By W. South Coblin
Phags-pa chinese language is the earliest type of the chinese to be written in a systematically devised alphabetic script. it's named after its author, an excellent thirteenth-century Tibetan scholar-monk who additionally served as political adviser to Kublai Khan. 'Phags-pa's invention of an alphabet for the Mongolian language is still an awfully vital accomplishment, either conceptually and virtually. With it he accomplished not anything lower than the production of a unified script for all the a variety of peoples within the Mongolian empire, together with the principal Asian Turks and Sinitic-speaking Chinese.
'Phags-pa is of vast value for the examine of premodern chinese language phonology. although, the script is hard to learn and interpret, and secondary fabrics on it are scattered and never simply bought. the current ebook is meant as a pragmatic creation to 'Phags-pa chinese language experiences and a consultant for studying and studying the script. It involves elements. the 1st half is an introductory part comprising 4 chapters. this is often via a word list of 'Phags-pa chinese language varieties and their corresponding chinese language characters, including pinyin and stroke order indexes to these characters.The first introductory bankruptcy outlines the discovery of the 'Phags-pa writing process, summarizes the most important sorts of fabric preserved in it, and describes the old and linguistic contexts during which this invention happened. Following chapters element the historical past of 'Phags-pa reports, the alphabet and its interpretation, and the salient beneficial properties of the underlying sound approach represented by way of the script, evaluating it with these of assorted later different types of chinese language which have been recorded in alphabetic assets.
A guide of 'Phags-pa Chinese should be of detailed curiosity to chinese language ancient phonologists and students thinking about the heritage and tradition of China and primary Asia through the Yuan interval (A.D. 1279–1368).
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Extra info for A handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese
Cheng Tsai Fa wrote two monographs on 'Phags-pa studies, Cheng (1965) and (1985). Cheng (1965) dealt mainly with textual questions, in particular those concerning the relationship between the MGZY and the Song-time rime books. Of special interest in this work is a reconstructed supplement for the putative contents of the two missing final pages of the British MGZY manuscript (Cheng 1965: 102-103). This reconstruction is effected in the following way. The probable number and identity of the missing entry lines is determined by comparison with the corpus of parallel material in the GiijTn yimhu 1 jiiyao, and the characters which belong to each lost group are identified.
A 437. ~ 0 qu on qu ~ m The second syllable type, which comprises over 99% of the syllables in the system, consists at the minimum of an initial consonant or semivowel, which serves as the "anchor" of the syllable. In the manner of Indic alphabets, if no other vocalic information is added, the initial consonant or semivowel embodies an inherent vowel a. For example, the letter ~ th-, when written alone, will yield: S2. ~ tha ru ~ The inherent a is overridden by the addition of a vowel sign, which is written below the anchoring consonant.
In this system, we see that the zhuo series was still preserved in at least one variety of standard Chinese pronunciation at a time later than the creation of the 'Phags-pa script. There is therefore nothing implausible about finding it in another fonn of standard pronunciation from two centuries earlier. A different type of objection to the phonetic reality of a 'Phags-pa zhuo class has m 38 The 'Phags-pa Alphabet been raised by Cheng (1985: 50). He cites an interesting set of examples from the 'Phags-pa inscriptions where, when faced with the practical task of producing Chinese texts in the 'Phags-pa script, the writers failed to maintain the zhuo distinction consistently.
A handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese by W. South Coblin