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


The Reconstruction of the Qieyun Grade I and GRADE II Finals

Vol. 19 No. 2   12/1989    


The Reconstruction of the Qieyun Grade I and GRADE II Finals 


Chang Kuang-yu  









Key words





Based on the Min dialects, the Qieyun Grade I and Grade II finals can be reconstructed as having a contrasting set of ia : a :aa in Yinshengyun rhymes(open syllable), and aiC : aaC in the Yangshengyun and Rushengyun rhymes(closed syllable). While the former set of constrast is in agreement with most previous reconstructions (and can explain quite well the majority of modern Chinese dialects), the latter set is not. This latter set of contrasts is, in my opinion, the oldest phenomenon in Chinese historical phonology. Most modern dialects do not distinguish the Grade I and Grade II finals in the Xian rhyme-group (ending in labial –m/p); some dialects, such as Hakka, Gan, and several Mandarin dialects, preserve their distinction in syllable in the Shan rhyme-group (ending in the dentals –n/t) with velar/guttural initials. These phenomena indicate that the merger started from the Xian rhyme-group ( -m/p0 and then spread to the Shan rhyme-group (-n/t). there are three stages which can be postulated for the merger of Grade I and Grade II finals in the Xian and the Shan rhyme-group: 

    Stage *ai *a *aa 

 1 *aiC *aaC 

 2 *aiC *aC *aaC 

 3 *aC *aaC 

Since the Grade I and Grade II finals ending in velars (-ng/k) fll into two different Song-Yuan rhyme-group – Geng and Dang , they have been treated a little differently from their ‘corresponding’ members in the Xian and Shan rhyme-group. The Min dialects show very clearly that the Grade II finals of the Geng rhyme-group are derived from aing/k, in contrast to the Grade I final of the Dang rhyme-group: aang/k. 




Author: Chang Kuang-yu
Genre: Article
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