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May 12, 2009

Regular correspondence in Holo Taiwanese & Mandarin

As my flurry of posts today indicates, my nearly week-long absence from the blog should not indicate I am fading into irrelevance! But there are a few more Taiwanese-language related links to share with you today.

One issue which should be obvious to most students of Taiwanese and Mandarin is the regular correspondence between those two languages, which can be used to guess the pronunciation of any one of a pair of cognates. But the casual student of this topic will have found it difficult to put his or her finger on some of the finer details of that regular correspondence.

I made a somewhat flawed post in the past on some of the tonal correspondences between the languages, but I have run across some much richer information lately.

First, take a look at the Master's Thesis (PDF) written by Luo Jia-peng (駱嘉鵬), who put considerable time into studying the rhyme tables of the Kuang-yun 《廣韻》, an early rime dictionary from about 1000 A.D. that is highly useful for creating historical reconstructions of pronunciation and studying divergence in modern Sinitic languages.

Phonetic reconstruction of Chinese initials is the main topic of this thesis. Luo, who is really only interested in modern Mandarin and Holo Taiwanese pronunciations and not so much on what the historically correct reconstructions might be, opts to print a table of Huang Jigang's (黃季剛) reconstruction of Kuang-yun initials. But then he gets to the best part, a table which clearly lines up the regular correspondence between Mandarin and Taiwanese with the Kuang-yun rimes (see page 4-5)! There's also a discussion of tones (see pages 6-7)!

And, for the super nerd, you can view this 8 MB excel file where the scholarly Luo has provided a full list of Mandarin and Taiwanese readings for what I thin kis all the characters in the Kuang-yun. Talk about a "wow." Sort that baby by Mandarin or Taiwanese pronounciation and scroll to your heart's content!


Taffy said...

Hello, super-nerd here. Great find! I will be spending some time looking through that baby...

阿牛 said...

I can go to my grave happy knowing that at least SOMEONE enjoyed this post.