A compendium of phonetics in Northwest Chinese
W. South Coblin 柯蔚南 著
The complilation of this compendium was first suggested to me by Professor Jerry Norman, who continued to offer encouragement as the work proceeded. I have also received numerous comments and suggestions from Professor Axel Schuessler. The help of both these individuals was invaluable to me, but they are in no way responsible for any weaknesses or errors which remain.
Publication of this monograph was jointly subvened by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Iowa. It is a pleasure to acknowledge their generous suppot.
Part 1 Preliminaries 第一部分：序文
During the present century the study of Chinese historical phonology has focused on two major sets of textual material, which are supposed to reflect the pronunciation of the two periods from which they purportedly date, i.e. ca. 900 B.C. (conventionally called “Archaic” or “Old” Chinese) and ca. 600 A.D. (“Ancient” or “Middle” Chinese). The general, though not unanimous, assumptions has been that these two linguistics stages represent successive steps in a direct line of development from the earliest form of Chinese to the majority of the modern dialects. A more recent development, of the past few decades, has been the effort to study families of modern dialects and to reconstruct proto-systems such as Proto-Yue, Proto-Min, Proto-Kejia, Proto-Wu, etc. Most studies of this type have dealt with the southern Chinese dialect groups and, in the almost total absence of early written records, have made almost exclusive use of the comparative method. And the applicability of this method to languages which are generally thought to have experienced continuous and strong outside influence for at least a millennium has increasingly become the subject of debate within the field.
In contradistinction to the case for the southern dialects, less effort has been directed towards the study of the long-term history of the northern or “Mandarin” dialects, probably because it has been supposed that they are naturally subsumed under the general rubrics of “Old Chinese” and “Middle Chinese.” In the case of the northwest dialects, in particular this is certainly pity, for it so happens that we have excellent textual attestation for these languages over a very long period. For the modern stage, several fairly large-scale dialect studies are available. For the period of approximately 900-1000 A.D. we have not only materials in Chinese but also in alphabetic scripts such as Tibetan, Khotanese, and Uighur, records which reflect not just one dialect but several slightly different ones. And for successive earlier periods we have fragmentary materials in Tibetan, native materials in Chinese, and very rich corpora of Buddhist transcriptional material, where Chinese characters have been used to record names, phrases, and even extensive passages from texts in Sanskrit and various Prakrits. Transcriptional sources are in fact available back to 400 A.D. for the northwest area, and there are even isolated data from ca. 300 A.D. In summary, northwest Chinese offers a fertile field for diachronic phonological study while at the same time escaping certain of the pitfalls, which plague the study of other dialect groups.
The preceding remarks are not intended to suggest, however, that northwest Chinese is a totally untapped field. On the contrary, we benefit in particular from a number of previous studies of the tenth century transcriptional sources. The most important earlier ones are those of Luo (1993) and Csongor (1960). And these have now been supplemented and in fact superseded by the monumental compendium of Takata (1988). This and other recent works of Takata in particular have contributed immeasurable to our understanding of the phonology of the ninth and tenth century northwest dialects. More recently, we have attempted to project this general, late medieval picture back to the earlier stages alluded to above (Coblin 1991). Our work in this area was devoted primarily to consideration of specific theoretical questions, and it was therefore necessary to cite our data selectively, in illustration of particular points. This approach had the drawbacks that it failed to reveal to readers the total picture presented by the mostly unpublished data and thus denied them the opportunity to judge the corpus for themselves. The intent of the present work is to in some measure rectify this failing.
Our purpose then, has been to present the data in a convenient and accessible format while at the same time linking it as closely as possible to the structural framework established by Takata. To this end, we devote the present part of our study to a discussion of certain relevant historical considerations and to an analysis of the format used to present the data. Part II provides an historical overview of northwest phonological history as we conceive of it. In Part III, the data are presented in a form, which allows direct comparison with the material collected by Takata in his data tables. Takata’s own arrangement already allows access to the material through the she 攝 system of traditional deng yun tu 等韵图 philology. We have supplemented this with a pin yin index to Chinese forms treated in our compendium.
Part 2 A Diachronic Sketch of Northwest Phonology
In the next three chapters we shall sketch the development of our Old Northwest Chinese (ONWC) sound system, first to the Sui-Tang Chang’an (STCA) stage, thence through mid-Tang (MTCA) to the approximately concurrent Shazhou (SZ) and Late Tang Chang’an (LTCA) periods, and finally to the modern dialects. Our reconstructions for the pre-modern stages have been presented in a number of articles and a monograph, all cited in the bibliography. In several cases, to be noted as they arise, these earlier reconstructions will be revised and amplified in various ways here. Our approach will be to take our reconstructed forms as given starting points for the historical discussion. This is done for convenience of presentation and should not imply that the reconstructions in question are generally accepted or uncontroversial. Direct reference will be made to the data in Part III below by giving the appropriate entry numbers. Where necessary for clarity these numbers are enclosed in square brackets.