Re: CJKV ideographic, - Cantonese

From: Richard Cook (rscook@socrates.Berkeley.EDU)
Date: Tue Feb 27 2001 - 22:15:36 EST

"akerbeltz.alba" wrote:
> Not kvite, the Cantonese for Kanji is "Hn Jih" - although the term is
> rather uncommon, sounding rather outlandish to Cantonese ears. "Jung Mhn
> Jih" [U+4E2D] [U+6587] [U+5B57] is a lot more common.
> Cantonese, highly conservative in it's sound system generally, has been more
> innovative than Mandarin in one respect, that is the loss of initial k in
> certain words cf. Mand. k 'guest' Cant. hahk, Mand. kou 'mouth' Cant. hu
> etc.

Quite right. But there was never a velar stop in this word in any
dialect of Chinese. In reconstructions of Middle Chinese the initial is
actually more like [x] (velar fricative) or by some even further back
[X] (uvular fricative). I think the Japanese phonologization "k-" of
"kanji" probably reflects a Medieval Chinese velar fricative ... not a
velar stop.

Modern Beijing and Xiang dialects (northern) and some southern dialects
still bear traces of this ... not [h] (glottal fricative) here ... but
something more front.

> And for the core English vocab you'd have to add "Cantonese ideographs",
> because there's quite a bunch of ideographs that have been encoded which are
> 'strictly Cantonese' such as 5497 [past tense marker], 54CB [plural pronoun
> marker] etc

Quite right again. There's no end to local variation in the script ...
and so no end of names for local varieties. In fact, one's typology
should clearly distinguish such things ...

I was wondering later what the Mandarin term for local dialect
characters is ... I think the term [U+767d][U+5b57] is sometimes used ...

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