Whether the Qieyun Division IV finals have a medial -i- or not is an issue that has been debated for almost a century since Karlgren published his monumental work entitled Etudes sur la phonologie chinoise. This paper examines the problem from the following four angles: 1. Evolution of the Division IV characters with a rounded medial; 2. Pronunciations of the Division IV chongniu 重紐 characters in Sino-Vietnamese; 3. Transliterations of Division IV characters in Buddhist canons translated from Sanskrit; 4. Tendency of the rhyming behaviors of Division IV characters in the Wei-Jin and Nan-Bei-Chao periods. Results indicate that the Qieyun Division IV finals do have a medial -i-.
In the Qieyun, there are only four rhymes which contain characters that belong to two finals of different divisions. This paper analyzes the structure of these rhymes and explains why other characters of similar finals do not fall into one rhyme. The major purpose is to demonstrate that distinction of rhymes may be caused by phonemic or phonetic differences. Therefore, we have to take this principle into account when we reconstruct the medials and finals of each rhyme.
This short paper first explores the complicated relationship of Old Style vs. New Style and Literary vs. Colloquial strata in the Suzhou dialect. It then discusses four related issues: 1. age groups and sound changes; 2. the usage of retroflex initials in distinguishing Literary vs. Colloquial strata; 3. characters in the first and second divisions of the Xie group 蟹攝 that have double readings; 4. hekou 合口 characters in the third division of the Zhi group 止攝 that have double readings. Finally, it is concluded that there were two colloquial strata in the Suzhou dialect, an earlier one and a later one, with the literary stratum sandwiched in the middle.
This papers aims to determine the actual time when Min colloquial readings broke off from Old Chinese. There are five common vocabulary words in modern colloquial Min that are found in ancient texts of the Han time. This discovery reinforces the phonological arguments made in previous studies, namely, that the Min colloquial readings were directly derived from Old Chinese during the transition period from the Western Han to the Eastern Han.