The term“apical vowel” is first seen in Bernhard Karlgren’s work Études sur la phonologie chinoise and widely accepted by Chinese linguists. However apical vowel is merely an articulatory description. In phonological analyses apical vowels actually create problems. They cannot be described as front, central, or back, and even cannot be included in a regular vowel chart. In this article we examine the historical process which produced the apical vowels and related changes before and after the Menggu Ziyun 蒙古字韻. Based on the analyses it is quite obvious that apicalization and other related changes after the retroflex initials are the results of the same phonological change. The result of this change is simply to delete the [+front] feature of the final after the retroflex initials. Thus phonologically the so-called apical vowels have to be central vowels that lack the front feature. The nature of this change can also be learned from analysis of the hP’ags-pa spellings employed in the MGZY. The hP’ags-pa spellings of the Yuan time not only provide the first phonetic transcription of a Chinese phonology; they also provide an insightful phonological analysis.
In order to better our understanding of the Wu “voiced stops”, we carried out a cross-language study of oral closure duration at word-initial position. In addition to Wu, three languages which are representative in the study of stop consonants—Hindi, Korean and English—are investigated. From the results of the analyses presented in this paper, it is shown that oral closure duration as a function of articulation is significant in distinguishing different stop categories. Thus, it is suggested that tenseness of oral gesture as reflected by closure duration should be used as a primary distinction in the classification of the Wu stop consonants in particular and of stop consonants in general.
This article analyzes the phonological characteristics of modern northern Mandarin that can be retrieved from Chinese loanwords written in the Jurchen script. The Jurchen materials used are basically the steles of the Jin dynasty. In the analyses an internal contrastive method is used to determine phonological categories to avoid circular arguments in dealing with the transcriptions between two unknown languages. The results of our analyses demonstrate that the limited Chinese loanwords in the Jurchen language actually contain critical information about the Chinese phonology of the Jin dynasty (1115-1234). The analyses of ten phonological characteristics show that Jin Chinese is clearly related to modern northern Mandarin as represented by the Beijing dialect. The phonological characteristics of Jin Chinese provide an important piece of information about the history of Mandarin before the Zhongyuan Yinyun 中原音韻 of 1324, which is commonly perceived as the earliest evidence of Mandarin phonology.
Rashid al-Din (1247-1318)'s History of China, written in Persian, contains the names of the dynasties, and of kings and emperors, from prehistoric legends up to the Yuan dynasty. The phonetic transcription of these proper names is an important piece of information for us to understand the Chinese phonology of the Yuan dynasty. in order to correctly understand the phonological features of old Mandarin the possible phonological contrasts that can be represented in the Persian script are examined. it is shown that the Persian transcriptions did not create new letters for Chinese sounds. Thus all the phonological categories of Chinese are only represented by the available Persian letters. After analyzing these transcriptions, this article shows that although many phonological distinctions of old Mandarin are not very well represented in this material, there are enough phonological features to identify the underlying phonological system, which is unambiguously Mandarin.
The Li Fang-Kuei Society for Chinese Linguistics 紀念李方桂先生中國語言學研究學會, named in honor of a consummate scholar who made monumental contributions in Chinese, Tibetan, Tai and American Indian linguistics, was established in Seattle on October 1, 2003 by a group including Prof. Li Fang-Kuei’s family members, former students, friends, colleagues, and admirers. The goal of the Society is to further Prof. Li’s legacy by supporting and encouraging the highest standards of research and scholarship in the academic discipline of Chinese linguistics throughout the world. Professor Li’s contribution to linguistics is global and many-faceted. His keen insight, great intellect, and profound knowledge as conveyed through his writings have influenced directly or indirectly all subsequent generations of scholars working in the areas in which he excelled. In appreciation of his contribution to the academic community worldwide, the Society launched its flagship journal, Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics 中國語言學集刊, in May 2006 as a permanent tribute to him.
The Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics has been published by the Center for Chinese Linguistics of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, with the exception of Volumes 3 and 4, which were published by the Zhonghua Book Company. Beginning in 2015, publication has shifted to Brill under the editorial direction of the Society and with ongoing support from the Center for Chinese Linguistics.
The Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics plays a vital role in the Society’s mission to foster high-quality research in Chinese linguistics and related fields. Published biannually, the journal provides a global forum for scholarly exchanges to continue the great tradition embodied and fostered by Professor Li, and to shed new light and explore new horizons in historical-comparative linguistics and dialectology. All articles are peer-reviewed and are published in either English or Chinese.
「紀念李方桂先生中國語言學研究學會」，由李方桂先生的家屬以及門生故舊共同捐資，於2003年10月1日在美國西雅圖設立，以紀念這位對於漢語、藏語、台語和美洲印第安語有著劃時代貢獻的語言學大師。學會的宗旨，在贊助國際間最高水準的中國語言學研究，藉此發揚李先生的學術精神。李先生在語言學上的貢獻是多方面的。他著作中所深蘊的高瞻遠矚與精深博大，直接間接地影響了後世學者。為表彰他世界性的學術貢獻，學會於2006年5月創辦了代表刊物《中國語言學集刊》（ Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics），作為對李先生的永久紀念。
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