绝佳的观察窗口,使我们一方面得以窥探汉语方位短语的内部句法结构,另一方面可以了解重叠的语法功能与重叠短语的句法结构。


Keywords 关键词

Lianjiang Yue dialect Locative phrase Reduplication Syntactic structure Spatial Syntax

廉江粤语 方位短语 重叠 句法结构 空间句法

Abstract 摘要

It is observed that the morpheme TAU 到 in Xiaolongmen, a Xiang dialect, appears in two distinctive positions to give sentences a past tense interpretation. The preverbal TAU (tau1213) indicates that the subject went/came to a location to participate in an event, and the subject has already left the location and the actions/events have been terminated by the speaking moment; the clause-final TAU (tau2213) indicates actions or states happened at least once in the past and they have stopped at the speaking time; it also implies that that is the reason for the current situation. We argue that tau1213 is a perfective aspect marker which assigns a past tense interpretation by using the non-coincidence relationship between the event location and the location of the event initiator. As for tau2213, it is argued to be a resultative perfect aspect marker indicating an action/state happened at least once at some time in the past and it has resulted in the current situation.



Keywords 关键词

TAU到 +VP Clause-final TAU到 Tense Aspect Xiang

动词前“到” 子句尾“到” 时 体 湘语

Abstract 摘要

Chinese scholars 莎彝尊 (Sau Yi Tsun) and 莎梦岩 (Sau Mang Yian) published an English-Chinese bilingual textbook Yingyu guanhua hejiang《英语官话合讲》 (Tones of the Mandarin dialect are given in English and Chinese) in 1865. The phonetic scheme used in this book was designed by earlier Chinese scholars. The spelling scheme is a Latin phonetic scheme used to spell the Beijing dialect at that time. This phonetic alphabet scheme has a unique value for us to understand the appearance of the Beijing dialect and the formation history of Chinese phonetic alphabet. From the perspective of phonetic characteristics, the scheme is conservative to a certain extent and reflects the literary reading system of Mandarin. At the same time, influenced by the environment of the author himself, this scheme also reflects characteristics of Cantonese. This scheme was influenced by the modern Protestant Missionary Morrison’s phonetic scheme and absorbed the achievements of traditional Chinese phonology.



Keywords 关键词

Beijing dialect Chinese traditional phonology Pinyin Missionary

北京话 音韵 拼音 传教士

Volume 49, No 2

Announcement 启事

We are happy to announce that the Journal of Chinese Linguistics (JCL) will add a new “squib” section called Insight starting from the first issue of 2022. Prof. Yafei Li, a member of the editorial board has accepted our invitation to serve as the Editor of Insight. We are grateful to have Prof. Li take up this new task.

Shengli Feng and Virginia Yip

Editors, JCL

Section Editor’s Words

An Insight article presents a logically or empirically driven hypothesis, a theoretical idea, a remark on a published work, a yet-undocumented fact or the result of an experiment. Page-limitations aside, such an article differs from full-sized papers primarily in that it does not have to present a fully spelled-out and substantiated analysis provided that the central theme is coherent, innovative, insightful, inspiring and original.

In a field like linguistics which is highly dynamic due to the complexity of the subject matter, i.e., natural language, a researcher is constantly confronted by the awareness that there is so much data to synthesize, so many possible factors interacting in yet unclear ways and who knows how many unknown facts are out there. It is quite common that a researcher hits on a novel idea but finds it difficult to elaborate on for various limitations at the moment, notices a flaw in a published work which is nonetheless too “localized” to warrant a substantial solution, or discovers a new data pattern that resists any obvious theoretical characterization. In a word, one may have a linguistic insight to report but a piece of writing on it would be judged unfinished, incomplete or simply not substantial enough by the standards of a full paper. JCL sees great potential value in this kind of intellectual products and has set up the Insight section dedicated to them.

The articles will be published in English so as to maximally reach interested readers worldwide. A submitted manuscript should have no more than 10 pages of double-spaced text and footnotes plus no more than one page of references, all in the 12 point Times New Roman font with the default page margins of Microsoft Word. No changes to these default settings will be accepted.

Let us give our field a chance to follow your inspirational lead in a joint effort to reach a deeper and broader understanding of the amazing phenomenon which we call language.

JCL Editorial Offices

Article 文章

Abstract 摘要

The claim that Mandarin is a topic-prominent language has been widely accepted and frequently cited in studies of Mandarin Chinese since its proposal in the 1980s. The validity of this claim, however, was questioned as early as 1984. To date, little progress has been made to resolve this question. This study aimed to revisit this long-standing debate by reviewing the formation of the typological view of Mandarin proposed by Li and Thompson. In addition, this study reviewed closely related studies to highlight a distinctive path for reassessing the validity of this influential view of Mandarin. This study aimed to contribute to future studies related to Mandarin.



Keywords 关键词

Typological view    Topic-prominent language    Mandarin   Topic-comment sentences 

型学观点 题突出的语言 语 题句

Abstract 摘要

This paper addresses the controversy as to whether different types of resultatives can be subsumed under a unified analysis, drawing on new data from the Shaoxing Wu dialect (a Northern Wu dialect spoken in the prefecture-level city of Shaoxing in Zhejiang province), whose most productive form of resultatives is split resultatives, in the form of V(erb)-O(bject)-R(esult). This word order is generally assumed to be the underlying form of Mandarin resultative verb compounds in the order of V-R-O. On the grounds that the object of the resultative construction must be shared by the cause-denoting verb and the result predicate, and that the cause event and the result event form a single event, we argue that Shaoxing resultatives are a type of resultative serial verb construction and can be assigned a VP-shell structure à la Larson (1991). On the theoretical side, based on the observation that resultatives in Shaoxing Wu and Mandarin Chinese differ extensively with respect to the thematic restrictions on the subject, possible combinations of V1 and R, and the ‘tightness’ of the relation between the causing and caused events, which are unexpected due to their parallelism outside the domain of resultative formation, we argue against the uniform analyses that assign the same underlying structure to the two types of resultatives or derive them in the same way, and adopt a modular view on the formation of resultative complex predicates, which is parameterized in the way that while resultatives in the form of serial verb construction in Shaoxing Wu are derived in the syntax, resultative compounds in Mandarin Chinese are better analyzed as lexically formed causative verbs.


本文根据吴语绍兴方言(在浙江省绍兴市使用的一种北部吴语),试图解决不同类型的动补结构是否能够统一分析的争议。绍兴方言能产性最高的动补结构是隔开式动补结构“动词+宾语+补语”(V-O-R),而汉语普通话动补结构的基本语序是V-R-O语序。动补结构中的宾语被致使动词和结果补语共享,致使事件和结果事件一起组成单一事件。文章认为绍兴方言的动补结构是连动结构,适用Larson (1991)的VP-壳理论。从理论上说,绍兴方言和汉语普通话的动补结构在主语的题元限制、致使动词和结果补语的组合可能性、致使事件和结果事件关系的紧密度等方面都大有不同,因此文章反对统一分析,反对赋予两种类型的动补结构相同的底层结构或是认为它们来源相同。文章认为应该采用模组的观点,即参数化的分析方法处理不同类型的动补结构:吴语绍兴方言的动补连动结构从句法中派生,而普通话的动补结构则是词汇形式的致使动词。


Keywords 关键词

Resultative construction  Resultative serial verb construction  VP-shell structure  Argument structure  Comparative study

果结构  果连动结构  VP-壳结构  元结构  比研究

Abstract 摘要

This study investigates the acquisition of the third person pronoun keoi5 佢 with inanimate referents in post-verbal position (henceforth, keoi) in Hong Kong Cantonese. Following a linguistic analysis of keoi vis-à-vis its equivalents it in English and 它in Mandarin Chinese, we conducted a corpus-based study on the use of keoi in 9 Cantonese-English bilingual children (1;03–4;06) and 3 Cantonese monolingual children (1;10–2;09) in naturalistic settings. Results show that Cantonese-speaking children mainly used keoi as a canonical object of verbal predicates expressing irrealis bounded disposal events, indicating their early sensitivity to the aspectual properties of keoi-clauses. While monolingual children were consistently adult-like in using keoi, bilingual children produced unbounded keoi-clauses unattested in their monolingual peers and the adults. They also used higher rates of realis keoi-clauses and demonstrated interchangeable use between keoi and it in code-mixed utterances. Our findings lend support to the proposal that keoi marks bounded disposals with irrealis results or states. Input and language experience are shown to influence the acquisition of keoi-clauses, with cross-linguistic influence of English likely induced by the interplay among ambiguity of input in Cantonese, extensive exposure to English and regular processing of the English pronouns.


本文研究儿童对香港粤语里位于动词后方、指代无生命事物的人称代词“佢”的习得。我们分析了粤语代词“佢”的句法分布及“佢”字句的体貌特点,将“佢”与英语代词“it”和普通话代词“它”进行对比,并通过儿童语料库观察9名粤-英双语儿童(1;03至4;06岁)及3名粤语单语儿童(1;10至2;09岁)在自然语言环境中对“佢”的使用情况。研究发现粤语儿童在习得初期对“佢”字句的体貌特点敏感,代词“佢”主要用作动词谓语句的常规宾语,这些句子通常表达“有界(bounded)”“未然(irrealis)”的处置事件(disposal events)。粤语单语儿童对“佢”字句的使用与成人语法一致,粤-英双语儿童则产出单语儿童和成人都不使用的“佢”字句,他们使用“佢”字句表达“已然(realis)”事件的频率更高,且出现“佢”和英语代词“it”互用的语码混杂现象。我们的研究结果支持把粤语“佢”字句分析为表达“有界”“未然”事件的处置结构,并显示输入和语言经验会影响“佢”字句的习得。英语对粤-英双语儿童“佢”字句的习得产生了跨语言影响,可能是粤语“佢”字句存在输入歧义以及双语儿童广泛接触英语和频繁加工英语代词等因素相互作用的结果。


Keywords 关键词

Cantonese pronoun keoi5  First language acquisition  Cross-linguistic influence   Boundedness   Irrealis

语代词“佢”    语习得    语言影响    界性    

Abstract 摘要

This paper investigates the diachronic development of yuè lái yuè 越来越 (lit. ‘more come more’, meaning more and more) construction, a type of comparative correlatives in Chinese. It is argued that (i) the earliest usage of yue lai yue can be traced back to the late Qing dynasty (late 19th century), instead of the middle period as is widely accepted previously; (ii) contra Zhu (2010) and Long (2013) which syntactically decompose yue lai yue into yue…yue and the pro-verb lai, we propose an idiomatization analysis. More specifically, yue lai yue is derived from its spatial-oriented correlative homograph which appears in spatial-temporal ambiguous contexts; (iii) the evolution of yue lai yue is driven by its semantic change and the whole process involves four aspects of change, namely, desemanticization, decategorialization, context extension, and phonological erosion. Meanwhile, the prosody, namely Constraint on Sentential Intonation (CSI) in Chinese also plays an important role in shaping the coalescence of yue lai yue; (iv) yue lai yue can still be used separately as yue laiyue… in certain contexts, even when the coalescence has completed. However, this kind of special usage is licensed by formal registers, evidenced by the fact that yue laiyue… is only allowed in formal (literary) registers but not in informal ones. The study in the paper supports the argument that formal registers go upward to higher syntactic positions whereas informal registers go downward to lower syntactic positions. Furthermore, the characteristics of visual language (versus auditory language) is crucial to the development of yue lai yue as well.




Keywords 关键词

Yue lai yue  Compositionality  Idiomaticity  Constructionalization  Register

来越 合性 语性 式化 

Abstract 摘要

This paper aims to explore the khɤʔ2-i33 乞伊 VP construction in the Chaozhou dialect. khɤʔ2-i33 乞伊 VP is a construction correlated with an adversative sense, which is called affective construction. A contrastive study on 19th-century Chaozhou dialect documents and the current dialect reveals that the affective construction is derived from the formal passive construction as a result of topicalization and syntacticization. This construction exists in many varieties of the coastal Min dialect group due to the topic-prominent property of this dialect group. This property causes coastal Min dialects to differ from other Chinese dialects in terms of typology, while having a strong internal consistency in the evolution of some syntactic structures, such as the affective construction at issue and the resumptive disposal construction.




Keywords 关键词

Chaozhou dialect  Affective construction  Evolution of syntactic structures  Topic-prominent  Syntacticization

州方言  受句  式演变  题优先  法化


In the so-called “third great debates on Old Chinese phonology” in recent years, there has been heated discussions on “yisheng zhi zhuan一声之转 (sound shift)” mentioned in the Guangya shuzheng, with a particular focus on the legitimacy of Wang Niansun’s theories on Chinese historical phonology. Wang Niansun followed the paradigm set up by Dai Zhen in identifying cognate words. In Dai Zhen’s Fangyan shuzheng as well as Duan Yucai’s Shuowenjiezi zhu, there is a large number of “Zhuanyu转语 (transmitted words)” materials. This paper collects the “Zhuanyu” materials from the three exegetical works above, analyzes contact types of initials, and discusses the different accounts of Old Chinese initials proposed by Dai Zhen, Duan Yucai and Wang Niansun, under the historical context between the reigns of Qianlong and Jiaqing. We find that Qian Daxin’s view of Old Chinese initials was not well received at that time. While Duan Yucai and Wang Niansun both adopted Dai Zhen’s “Shengzhuan theory声转说”, they made adjustments by prioritizing either “zhengzhuan 正转 (positive shifting)” or “bianzhuan 变转 (alternative shifting)”. This paper also compares the different evaluations of textual evidence vis-à-vis phonological theory in the exegetical studies of Dai, Duan and Huang, and analyzes disagreements between contact behaviors of initials and Shengzhuan theories in their “Zhuanyu” materials. Our study clarifies misunderstandings about “yisheng zhi zhuan” and provides insights for reconstructing the academic history of traditional Chinese phonology.





Qing dynasty phonology  Old Chinese initials  “Shengzhuan” theory  “Yisheng zhi zhuan”

代古音学  声纽  转说  “声之转”

Abstract 摘要

Norman (1982) proposes that 犢 ‘calf’ is a loanword from Altaic languages, and the hypothesis is often cited by later scholars. Based on the recently unearthed documents and texts, a new phonological analysis of Old Chinese, and the cross-language phonetic corresponding rules, this paper argues that is not a loanword but a native Chinese word. Unearthed documents from the pre-Qin period provide earlier uses of than those from the Han dynasty mentioned previously. Combining the time of early uses, the xiesheng series and character interchanges related to , and a new reconstruction of the Old Chinese sources of the Middle Chinese initial *d-, the paper argues that there is no phonetic correspondence between and the Altaic t-initial morphemes. The paper also points out that a basic condition of establishing a loanword hypothesis through historical documents is that the cross-language phonetic correspondence should exist at the time reflected by the earliest uses of the word.




Keywords 关键词

Dú犢  Loanword  Altaic languages  Unearthed documents and texts  Cross-language phonetic correspondence

  词  尔泰语  土文献  语言语音对应

Review 书评

Excerpt 节选

A Phonological History of Chinese is an important and welcome contribution, which attempts to fill a glaring gap in English-language scholarship on Chinese language history. It is intended for “both the general phonologist and specialist of Chinese studies, as well as both beginners and experts” (p. xxxiv). The book is divided into six parts. The first presents the complex and daunting set of concepts and terminology that arise from the peculiar history of phonological analysis of Chinese. Mastering this knowledge is essential to an understanding of key source materials and the secondary scholarship derived from them. The remaining five parts correlate with the traditional phonological periodization of Chinese phonology: Old Chinese, Middle Chinese, the transitional period from Middle Chinese to Mandarin, Old Mandarin, and Modern Mandarin.


For scholars interested in the history of Chinese language pronunciation, especially over the last 1,000 years, this book will be a foundational and indispensable guide and reference. Shen’s wide-ranging knowledge of source materials in a variety of languages and scripts, his command of secondary scholarly literature, and his detailed understanding of patterns of relationship and change in the history of Chinese, all combine in this impressive work.

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