What Makes Chinese so Vietnamese?
An Introduction to Sinitic-Vietnamese Studies
(Ýthức mới về nguồngốc tiếngViệt)
Table of Contents
The five major points that have been discussed throughout this research are (1) argumentation on the Yue elements that had been existant prior to the emergence of what was later known as Chinese, (2) discussion on biased views on the V historical linguistics due to nationalism and politics, (3) focus on V etyma cognate to those of Sino-Tibetan and C languages in comparison with a wide range of basic words believed to be of Mon-Khmer origin, (4) dissyllabics of both V and C, (5) presentation of an analogical approach as drawn from the recognition of their dissyllabicity that helps discover more Sintic-Vietnamese words.
Even though some VS aspects have been addressed under different subject matters since the last century, most specialists of V examining the matter of V etymology of C origin to date have separated the Sinitic entitity from that of the aboriginal Yue, which has been under the guise of AA MK, Austro-Thai, Daic-Kaida, Vietic, and Vietmuong. Firstly, there had existed the proto-Yue and only then emerged the Sintic elements in the vast land that was later known as the Middle Kingdom. Throughout the 1000 years long under the rule of China from 111 BC, the Annamese language, as an ancient linguistic medium, had gradually absorbed the late Sinitic components and built them up on top of the Yue root and they altogether evolved into what is seen as today's V. In effect, there has been the continuity of lineage of both languages from the ancient to present time.
In so far as VS studies of V words of C origin, this etymological linguistic field has not been fully explored the way it deserves. When working on them, specialists in the field have only compared a limited number of monosyllabic words with equivalents of individual C characters, mostly on one-to-one basis. The usual approach in this area taken by many of them is to treat VS words only within the framework of the phonological system of SV as compatible to that of MC, so do with those of OC and pre-SV (Tiền-HánViệt) realm. Except for some achievements made in the field of reconstruction of OC, those specialists of V linguistics have largely neglected work on comparative analysis of other ST etymologies along with other modern C dialects while the common share in basic words of both V with other ST etymologies was totally neglected. For the most parts, practical usages of the latter vocabulary stocks have evidently been important sources for a wide range of active words in the V language. The chapter on ST etymologies present evidences of that argument.
Should there have been any meaningful work done in the area of the VS etymological field, in terms of polysyllabics, characteristically, it must have been plagued with a deeply-rooted misconception about the true nature of both C and V as of monosyllabics. There is no surprise that view of monosyllabism is par for the course these days as clearly demonstrated by the current V othorgraphy in which each separately written syllable is mistakenly thought to be a complete word-concept. The basic mechanism behind individual syllabic writings is governed by the V concept of "tiếng", or a "complete sound", which in fact invariably could be either a morpheme, syllable, or word. Such old-fashioned view is a remnant of a legacy of the historical official V writing system of C character-based scripts that was once used in the past until the early 20th century.
As a result, only monosyllabic V words of C origin have been targeted for investigation under which each syllable has been falsely treated as a complete lexical unit as a "word" in writing, no matter there evidently exist many words undeniably made up with multi-syllabic morphemes. Such incorrect perception has severely affected the progress in V etymological studies. For example, there has been virtually no new discovery of V etyma of C origin for at least five decades since Haudricourt's theory on the tonogenesis of V. Much of the V linguistic foci have been diverted into AA basic words that exist in other minority MK speeches but they, in effect, happen to fall into our categorized ST etymologies as well.
Needless to say, such faulty approach has certainly hindered further development and produced no breakthroughs in nature within the field of studies in V etymologies. That is the reason why the subject of dissyllabicity in both V and C has been discussed in length in this paper under a new perspective that will serve as a baseline for a novel etymological methodology that will greatly help identify a great number of V words of C origin within a dissyllabic framework.
In the meanwhile, in terms of genetic linguistic affiliation, Sino-Tibetan or not, the new analogical approach discussed in this paper basically revolvesaround C forms, literary and vernacular, past and present. Hopefully this etymological work will kick off some momentum in the VS field and lead the way in opening up other possible venues within the ST etymological domain based on the apparent cognateness as we have clearly seen in V and ST comparative cases in Shafer's lists.
For all the results that we are having so far with solid cases for those VS etyma, some irregular etymological issues that undermined the ST-oriented basic word stratum could have been already clarified as they have gone under scrutiny in this paper. Hopefully this research will provide novices as well as specialists alike with some new insights and productive tools so that they can launch further investigations in the right direction in exploring the VS field with the same manner and attitude regarding ST etyma and dissyllabicity of V vocabularies.
Finally, in addition to those words that are conformatively of any other roots such as those of MK, for the same reason, lexicologists of V will eventually be able to compile a modern V dictionary completed with etymologies for the first time, ever, in history.
[To be continued -- this research is still in the process of extensive editing. Refer to the version date.]
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