According to this author’s fieldwork in Pei Pi Village（北壁鄉），Xia Pu County（霞浦縣），a very interesting finding is that unlike most Chinese dialects, the cognate 飯‘puŋ6’ is not used to mean “steamed rice” but to mean “breakfast”. The word to indicate “steamed rice” is a rare disyllable “maŋ2 nau5” among Eastern Min dialects. This phenomenon is worthy to be looked into by increasing review of dialect materials and expanding the comparative scope.
Through correspondence with ancient Chinese phonological system, this paper aims to demonstrate that the etyma of the disyllable “maŋ2 nau5” are 暝 and 晝 respectively. The compound “maŋ2 nau5” consisted of two elements: the former (which indicates “dinner”) is “maŋ2”, and the latter “nau5” denoted “lunch.” It is obvious that the lexical replacement occurred in Xia Pu dialect. From the lexical shift point of view, the innovation of the replacement is induced by the semantic confusion between “puŋ6”[飯] and “tsa3”[早]. The process of the replacement could be reconstructed as follows:
Further, the etymon of “steamed rice” in several north Eastern Min dialects seems not to be explained reasonably until now, for instance, Fu An “maŋ5”, Zhe Reng “maŋ5”, Shou Ning “maŋ5”, Zhou Ning “maŋ5”. The disyllable “maŋ2 nau5” in Xia Pu may bring the puzzle into light. In view of historical comparison, I have every reason to speculate that “maŋ5” in north Eastern Min dialects could be traced back to the primitive form “maŋ2 nau5”. The phonological strategy is syllable contraction.
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