A Handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese (ABC Chinese Dictionary by W. South Coblin

By W. South Coblin

‘Phags-pa chinese language is the earliest type of the chinese to be written in a systematically devised alphabetic script. it really is named after its author, an excellent thirteenth-century Tibetan scholar-monk who additionally served as political adviser to Kublai Khan. ‘Phags-pa’s invention of an alphabet for the Mongolian language is still a very very important accomplishment, either conceptually and essentially. With it he completed not anything below the construction of a unified script for the entire quite a few peoples within the Mongolian empire, together with the valuable Asian Turks and Sinitic-speaking Chinese.‘Phags-pa is of monstrous significance for the examine of premodern chinese language phonology. even if, the script is hard to learn and interpret, and secondary fabrics on it are scattered and never simply bought. the current ebook is meant as a realistic advent to ‘Phags-pa chinese language experiences and a advisor for examining and studying the script. It comprises elements. the 1st half is an introductory part comprising 4 chapters. this is often by way of a word list of ‘Phags-pa chinese language types and their corresponding chinese language characters, including p?ny?n and stroke order indexes to these characters. the 1st introductory bankruptcy outlines the discovery of the ‘Phags-pa writing procedure, summarizes the main forms of fabric preserved in it, and describes the historic and linguistic contexts during which this invention happened. Following chapters element the historical past of ‘Phags-pa stories, the alphabet and its interpretation, and the salient positive factors of the underlying sound approach represented via the script, evaluating it with these of varied later different types of chinese language which have been recorded in alphabetic sources.A instruction manual of ‘Phags-pa chinese language can be of specified curiosity to chinese language ancient phonologists and students fascinated about the historical past and tradition of China and important Asia throughout the Yuan interval (1279–1368 A.D.).

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Extra resources for A Handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese (ABC Chinese Dictionary Series)

Example text

In fact, he left a 36 The 'Phags-pa Alphabet description of its phonetic characteristics. However, it seems virtually certain that at that time many speakers from various areas of north China did not make the distinction when speaking the koine. Again, the fit between an established standard pronunciation system and the spoken realization of that system can be imperfect for many, and in some cases perhaps even the majority, of speakers. But the speakers themselves do not recognize this as an inconsistency, and they do not view such imperfect fits as flaws in need of correction.

We know from native sources that there were at least two major regional ways of pronouncing this language. One, called Nfmyln 1¥i'§", or "Southern Pronunciation," was originally rooted in the J iang-Huai iI1l-type Mandarin pronunciation of the Yangtze watershed, though it was later used by officials from many parts of China and was in fact the preferred system until the nineteenth century. The other type was called Beiyln 3t'§", or "Northern Pronunciation," and reflected the speech patterns of north China.

However, in practice the lists were learned from rime books, and their ordering in these texts was determined by convention. In the formal or Qieyun tv§Jt System (QYS) there were 206 rimes, divided first among the four classical tones and then listed in a long-established order. 3f*OO. The term Pingshulyun has also been used to refer to particular rime books. 18 Various features of this text, including the very order in which characters are listed in certain sections of it, have led Ning (1997: 161-165) to conclude that it, or something very like it, was actively used in the compilation of the MGZY urtext.

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