Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Old Chinese retroflexes--a few questions.

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Sunday, November 21, 2004, 17:28
Steven Williams scripsit:

> Then how does Cantonese have like nine tones? Were > some other tonogenic forces at work here?
Middle Chinese had four tones, three associated with open syllables (ending in a vowel, -m, -n, or -ng) and one associated with checked syllables (ending in -p, -t, or -k). Each of these had the potential to split, giving 8 tones; different patterns of splits (and mergers) appear in different Sinitic languages. Uniquely in Cantonese, the fourth tone split a second time, giving 9 tones at the -emic level; however, identifying some of the checked tones with unchecked analogues and a tone merger have left the language with only 6 -etic tones. -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! John Cowan <cowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)