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Chinese sound changes

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Friday, November 13, 1998, 14:59
Nik Taylor wrote:

> How did the first tone [of Middle Chinese] split?
Syllables with voiceless initial consonants got tone 1; syllables with voiced initial consonants got tone 2. Middle Chinese had three voiced aspirated initials (like Shanghainese today), which can be written [bh] [dh] [gh]. In old tone 1, they became [ph] [th] [kh] (Pinyin p t k), but in the other tones, they became [p] [t] [k] (Pinyin b d g). The old fourth ("entering") tone, which was attached to syllables ending in -p -t -k, got divided up among the other tones in a random way when final stops were lost. -- John Cowan You tollerday donsk? N. You tolkatiff scowegian? Nn. You spigotty anglease? Nnn. You phonio saxo? Nnnn. Clear all so! 'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)