Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun
system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the
Qieyun, a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by
several revised and expanded editions. The Swedish linguist Bernard
Karlgren believed that the dictionaries recorded a speech standard of
Chang'an of the Sui and Tang dynasties. However, based on
the more recently recovered preface of the Qieyun, most scholars now
believe that it records a compromise between northern and southern
reading and poetic traditions from the late Northern and Southern
dynasties period. This composite system contains important information
for the reconstruction of the preceding system of Old Chinese
phonology (1st millennium BC).
The fanqie method used to indicate pronunciation in these
dictionaries, though an improvement on earlier methods, proved awkward
in practice. The mid-12th-century
Yunjing and other rime tables
incorporate a more sophisticated and convenient analysis of the Qieyun
phonology. The rime tables attest to a number of sound changes that
had occurred over the centuries following the publication of the
Qieyun. Linguists sometimes refer to the system of the
Qieyun as Early
Middle Chinese and the variant revealed by the rime tables as Late
The dictionaries and tables describe pronunciations in relative terms,
but do not give their actual sounds. Karlgren was the first to attempt
a reconstruction of the sounds of Middle Chinese, comparing its
categories with modern varieties of Chinese and the Sino-Xenic
pronunciations used in the reading traditions of neighbouring
countries. Several other scholars have produced their own
reconstructions using similar methods.
Qieyun system is often used as a framework for the study and
description of various modern varieties of Chinese. Branches of the
Chinese family such as Mandarin (including Standard Chinese, based on
the speech of Beijing), Yue (including Cantonese) and Wu (including
Shanghainese) can be largely treated as divergent developments from
it. The study of
Middle Chinese also provides for a better
understanding and analysis of
Classical Chinese poetry, such as the
study of Tang poetry.
1.1 Rime dictionaries
1.2 Rime tables
1.3 Modern dialects and Sino-Xenic pronunciations
1.4 Transcription evidence
3.4 Changes from Old to Modern Chinese
6.2 Works cited
7 Further reading
8 External links
The reconstruction of
Middle Chinese phonology is largely dependent
upon detailed descriptions in a few original sources. The most
important of these is the
Qieyun rime dictionary (601 AD) and its
Qieyun is often used together with interpretations in
Song dynasty rime tables such as the Yunjing, Qiyinlue, and the later
Qieyun zhizhangtu and Sisheng dengzi. The documentary sources are
supplemented by comparison with modern Chinese varieties,
pronunciation of Chinese words borrowed by other languages
(particularly Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese), transcription into
Chinese characters of foreign names, transcription of Chinese names in
alphabetic scripts (such as Brahmi, Tibetan and Uyghur), and evidence
regarding rhyme and tone patterns from classical Chinese poetry.
Main article: Rime dictionary
The start of the first rhyme class of the
Guangyun (東 dōng "east")
Chinese scholars of the
Northern and Southern dynasties
Northern and Southern dynasties period were
concerned with the correct recitation of the classics. Various schools
produced dictionaries to codify reading pronunciations and the
associated rhyme conventions of regulated verse.[a] The
AD) was an attempt to merge the distinctions in six earlier
dictionaries, which were eclipsed by its success and are no longer
extant. It was accepted as the standard reading pronunciation during
the Tang dynasty, and went through several revisions and expansions
over the following centuries.
Qieyun is thus the oldest surviving rime dictionary and the main
source for the pronunciation of characters in Early Middle Chinese
(EMC). At the time of Bernhard Karlgren's seminal work on Middle
Chinese in the early 20th century, only fragments of the
known, and scholars relied on the
Guangyun (1008), a much expanded
edition from the Song dynasty. However, significant sections of a
version of the
Qieyun itself were subsequently discovered in the caves
of Dunhuang, and a complete copy of Wang Renxu's Kanmiu buque qieyun
(706) from the Palace Library was found in 1947.
The rime dictionaries organize
Chinese characters by their
pronunciation, according to a hierarchy of tone, rhyme and homophony.
Characters with identical pronunciations are grouped into homophone
classes, whose pronunciation is described using two fanqie characters,
the first of which has the initial sound of the characters in the
homophone class and second of which has the same sound as the rest of
the syllable (the final). The use of fanqie was an important
innovation of the
Qieyun and allowed the pronunciation of all
characters to be described exactly; earlier dictionaries simply
described the pronunciation of unfamiliar characters in terms of the
most similar-sounding familiar character.
The fanqie system uses multiple equivalent characters to represent
each particular initial, and likewise for finals. The categories of
initials and finals actually represented were first identified by the
Cantonese scholar Chen Li in a careful analysis published in his
Qièyùn kǎo (1842). Chen's method was to equate two fanqie initials
(or finals) whenever one was used in the fanqie spelling of the
pronunciation of the other, and to follow chains of such equivalences
to identify groups of spellers for each initial or final. For
example, the pronunciation of the character 東 was given using the
fanqie spelling 德紅, the pronunciation of 德 was given as 多特,
and the pronunciation of 多 was given as 德河, from which we can
conclude that the words 東, 德 and 多 all had the same initial
Qieyun classified homonyms under 193 rhyme classes, each of which
is placed within one of the four tones. A single rhyme class may
contain multiple finals, generally differing only in the medial
(especially when it is /w/) or in so-called chongniu doublets.
Main article: rime table
The first table of the Yunjing, covering the
Guangyun rhyme classes
東 dōng, 董 dǒng, 送 sòng and 屋 wū (-k in Middle Chinese)
Yunjing (c. 1150 AD) is the oldest of the so-called rime tables,
which provide a more detailed phonological analysis of the system
contained in the Qieyun. The
Yunjing was created centuries after the
Qieyun, and the authors of the
Yunjing were attempting to interpret a
phonological system that differed in significant ways from that of
their own Late
Middle Chinese (LMC) dialect. They were aware of this,
and attempted to reconstruct
Qieyun phonology as well as possible
through a close analysis of regularities in the system and
co-occurrence relationships between the initials and finals indicated
by the fanqie characters. However, the analysis inevitably shows some
influence from LMC, which needs to be taken into account when
interpreting difficult aspects of the system.
Yunjing is organized into 43 tables, each covering several Qieyun
rhyme classes, and classified as:
One of 16 broad rhyme classes (shè), each described as either "inner"
or "outer". The meaning of this is debated but it has been suggested
that it refers to the height of the main vowel, with "outer" finals
having an open vowel (/ɑ/ or /a,æ/) and "inner" finals having a mid
or close vowel.
"open mouth" or "closed mouth", indicating whether lip rounding is
present. "Closed" finals either have a rounded vowel (e.g. /u/) or
Each table has 23 columns, one for each initial consonant. Although
Yunjing distinguishes 36 initials, they are placed in 23 columns
by combining palatals, retroflexes, and dentals under the same column.
This does not lead to cases where two homophone classes are conflated,
as the grades (rows) are arranged so that all would-be minimal pairs
distinguished only by the retroflex vs. palatal vs. alveolar character
of the initial end up in different rows.
Each initial is further classified as follows:
Place of articulation: labials, alveolars, velars, affricates and
sibilants, and laryngeals
Phonation: voiceless, voiceless aspirated, voiced, nasal or liquid
Each table also has 16 rows, with a group of 4 rows for each of the 4
tones of the traditional system in which finals ending in /p/, /t/ or
/k/ are considered to be entering tone variants of finals ending in
/m/, /n/ or /ŋ/ rather than separate finals in their own right. The
significance of the 4 rows within each tone is difficult to interpret,
and is strongly debated. These rows are usually denoted I, II, III and
IV, and are thought to relate to differences in palatalization or
retroflexion of the syllable's initial or medial, or differences in
the quality of similar main vowels (e.g. /ɑ/, /a/, /ɛ/). Other
scholars view them not as phonetic categories but formal devices
exploiting distributional patterns in the
Qieyun to achieve a compact
Each square in a table contains a character corresponding to a
particular homophone class in the Qieyun, if any such character
exists. From this arrangement, each homophone class can be placed in
the above categories.
Modern dialects and Sino-Xenic pronunciations
The rime dictionaries and rime tables identify categories of phonetic
distinctions, but do not indicate the actual pronunciations of these
categories. The varied pronunciations of words in modern varieties of
Chinese can help, but most modern varieties descend from a Late Middle
Chinese koine and cannot very easily be used to determine the
pronunciation of Early Middle Chinese. During the Early Middle Chinese
period, large amounts of Chinese vocabulary were systematically
borrowed by Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese (collectively known as
Sino-Xenic vocabularies), but many distinctions were inevitably lost
in mapping Chinese phonology onto foreign phonological systems.
For example, the following table shows the pronunciation of the
numerals in three modern Chinese varieties, as well as borrowed forms
in Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese:
Modern Chinese varieties
jū < jiɸu
Although the evidence from Chinese transcriptions of foreign words is
much more limited, and is similarly obscured by the mapping of foreign
pronunciations onto Chinese phonology, it serves as direct evidence of
a sort that is lacking in all the other types of data, since the
pronunciation of the foreign languages borrowed from—especially
Sanskrit and Gāndhārī—is known in great detail. For example,
the nasal initials /m/, /n/ and /ŋ/ were used to transcribe Sanskrit
nasals in the early Tang, but later they were used for Sanskrit
unaspirated voiced initials, suggesting that they had become
prenasalized stops in some northwestern Chinese dialects.
The rime dictionaries and rime tables yield phonological categories,
but with little hint of what sounds they represent. At the end of
the 19th century, European students of Chinese sought to solve this
problem by applying the methods of historical linguistics that had
been used in reconstructing Proto-Indo-European. Volpicelli (1896) and
Schaank (1897) compared the rime tables at the front of the Kangxi
dictionary with modern pronunciations in several varieties, but had
little knowledge of linguistics.
Bernhard Karlgren, trained in transcription of Swedish dialects,
carried out the first systematic survey of modern varieties of
Chinese. He used the oldest known rime tables as descriptions of the
sounds of the rime dictionaries, and also studied the Guangyun, at
that time the oldest known rime dictionary. Unaware of Chen Li's
study, he repeated the analysis of the fanqie required to identify the
initials and finals of the dictionary. He believed that the resulting
categories reflected the speech standard of the capital
the Sui and Tang dynasties. He interpreted the many distinctions as a
narrow transcription of the precise sounds of this language, which he
sought to reconstruct by treating the Sino-Xenic and modern dialect
pronunciations as reflexes of the
Qieyun categories. A small number of
Qieyun categories were not distinguished in any of the surviving
pronunciations, and Karlgren assigned them identical
Karlgren's transcription involved a large number of consonants and
vowels, many of them very unevenly distributed. Accepting Karlgren's
reconstruction as a description of medieval speech,
Chao Yuen Ren
Chao Yuen Ren and
Samuel E. Martin analysed its contrasts to extract a phonemic
Hugh M. Stimson used a simplified version of Martin's
system as an approximate indication of the pronunciation of Tang
poetry. Karlgren himself viewed phonemic analysis as a detrimental
Older versions of the rime dictionaries and rime tables came to light
over the first half of the 20th century, and were used by such
linguists as Wang Li,
Dong Tonghe and Li Rong in their own
Edwin Pulleyblank argued that the systems of the
Qieyun and the rime tables should be reconstructed as two separate
(but related) systems, which he called Early and Late Middle Chinese,
respectively. He further argued that his Late
Middle Chinese reflected
the standard language of the late Tang dynasty.
The preface of the
Qieyun recovered in 1947 indicates that it records
a compromise between northern and southern reading and poetic
traditions from the late
Northern and Southern dynasties
Northern and Southern dynasties period (a
diasystem). Most linguists now believe that no single dialect
contained all the distinctions recorded, but that each distinction did
occur somewhere. Several scholars have compared the
to cross-dialectal descriptions of English pronunciations, such as
John C. Wells's lexical sets, or the notation used in some
dictionaries. Thus for example the words "trap", "bath", "palm",
"lot", "cloth" and "thought" contain four different vowels in Received
Pronunciation and three in General American; both these pronunciations
(and many others) can be specified in terms of these six
Qieyun system is no longer viewed as describing a single
form of speech, linguists argue that this enhances its value in
reconstructing earlier forms of Chinese, just as a cross-dialectal
description of English pronunciations contains more information about
earlier forms of English than any single modern form. The emphasis
has shifted from precise sounds (phonetics) to the structure of the
phonological system. Thus Li Fang-Kuei, as a prelude to his
reconstruction of Old Chinese, produced a revision of Karlgren's
notation, adding new notations for the few categories not
distinguished by Karlgren, without assigning them pronunciations.
This notation is still widely used, but its symbols, based on Johan
August Lundell's Swedish Dialect Alphabet, differ from the familiar
International Phonetic Alphabet. To remedy this, William H. Baxter
produced his own notation for the
Qieyun and rime table categories for
use in his reconstruction of Old Chinese.
The approach to the reconstruction of
Middle Chinese followed by
Karlgren and his successors has been to use dialect and Sino-Xenic
data in a subsidiary role to fill in sound values for the categories
extracted from the rime dictionaries and tables, rather than a full
application of the comparative method. All reconstructions of
Middle Chinese since Karlgren have followed his approach of beginning
with the categories extracted from the rime dictionaries and tables,
and using dialect, Sino-Xenic and transcription data to fill in their
sound values. Jerry Norman and
Weldon South Coblin have criticized
this approach, arguing that viewing the dialect data through the rime
dictionaries and rime tables distorts the evidence. They argue for a
full application of the comparative method to the modern varieties,
supplemented by systematic use of transcription data.
Traditional Chinese syllable structure
The traditional analysis of the Chinese syllable, derived from the
fanqie method, is into an initial consonant, or "initial", (shēngmǔ
聲母) and a final (yùnmǔ 韻母). Modern linguists subdivide the
final into an optional "medial" glide (yùntóu 韻頭), a main vowel
or "nucleus" (yùnfù 韻腹) and an optional final consonant or
"coda" (yùnwěi 韻尾). Most reconstructions of Middle Chinese
include the glides /j/ and /w/, as well as a combination /jw/, but
many also include vocalic "glides" such as /i̯/ in a diphthong
/i̯e/. Final consonants /j/, /w/, /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /p/, /t/ and /k/
are widely accepted, sometimes with additional codas such as /wk/ or
/wŋ/. Rhyming syllables in the
Qieyun are assumed to have the
same nuclear vowel and coda, but often have different medials.
Middle Chinese reconstructions by different modern linguists vary.
These differences are minor and fairly uncontroversial in terms of
consonants; however, there is a more significant difference as to the
vowels. The most widely used transcriptions are Li Fang-Kuei's
modification of Karlgren's reconstruction and William Baxter's
The preface of the
Yunjing identifies a traditional set of 36
initials, each named with an exemplary character. An earlier version
comprising 30 initials is known from fragments among the Dunhuang
manuscripts. In contrast, identifying the initials of the Qieyun
required a painstaking analysis of fanqie relationships across the
whole dictionary, a task first undertaken by the
Chen Li in 1842 and refined by others since. This analysis revealed a
slightly different set of initials from the traditional set. Moreover,
most scholars believe that some distinctions among the 36 initials
were no longer current at the time of the rime tables, but were
retained under the influence of the earlier dictionaries.
Middle Chinese (EMC) had three types of stops: voiced,
voiceless, and voiceless aspirated. There were five series of coronal
obstruents, with a three-way distinction between dental (or alveolar),
retroflex and palatal among fricatives and affricates, and a two-way
dental/retroflex distinction among stop consonants. The following
table shows the initials of Early Middle Chinese, with their
traditional names and approximate values:
Middle Chinese initials
Stops and affricates
Old Chinese had a simpler system with no palatal or retroflex
consonants; the more complex system of EMC is thought to have arisen
from a combination of
Old Chinese obstruents with a following /r/
Bernhard Karlgren developed the first modern reconstruction of Middle
Chinese. The main differences between Karlgren and recent
reconstructions of the initials are:
The reversal of /ʑ/ and /dʑ/. Karlgren based his reconstruction on
Song dynasty rime tables. However, because of mergers between
these two sounds between Early and Late Middle Chinese, the Chinese
phonologists who created the rime tables could rely only on tradition
to tell what the respective values of these two consonants were;
evidently they were accidentally reversed at one stage.
Karlgren also assumed that the EMC retroflex stops were actually
palatal stops based on their tendency to co-occur with front vowels
and /j/, but this view is no longer held.
Karlgren assumed that voiced consonants were actually breathy voiced.
This is now assumed only for LMC, not EMC.
Other sources from around the same time as the
Qieyun reveal a
slightly different system, which is believed to reflect southern
pronunciation. In this system, the voiced fricatives /z/ and /ʐ/ are
not distinguished from the voiced affricates /dz/ and /ɖʐ/,
respectively, and the retroflex stops are not distinguished from the
Several changes occurred between the time of the
Qieyun and the rime
Palatal sibilants merged with retroflex sibilants.
/ʐ/ merged with /ɖʐ/ (hence reflecting four separate EMC phonemes).
The palatal nasal /ɲ/ also became retroflex, but turned into a new
phoneme /r/ rather than merging with any existing phoneme.
The palatal allophone of /ɣ/ (云) merged with /j/ (以) as a single
laryngeal initial /j/ (喻).
A new series of labiodentals emerged from labials in certain
environments, typically where both fronting and rounding occurred
(e.g. /j/ plus a back vowel in William Baxter's reconstruction, or a
front rounded vowel in Chan's reconstruction). However, modern Min
dialects retain bilabial initials in such words, while modern Hakka
dialects preserve them in some common words.
Voiced obstruents gained phonetic breathy voice (still reflected in
Wu Chinese varieties).
The following table shows a representative account of the initials of
Late Middle Chinese.
Middle Chinese initials
Stops and affricates
牀 (ʈ)ʂɦ ~(ɖ)ʐʱ[l]
The voicing distinction is retained in modern Wu dialects, but has
disappeared from other varieties. In Min dialects the retroflex
dentals have merged with the dentals, while elsewhere they have merged
with the retroflex sibilants. In the south these have also merged with
the dental sibilants, but the distinction is retained in most Mandarin
dialects. The palatal series of modern Mandarin dialects, resulting
from a merger of palatal allophones of dental sibilants and velars, is
a much more recent development, unconnected with the earlier palatal
Middle Chinese finals
The remainder of a syllable after the initial consonant is the final,
represented in the
Qieyun by several equivalent second fanqie
spellers. Each final is contained within a single rhyme class, but a
rhyme class may contain between one and four finals. Finals are
usually analysed as consisting of an optional medial, either a
semivowel, reduced vowel or some combination of these, a vowel, an
optional final consonant and a tone. Their reconstruction is much more
difficult than the initials due to the combination of multiple
phonemes into a single class.
The generally accepted final consonants are semivowels /j/ and /w/,
nasals /m/, /n/ and /ŋ/, and stops /p/, /t/ and /k/. Some authors
also propose codas /wŋ/ and /wk/, based on the separate treatment of
certain rhyme classes in the dictionaries. Finals with vocalic and
nasal codas may have one of three tones, named level, rising and
departing. Finals with stop codas are distributed in the same way as
corresponding nasal finals, and are described as their entering tone
There is much less agreement regarding the medials and vowels. It is
generally agreed that "closed" finals had a rounded glide /w/ or vowel
/u/, and that the vowels in "outer" finals were more open than those
in "inner" finals. The interpretation of the "divisions" is more
controversial. Three classes of
Qieyun finals occur exclusively in the
first, second or fourth rows of the rime tables, respectively, and
have thus been labelled finals of divisions I, II and IV. The
remaining finals are labelled division-III finals because they occur
in the third row, but they may also occur in the second or fourth rows
for some initials. Most linguists agree that division-III finals
contained a /j/ medial and that division-I finals had no such medial,
but further details vary between reconstructions. To account for the
many rhyme classes distinguished by the Qieyun, Karlgren proposed 16
vowels and 4 medials. Later scholars have proposed numerous
See also: Four tones (Middle Chinese)
The four tones of
Middle Chinese were first listed by
Shen Yue around
500 AD. The first three, the "even" or "level", "rising" and
"departing" tones, occur in open syllables and syllables ending with
nasal consonants. The remaining syllables, ending in stop consonants,
were described as the "entering" tone counterparts of syllables ending
with the corresponding nasals. The
Qieyun and its successors were
organized around these categories, with two volumes for the even tone,
which had the most words, and one volume each for the other tones.
Karlgren interpreted the names of the first three tones literally as
level, rising and falling pitch contours, respectively. However,
the pitch contours of modern reflexes of these categories vary so
widely that it is impossible to reconstruct Middle Chinese
contours. The oldest known description of the tones is found in a
Song dynasty quotation from the early 9th century Yuanhe Yunpu
元和韻譜 (no longer extant): "Level tone is sad and stable. Rising
tone is strident and rising. Departing tone is clear and distant.
Entering tone is straight and abrupt."[n] In 880, the Japanese monk
Annen described the even tone as "straight and low", the rising tone
as "straight and high", and the departing tone as "slightly drawn
The tone system of
Middle Chinese is strikingly similar to those of
its neighbours in the Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic
area—proto-Hmong–Mien, proto-Tai and early Vietnamese—none of
which are genetically related to Chinese. Moreover, the earliest
strata of loans display a regular correspondence between tonal
categories in the different languages. In 1954, André-Georges
Haudricourt showed that Vietnamese counterparts of the rising and
departing tones corresponded to final /ʔ/ and /s/, respectively, in
other (atonal) Austroasiatic languages. He thus argued that the
Austroasiatic proto-language had been atonal, and that the development
of tones in Vietnamese had been conditioned by these consonants, which
had subsequently disappeared, a process now known as tonogenesis.
Haudricourt further proposed that tone in the other languages,
including Middle Chinese, had a similar origin. Other scholars have
since uncovered transcriptional and other evidence for these
consonants in early forms of Chinese, and many linguists now believe
Old Chinese was atonal.
Around the end of the first millennium AD,
Middle Chinese and the
southeast Asian languages experienced a phonemic split of their tone
categories. Syllables with voiced initials tended to be pronounced
with a lower pitch, and by the late Tang Dynasty, each of the tones
had split into two registers conditioned by the initials, known as the
"upper" and "lower". When voicing was lost in all varieties except in
the Wu and
Old Xiang groups, this distinction became phonemic,
yielding up to eight tonal categories, with a six-way contrast in
unchecked syllables and a two-way contrast in checked syllables.
Cantonese maintains these tones and has developed an additional
distinction in checked syllables, resulting in a total of nine tonal
categories. However, most varieties have fewer tonal distinctions. For
example, in Mandarin dialects the lower rising category merged with
the departing category to form the modern falling tone, leaving a
system of four tones. Furthermore, final stop consonants disappeared
in most Mandarin dialects, and such syllables were reassigned to one
of the other four tones.
Changes from Old to Modern Chinese
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Main article: Historical Chinese phonology
Middle Chinese had a structure much like many modern varieties
(especially conservative ones such as Cantonese), with largely
monosyllabic words, little or no derivational morphology, three tones,
and a syllable structure consisting of initial consonant, glide, main
vowel and final consonant, with a large number of initial consonants
and a fairly small number of final consonants. Without counting the
glide, no clusters could occur at the beginning or end of a syllable.
Old Chinese, on the other hand, had a significantly different
structure. There were no tones, a smaller imbalance between possible
initial and final consonants, and many initial and final clusters.
There was a well-developed system of derivational and possibly
inflectional morphology, formed using consonants added onto the
beginning or end of a syllable. The system is similar to the system
Proto-Sino-Tibetan and still visible, for example,
in the written Tibetan language; it is also largely similar to the
system that occurs in the more conservative Mon–Khmer languages,
such as modern Khmer (Cambodian).
The main changes leading to the modern varieties have been a reduction
in the number of consonants and vowels and a corresponding increase in
the number of tones (typically through a pan-East-Asiatic tone split
that doubled the number of tones and eliminated the distinction
between voiced and unvoiced consonants). That has led to a gradual
decrease in the number of possible syllables.
Standard Mandarin has
only about 1,300 possible syllables, and many other varieties of
Chinese even fewer (for example, Modern
Shanghainese has been reported
to have only about 700 syllables). The result in Mandarin, for
example, has been the proliferation of the number of two-syllable
compound words, which have steadily replaced former monosyllabic
words; most words in
Standard Mandarin now have two syllables.
Further information: Chinese grammar
The extensive surviving body of
Middle Chinese (MC) literature of
various types provides much source material for the study of MC
grammar. Due to the lack of morphological development, grammatical
analysis of MC tends to focus on the nature and meanings of the
individual words themselves and the syntactic rules by which their
arrangement together in sentences communicates meaning.
^ Karlgren used the French spelling "rime" in his English-language
writing, and this practice has been followed by several other
Middle Chinese forms are given in Baxter's transcription, in which
-X and -H denote the rising and departing tones respectively.
^ It is not clear whether these had an alveolar or dental
articulation. They are mostly alveolar in modern Chinese
^ Karlgren reconstructed these as palatal stops, but most scholars now
believe they were retroflex stops.
^ The ʐ initial occurs in only two words 俟 and 漦 in the Qieyun,
and is merged with ɖʐ in the Guangyun. It is omitted in many
reconstructions, and has no standard Chinese name.
^ The retroflex and palatal sibilants were treated as a single series
in the rime tables. Chen Li was the first to realize (in 1842) that
they were distinguished in the Qieyun.
^ a b The initials 禪 and 船 are reversed from their positions in
the rime tables, which are believed to have confused them.
^ a b In the rime tables, the palatal allophone of ɣ (云) is
combined with j (以) as a single laryngeal initial 喻. However in
Qieyun system j patterns with the palatals.
^ The point of articulation of the fricatives is not clear, and varies
between the modern varieties.
^ This initial was probably indistinguishable from 非 at the LMC
stage, but was retained to record its origin from a different Qieyun
initial. A distinction between [f] and [fʰ] would be unusual, but
the two initials might have been distinguished at an earlier phase as
affricates [pf] and [pfʰ].
^ An unusual initial; shows up today as either [w], [v] (or [ʋ]) or
^ This initial was not included in the lists of 30 initials in the
Dunhuang fragments, and was probably not phonemically distinct from
禪 ʂɦ by that time.
^ Originally a palatal nasal; generally shows up today as [ʐ] (or
[ɻ]), [ʑ], [j], [z], or [ɲ].
translated in Ting (1996, p. 152)
^ The word translated "straight" (直 zhí) could mean level or rising
with a constant slope.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 24–41.
^ Coblin (2003), p. 379.
^ Branner (2006a), p. 2.
^ Norman (1988), p. 25.
^ a b Norman (1988), pp. 24–25.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 33–35.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), pp. 142–143.
^ Baxter & Sagart (2014), p. 10.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. 136.
^ Norman (1988), p. 27.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), pp. 78, 142–143.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 29–30.
^ a b Norman (1988), pp. 31–32.
^ Baxter (1992), p. 43.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 30–31.
^ Branner (2006a), pp. 15, 32–34.
^ Norman (1988), p. 28.
^ a b Norman (1988), p. 34–37.
^ Miller (1967), p. 336.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. 147.
^ Malmqvist (2010), p. 300.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. 163.
^ a b Stimson (1976), p. 1.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 32, 34.
^ Ramsey (1987), pp. 126–131.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 34–39.
^ a b Norman (1988), p. 39.
^ Ramsey (1987), p. 132.
^ Pulleyblank (1970), p. 204.
^ Pulleyblank (1971).
^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. xiv.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. 134.
^ a b Baxter (1992), p. 37.
^ Chan (2004), pp. 144–146.
^ Li (1974–1975), p. 224.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 27–32.
^ Norman & Coblin (1995).
^ Norman (1988), pp. 27–28.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 34, 814.
^ Branner (2006b), pp. 266–269.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 43, 45–59.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 45–59.
^ Baxter (1992), p. 49.
^ Baxter (1992), p. 50.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 56–57, 206.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 54–55.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 52–54.
^ a b Baxter (1992), pp. 55–56, 59.
^ Baxter (1992), p. 58.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 177–179.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. 144.
^ Baxter (1992), p. 53.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 46–48.
^ Pulleyblank (1991), p. 10.
^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. 69.
^ Baxter (1992), p. 48.
^ Pulleyblank (1970), pp. 222–223.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 45–46, 49–55.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 36–38.
^ Baxter (1992), pp. 61–63.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 31–32, 37–39.
^ Baxter (1992), p. 303.
^ a b Norman (1988), p. 52.
^ Ramsey (1987), p. 118.
^ Norman (1988), p. 53.
^ Mei (1970), pp. 91, 93.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 54–55.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 54–57.
^ Norman (1988), pp. 52–54.
^ Stimson (1976), p. 9.
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