Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction

Hardcover | September 4, 2014

byWilliam H. Baxter, Laurent Sagart

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This book introduces a new linguistic reconstruction of the phonology, morphology, and lexicon of Old Chinese, the first Sino-Tibetan language to be reduced to writing. Old Chinese is the language of the earliest Chinese classical texts (1st millennium BCE) and the ancestor of later varietiesof Chinese, including all modern Chinese dialects. William Baxter and Laurent Sagart's new reconstruction of Old Chinese moves beyond earlier reconstructions by taking into account important new evidence that has recently become available: better documentation of Chinese dialects that preservearchaic features, such as the Min and Waxiang dialects; better documentation of languages with very early loanwords from Chinese, such as the Hmong-Mien, Tai-Kadai and Vietnamese languages; and a flood of Chinese manuscripts from the first millennium BCE, excavated or discovered in the last severaldecades. Baxter and Sagart also incorporate recent advances in our understanding of the derivational processes that connect different words that have the same root. They expand our knowledge of Chinese etymology and identify, for the first time, phonological markers of pre-Han dialects, such as thedevelopment of *r to -j in a group of east coast dialects, but to -n elsewhere.The most up-to-date reconstruction available, Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction brings the methodology of Old Chinese reconstruction closer to that of comparative reconstructions that have been used successfully in other language families. It is critical reading for anyone seeking an advancedunderstanding of Old Chinese.

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This book introduces a new linguistic reconstruction of the phonology, morphology, and lexicon of Old Chinese, the first Sino-Tibetan language to be reduced to writing. Old Chinese is the language of the earliest Chinese classical texts (1st millennium BCE) and the ancestor of later varietiesof Chinese, including all modern Chinese dia...

William H. Baxter is Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the Department of Linguistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research in historical linguistics includes work on both the history of Chinese and its dialects and on the use of mathematical techniques to reconstruct linguistic history. Laurent ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:September 4, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199945373

ISBN - 13:9780199945375

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction1.1 What is Old Chinese?1.2 Methodology1.3 Plan of the book2. The evidence for Old Chinese2.1 Middle Chinese2.2 Old Chinese rhyme evidence2.3 Evidence from the Chinese script2.4 Modern Chinese dialects2.5 Early Chinese loanwords in other languages2.6 Traditional Chinese texts explicitly discussing language2.7 Tibeto-Burman3. An overview of the reconstruction3.1 Onsets: main hypotheses3.2 Rhymes3.3 Root structure, word structure, and affixation3.4 The nature of the pre-Q!n script4. Onsets4.1 The evolution of Old Chinese initial consonants: major processes4.2 Applying the comparative method within Chinese4.3 Singleton onsets4.4 Tightly attached onsets4.5 Onsets with loosely attached preinitials4.6 Onsets with complex preinitials5. Old Chinese rhymes5.1 Overview: vowels, codas, postcodas5.2 The six-vowel system5.3 Rhyme development: main processes5.4 Rhymes with back codas (*-O, *-k, and *-?)5.5 Rhymes with acute codas (*-j, *-t, *-n, and *-r)5.6 Rhymes with the codas *-w and *-wk5.7 Rhymes with labial codas (*-p and *-m)6. Conclusion6.1 What kind of language was Old Chinese?6.2 Dialect differences in Old Chinese6.3 Known issues6.4 General directions for future research6.5 Old Chinese in broad comparative contextAppendix of reconstructed formsReferences