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+-----+ Topic: Comments on sound change patterns in Sinitic-Vietnamese by dchph

Author: dchph posted on 6/10/2005 10:04:40 AM

Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 01:46:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Ekki Lu" <>
Subject: Hi


I am really glad to find someone dedicated to Sino-Viet terms.

I don't know Vietnamese well. I am a Hoklo speaker. But I do look into Vietnamese now and then. I like the way how you make your article progress with time.

Under sound pattern changes, around

F) Pattern { p- (b-) ~ t- (d-) }

Maybe you could also include the case of "khie^u" as in "khie^u Vu~". This word in Mandarin is "tiào", hence we have a { t- ~ kh- } pattern. I know Karlgren found many interesting patterns, but he seemed to have missed this one.

Also under the { p- (b-) ~ t- (d-) } pattern, one could include the character "Di" as in "A Di Dda Pha^.t" in the Buddhist chanting. Of course, this one includes nasalization, so it's like {m- ~ d-}

What do these two patterns suggest? I am not really sure. It seems there is a backing of the place of articulation when there is a palatalized medial. Is it possible that in the past, Vietnamese has had doubly-articulated initial consonants?

A doubly-articulated final consonant is still observed today in the -ng final as in "kho^ng", where the nasal final /-ng/ is simulataneous articulated with a final bilabial stop /-p/.


Another thing that I have seen now and then mentioned by people is about the "creaky" and "breathy" sounds in Austroasiatic historical linguistics. Do you know anything in this regard?

I find it interesting that Vietnamese consonants like kh-, th- being heavily aspirated, and at the same time b- and dd- being heavily voiced. By this I mean that kh-, th- sound like /khhhh/, /thhhh/, and b- and dd- sound like /b@/, /d@/ with /@/ being the schwa. This phenomenon is very clearly observed and I am not sure whether it's related to the "creaky/breathy" dichotomy in historical Austroasiatic. Do you know? Or am I on the wrong track?

Jerry Norman from U. of Washington was the one that conjectured that Hoklo /kia~/="child" and /bat/="to know" are Austroasiatic in origin (in Vietnamese, "con" and "bie^'t" respectively). But through these last few years, due to the lack of other evidences, I tend to consider them as accidental coincidences. I've looked hard enough into Hoklo (Southern Min, Min Nan)'s relationship with Vietnamese, and I simply couldn't find much at all. On the contrary, Hoklo's affiliation to Austronesian languages is so much more clear.

Archeologically, Austronesian culture's geographical distribution coincides with a particular type of stone axes. I think I pretty much have a good understanding that Austronesian or Pre-Austronesian culture was a well-defined, coherent block. The stone axe ultimately gave birth to the term "Yue" or "Viet". Although the Chinese used this term to designate all southern inhabitant, regardless of whether they were Austronesian, Austroasiatic or Hmong/Mien.

For Austroasiatic, I haven't looked as carefully. But it is mind-boggling to me that it has a Munda family in India. I really wish time can turn back, and tell us what really happened historically. I don't think we can do historical linguistics well enough in Austroasiatic without a deeper archeological understanding.

To end, I'd like to mention an interesting phenomenon with the Viet term for "chau'" = "grand child, nephew/niece". The same phenomenon is observed in Hoklo and many other Southeast Asian languages.

This kind of coincidence must come from a common past cultural explanation. Hopefully one day people will be able to decipher what exactly happened.

I'll read your article more carefully in the coming days and maybe make more comments.


-- Ekki

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