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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


On the Front Rounded Vowels in the Puxian Dialect of Min

Vol. 38 No. 4   12/2008    


On the Front Rounded Vowels in the Puxian Dialect of Min


Hsiu -hsueh Liu









Key words

Front rounded vowels, Puxian dialect, Min dialect, Language contact


  This paper explains the development of front rounded vowels and its sub-dialectal variations in the Puxian dialect of Min. Front rounded vowels are found in both Eastern Min and Puxian, but their distributions in the two dialects are different; in addition, Puxian also has sub-dialectal differences. In this paper,I argue that the front rounded vowel [y] was introduced into Puxian via lexical borrowing from Northern Guanhua and Eastern Min. Puxian further developed rounding harmony, which resulted in [yɒŋ, øg] (corresponding to [iɔŋ, uan] in Southern Min). The feature combination [-back, +round] was also employed to preserve the phonemic contrast of both colloquial and literal strata in the phonological system, and [ø] final was formed then. In other words, front rounded vowels entered the Puxian phonological system at different times and through various routes. I give three factors which influenced the sub-dialectal variations of finals in Puxian:1) differing speed and spread of sound change among sub-dialects, 2) phonological rules which applied to different domains, and 3) maintenance of systemic contrast via successive adaptations of finals in some sub-dialects.



Author: Hsiu-hsueh Liu
Genre: Article
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