Typological Change in Chinese Syntax

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1 University Press Scholarship Online You are looking at 1-8 of 8 items for: keywords : Old Chinese Typological Change in Chinese Syntax Dan Xu Item type: book acprof:oso/ This new interpretation of the early history of Chinese argues that Old Chinese was typologically a mixed language. It shows that, though its dominant word order was subject-verb-object, this coexisted with subject-object-verb. This book demonstrates that Old Chinese was not the analytic language it has usually been assumed to be, and that it employed morphological and lexical devices as well as syntactic means. The book describes the typological changes that have taken place since the Han period and shows how Chinese evolved into a more analytic language, supporting this exposition with abundant examples. The book draws where possible on archaeological findings in order to distinguish between versions of texts transmitted and sometimes modified through the hands of generations of copyists. The book focuses on syntactic issues, including word order, verbs, causative structures, resultative compounds, and negation, but also pays close attention to what the book demonstrates are closely related changes in phonology and the writing system. Old Chinese rhymes William H. Baxter and Laurent Sagart in Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction Published in print: 2014 Published Online: March 2016 ISBN: eisbn: acprof:oso/ Chapter 5 gives a systematic treatment of Old Chinese rhymes. After an overview of rhyme structure (main vowel, coda, and post-coda) in section 2.1, section 2.2 introduces the six-vowel system of Old Chinese. This involves two main hypotheses: (1) the rounded-vowel hypothesis, which assigns rounded-vowel origins to certain rhymes that have unrounded Page 1 of 5

2 main vowels in Middle Chinese, and (2) the front-vowel hypothesis, which asserts that the Middle Chinese division-iv rhymes come from the front vowels *e and *i. Rhyming evidence which apparently contradicts these claims is discussed. Section 5.3 discusses several processes with wide-ranging effects on rhyme development: pharyngealization of initial consonants and the presence of prevocalic -r-, as well as various assimilation and dissimilation processes. Reconstructed Old Chinese rhymes are then systematically presented, classified by coda type (back; acute; with -w; labial) and vowel. As with the onsets, all reconstructed rhymes are illustrated by examples. Their sound correspondences with Middle Chinese (though not, in this case, with Proto- Mĭn, Proto-Hmong- Mien, or Vietnamese) are tabulated. The reconstruction of the *-r coda is supported by evidence from Chinese transcriptions of foreign words. It is also shown that a dialect development which treated final *-r as -j was characteristic of the region in and near the Shāndōng peninsula, in contrast to other regions, where *-r evolved to -n. Introduction acprof:oso/ This introductory chapter summarizes the aims and arguments of the book. The book shows that, since the Han, the Chinese language has fully exploited syntactic devices to the detriment of phonological and morphological devices. This irresistible development means that the syntactic needs issued from the language itself. From Old Chinese to Middle Chinese Word Order and Word Order Change acprof:oso/ This chapter shows that, typologically, Old Chinese (OC) was a mixed language, in terms of both language type and word order. It shows that the verb-object (VO) order was preferred by Chinese language evolution Page 2 of 5

3 while the object-verb (OV) order fell into disuse or only survives in expressions and proverbs. It demonstrates why a spatial orientation term and a place word which share the same semantic property [location] needed a preposition in Middle Chinese but not in OC. Verbs preceding localizers or place words were progressively grammaticalized into prepositions. Consequently, locations which has, for example, localizers and place words were marked and became different from ordinary NP. The motion verb qù changed its meaning from to leave to to go in this reorganization of word order. Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction William H. Baxter and Laurent Sagart Published in print: 2014 Published Online: March 2016 ISBN: eisbn: Item type: book acprof:oso/ This book introduces a new linguistic reconstruction of the phonology, morphology, and lexicon of Old Chinese, the first Sino-Tibetan language to be reduced to writing. It is the language of the earliest Chinese classical texts (1st millennium BCE) and the ancestor of later varieties of Chinese, including all modern Chinese dialects. Although the reconstruction has its basis in earlier research, it moves beyond earlier reconstructions by taking into account important new evidence that has recently become available: better documentation of Chinese dialects that preserve archaic features, like the Mĭn and Wăxiāng dialects; better documentation of languages with very early loanwords from Chinese, like the Hmong-Mien, Tai-Kadai and Vietnamese languages; and a flood of previously unknown Chinese manuscripts from the first millennium BCE, excavated or discovered in the last several decades. The book also relies on, and extends, recent advances in our understanding of the derivational processes that connected different words coming from the same root. By making systematic use of evidence from archaic Chinese dialects and layers of loanwords into languages in contact, it brings Old Chinese reconstruction more in line with standard reconstruction practice. In addition, the book expands our knowledge of Chinese etymoloy and for the first time identifies phonological markers of pre- Han dialects, such as the development of *r to -j in a group of east coast dialects, but to -n elsewhere. Page 3 of 5

4 Causative Structures in Old Chinese acprof:oso/ This chapter examines different causatives (phonological and morphological, lexical and syntactic). It also shows how other causatives lost their place while the syntactic causative remained and developed. In Contemporary Chinese, a few traces of phonological and morphological causatives remain. However, some verbs whose tone indicates the causative use are difficult to identify because one character was often split into two with a semantic part added to the original one to identify the ordinary one from the causative. The grammaticalization of the verb shi is quite the same with that of other grammaticalized words. The Chinese language fully utilized the serial verb construction V1NP1V2(NP2) in which verbs had the chance to be grammaticalized into different markers. Orientation of Verbs in Old Chinese acprof:oso/ This chapter discusses the orientations of a verb (agent-patient relations). In a monosyllabic verb, various orientations are indicated by pronunciation, choice of verb, word order, context, etc., but with the loss of phonological and morphological means, this hidden marking became less and less efficient. A syntactic mean is more appropriate to explain the orientation of a verb. The preposition yú was overused in this context. Thus, the preposition yú provided a part of its function to other new adpositions favouring syntactic means; the latter were definitely required in the language evolution. The preverbal position was reserved for the NP marking (agent, patient/object, location, etc.) and the postverbal position was kept for verb aspect marking (resulting verb, aspect particles, frequency, duration, etc.). Page 4 of 5

5 Negation in Old Chinese acprof:oso/ This chapter compares transmitted versions with unearthed texts to understand better the differences between the negation particles in Old Chinese (OC). It bases its work on one hypothesis: if negative particles in OC were sharply trimmed down and the system was simplified, the Chinese language had to go through a typological change, even though the slight differences between such a large choice of negative particles in OC has not been understood yet. Negative particles in OC demonstrate morphological hints, since OC was not an analytic language as has long been believed. Page 5 of 5

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