Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Origin of mandarin language


  • Please log in to reply
83 replies to this topic

#1 xng

xng

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,421 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Languages spoken:English, Cantonese, Minnan, Mandarin, Singlish, Thai
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese Language
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics, Buddhism, East Asian anthropology

Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:18 AM

The 'r' initial consonant or ending most probably came from the manchurian language as the mongol rule were too short to exact a sweeping influence.

The fact that all southern chinese dialects don't have 'r' sound implies strongly that original middle chinese doesn't have 'r' sound.

I read that the manchurian language is similar to japanese so we can infer from the characteristics of the japanese language. (as they both belong to same language family)

The japanese language has 'r' sound and has no endings such as l,s,k,t,p. (as far as I know).

Mandarin today is a combination of middle chinese language simplified to suit the tongue of the manchurians by introducing the 'r' sound and eliminating the endings 'k,t,p'.

As the hakka migrated from the north during the later sung dynasty, it is presumed that mandarin acquired the 'r' sound from the 'yuan' dynasty onwards.

Since the manchurian language is almost extinct , it is difficult to research ...

That is my hypothesis anyway and is open to debate.

Edited by xng, 06 January 2006 - 11:52 AM.


#2 Kulong

Kulong

    Grand Marshal (Da Sima/Taiwei 大司马/太尉)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 1,487 posts

Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:34 AM

The 'r' initial consonant or ending most probably came from the manchurian language as the mongol rule were too short to exact a sweeping influence.

The fact that all southern chinese dialects don't have 'r' sound implies strongly that original middle chinese doesn't have 'r' sound.

I agree with the theory that it's probable the "original" middle Chinese (assuming there was ever a united spoken Chinese language) didn't have the "r" sound as southern Chinese dialects don't. However, to ASSUME the "r" sound came from Manchu language without any evidence is nothing more than a wild guess.

I read that the manchurian language is similar to japanese so we can infer from the characteristics of the japanese language. (as they both belong to same language family)

The japanese language has 'r' sound and has no endings such as l,s,k,t,p. (as far as I know).

Mandarin today is a combination of middle chinese language simplified to suit the tongue of the manchurians by introducing the 'r' sound and eliminating the endings 'k,t,p'.

Since the manchurian language is almost extinct , it is difficult to research ...

That is my hypothesis anyway and is open to debate.

First of all, the Japanese "r" sounds something like a mix between the English "R" and "L", kind of like the Korean ㄹ "r", which is sometimes romanized as "l". In any case, neither are the same as the Mandarin ㄦ "r" sound.

Also, "language families" are artificial as they are created by humans, and as we become more knowledgeable, sometimes languages switch families. Besides, most linguists see Japanese (and to a certain extend Korean) as "isolated languages" belonging to no established language families.

I also don't see the origin of Mandarin as the Manchus "simplifying" spoken Chinese for their tongue. Also, the endings of "k, t, p"... etc. weren't eliminated until the first half of this century. If you would note, the early 注音符號 zhuyin fuhao developed for Mandarin had a few symbols for those obsolete sounds.
生為中國人,死為中國魂。

"You can believe in any god, as long as it's our God."

#3 xng

xng

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,421 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Languages spoken:English, Cantonese, Minnan, Mandarin, Singlish, Thai
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese Language
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics, Buddhism, East Asian anthropology

Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:46 AM

I agree with the theory that it's probable the "original" middle Chinese (assuming there was ever a united spoken Chinese language) didn't have the "r" sound as southern Chinese dialects don't. However, to ASSUME the "r" sound came from Manchu language without any evidence is nothing more than a wild guess.


There are no single original middle chinese language as there was a thread on the 'evolution of chinese languages tree' a while back. Even during the qin dynasty, there were several chinese languages.

But the fact that there are so many southern chinese dialects and subdialects and none of them have 'r' initial or endings strongly imply that mandarin borrowed it from a northern foreign language due to proximity.

Edited by xng, 06 January 2006 - 11:48 AM.


#4 qrasy

qrasy

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,743 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Languages, Ethnicity, History, etc.
  • Languages spoken:Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, English, Cantonese
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese (Southeastern)
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Other Interests
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics

Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:48 AM

The r- initial of Mandarin is very different from Japanese or Malay. It's a retroflex z, or what you call "rolled z", voiced version of "sh". The -r ending is like in English (rolled soft sound).

Japanese-Altaic similarities do not make them one family, lack of traces of words mean the family should split. What I know of their r- is that it's similar to l-, with a flap. It's similar to Spanish r, far from the Mandarin r. Approximately the shortened version of Malay r-, if you pronounce it not "lazily".

About the ending -r, it's on the other thread. Both initial and ending -r originated from -initial Middle Chinese words. Seems quite far, but that is the correspondence. Why change into such kind of consonants? I don't know.

In Sino-Japanese, -k -t and -p made new syllables by adding -u or -i, and with middle p lost, resulting modern disyllabic Sino-Japanese with endings -ku,-ki,-tsu,-chi. (-tsu and -chi originally -tu and -ti)
As far as I know, Japanese did not have short-long vowel distinctions and any consonant endings before Chinese influence and medial losses.

As for the voiced obstruent consonants, in every Chinese except Wu, the old ones were lost, and new ones arose in Min Nan and Mandarin. And only in a small region the retroflex survives, so it's difficult to find retroflex-z. If there were any consonant like this in Middle Chinese, then now it would be Yang-sh in Mandarin, such as in 時.

As for the endings, actually before Yang-Ru and Yin-Ru were lost, there was a glottal stop ending (similar to -k) replacing all -t,-k,-p. You can still observe the glottal stop in Jianghuai and Overseas Mandarin, for example Chinese in Malaysia/Indonesia pronounce Mandarin 吃 with a k-like ending, especially the older generations.

Edited by qrasy, 06 January 2006 - 11:54 AM.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the liedeliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - JFK

One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

#5 Kulong

Kulong

    Grand Marshal (Da Sima/Taiwei 大司马/太尉)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 1,487 posts

Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:49 AM

There are no single original middle chinese language as there was a thread on the 'evolution of chinese languages tree' a while back. Even during the qin dynasty, there were several chinese languages.

But the fact that there are so many southern chinese dialects and subdialects and none of them have 'r' initial or endings strongly imply that mandarin borrowed it from a northern foreign language due to proximity.

Perhaps, but you were pretty specific about the origin of the "r" sound coming from the Manchu language. Now if there are some evidence about the Manchu language indeed possess the "r" sound, then you'd have a stronger case.
生為中國人,死為中國魂。

"You can believe in any god, as long as it's our God."

#6 xng

xng

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,421 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Languages spoken:English, Cantonese, Minnan, Mandarin, Singlish, Thai
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese Language
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics, Buddhism, East Asian anthropology

Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:56 AM

In Sino-Japanese, -k -t and -p made new syllables by adding -u or -i, and with middle p lost, resulting modern disyllabic Sino-Japanese with endings -ku,-ki,-tsu,-chi. (-tsu and -chi originally -tu and -ti)
As far as I know, Japanese did not have short-long vowel distinctions and any consonant endings before Chinese influence and medial losses.


Japanese adding u or i etc shows that their tongue cannot pronounce the 'k,t,p' endings of the chinese. And I suspect that the manchurians had the same difficulties and that is how mandarin was formed.

So 'suk' becomes 'su' etc.

#7 qrasy

qrasy

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,743 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Languages, Ethnicity, History, etc.
  • Languages spoken:Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, English, Cantonese
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese (Southeastern)
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Other Interests
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics

Posted 06 January 2006 - 12:02 PM

I already said, there should be a glottal stop replacing them before they were completely wiped out.
suk, sut, sup -> su?

If the Mandarin glottal stop from in older generations became soft, then with some fast speech it will be lost.

(the glottal stop in Shanghainese is a soft one, and I can hardly hear it)

First of all, the Japanese "r" sounds something like a mix between the English "R" and "L", kind of like the Korean ㄹ "r"

Actually it's not even similar to usual Modern English rolling "R". Greek or Indonesian "R" suit better for the definition "between R and L".

Edited by qrasy, 06 January 2006 - 12:08 PM.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the liedeliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - JFK

One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

#8 Kulong

Kulong

    Grand Marshal (Da Sima/Taiwei 大司马/太尉)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 1,487 posts

Posted 06 January 2006 - 06:31 PM

Actually it's not even similar to usual Modern English rolling "R". Greek or Indonesian "R" suit better for the definition "between R and L".

I didn't say it's similar to English "R", it's a mix between "R" and "L".
生為中國人,死為中國魂。

"You can believe in any god, as long as it's our God."

#9 xng

xng

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,421 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Languages spoken:English, Cantonese, Minnan, Mandarin, Singlish, Thai
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese Language
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics, Buddhism, East Asian anthropology

Posted 15 January 2006 - 11:56 PM

Quote "There is no clear dividing line where Middle Chinese ends and Mandarin begins; however, the Zhongyuan Yinyun (中原音韵), a rhyme book from the Yuan Dynasty, is widely regarded as an important milestone in the history of Mandarin. In this rhyme book we see many characteristic features of Mandarin, such as the reduction and disappearance of final stop consonants "

from http://en.wikipedia....n_(linguistics)

So the p,k,t endings disappeared roughly around the yuan dynasty and the 'r' consonant appeared during the qing dynasty ...

Edited by xng, 16 January 2006 - 12:41 AM.


#10 qrasy

qrasy

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,743 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Languages, Ethnicity, History, etc.
  • Languages spoken:Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, English, Cantonese
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese (Southeastern)
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Other Interests
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics

Posted 16 January 2006 - 04:58 AM

To me another point of Mandarin besides the merger of p,t,k (yes, into glottal stop before really lost) is the disappearance of Yang Shang and Yang Qu.
Well, actually I can't even be sure about when the "r" appeared (can't be judged just from rhymes).

Edited by qrasy, 16 January 2006 - 05:00 AM.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the liedeliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - JFK

One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

#11 naruwan

naruwan

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 2,156 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese Language
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Taiwanese History and Culture, Taiwanese Holo language, Chinese Pseudo history

Posted 19 January 2006 - 10:33 PM

Kulong, regarding the origin of 支那, there are already threads out there that address this topic specifically.

Link to the thread is

http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=4841

The first people to use the Hanji 支那 to refer to the geographical region of Central Planes and nations established upon it were Han people.

In other threads, this point is demonstrated with sources and proofs.

If you have never read the thread, I suggest you do before futher twisting other people's words.

"Dynasty names OR 支那" doesn't mean 支那 is a dynasty name. You, yes, you are the only one saying that.

支那 is still widely used among Han people today. Only those who bought the propagenda and knows nothing about the word 支那 would find it offensive.
mudanin kata mudanin kata. kata siki-a kata siki-a. muhaiv ludun muhaiv ludun. kanta sipal tas-tas kanta sipal tas-tas. kanta sipal tunuh kanta sipal tunuh. sikavilun vini daingaz sikavilun vini daingaz.

Former hansioux

#12 Kulong

Kulong

    Grand Marshal (Da Sima/Taiwei 大司马/太尉)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 1,487 posts

Posted 20 January 2006 - 02:01 AM

Kulong, regarding the origin of 支那, there are already threads out there that address this topic specifically.

Link to the thread is

http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=4841

The first people to use the Hanji 支那 to refer to the geographical region of Central Planes and nations established upon it were Han people.

In other threads, this point is demonstrated with sources and proofs.

If you have never read the thread, I suggest you do before futher twisting other people's words.

"Dynasty names OR 支那" doesn't mean 支那 is a dynasty name. You, yes, you are the only one saying that.

支那 is still widely used among Han people today. Only those who bought the propagenda and knows nothing about the word 支那 would find it offensive.

First of all, you posted this in the wrong thread... :rolleyes:

I'm not going to go through 7 pages to find evidence to back up your claim that 支那 was first used by Han. Also, if you had read the other thread carefully, I DID realize that hira meant dynasty name OR 支那...

As for 支那 is still used widely by Han people today, that is just plain silly. Of course, feel free to show us some evidence to proof that if you wish. -_-

BTW, what is "Hanji", it's not quite Hanzi nor is it quite Kanji... :rolleyes:

Edited by Kulong, 20 January 2006 - 02:02 AM.

生為中國人,死為中國魂。

"You can believe in any god, as long as it's our God."

#13 qrasy

qrasy

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 4,743 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Languages, Ethnicity, History, etc.
  • Languages spoken:Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, English, Cantonese
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese (Southeastern)
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Other Interests
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Linguistics

Posted 20 January 2006 - 04:51 AM

Hanji is the Middle Chinese form of 漢字 :rolleyes: (neither Hanja, Hanzi nor Kanji :P)
支那 is, like 震旦, a translation back from India.
支那 is now widely used but not to refer to China directly, only to refer to "Indochina", and in that case "印度支那". Some Malaysian/Indonesian may use "Cina" but never wrote them "支那". :haha:

<moderators please split these 3 posts>

Edited by qrasy, 20 January 2006 - 05:00 AM.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the liedeliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - JFK

One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

#14 naruwan

naruwan

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 2,156 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese Language
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Taiwanese History and Culture, Taiwanese Holo language, Chinese Pseudo history

Posted 20 January 2006 - 01:33 PM

Actually, regarding the R sound.

Since it always is at the end, (not counting the R like the Sun Ri, because that's more of a ZR sound) I started thinking about other languages.

And I think Corean has a similar feature.

It isn't used in the same way, like ending a noun, but they have the L ending sound. Which is unique in other East Asian Languages.

Take this sentense for example:

사람들은 죽을걸 알면서도 살잖아 (People know clearly that they'll die, yet they live on anyway.)

들을걸알살 all end in L.

Could the R derive from similar feature in Manchurian?

Edited by naruwan, 20 January 2006 - 01:36 PM.

mudanin kata mudanin kata. kata siki-a kata siki-a. muhaiv ludun muhaiv ludun. kanta sipal tas-tas kanta sipal tas-tas. kanta sipal tunuh kanta sipal tunuh. sikavilun vini daingaz sikavilun vini daingaz.

Former hansioux

#15 tongyan

tongyan

    Executive State Secretary (Shangshu Puye 尚书仆射)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 745 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:University of California, Berkeley
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History

Posted 20 January 2006 - 01:53 PM

i remember awhile back someone mentioned that manchurian doesn't have 'r' sounds or something. i'm no expert in manchurian but just looking at certain manchurian placenames like harbin and qiqihar, aren't these evidence of the 'r' sound existing in manchurian or is it some improper romanization?




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users