etymologically correct pronunciation

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
rathpy

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby rathpy » Fri Jan 17, 2003 12:09 pm

> ... the problem of "etymological" or "historical" backings
> for readings is that they tend to favor the literary (文) vs. the
> colloquial (白) layer. One can derive "haak1" just as well.
>
> Two other lit/colloq pairs are -ang/-aang and -ing/-eng, e.g., ming/meng 名,
> sing/seng 聲 for the latter.

Okay, Is that what that is--I see/hear these mixed up a lot.

Would you say that the colloquial versions are just natural results of relaxing the mouth when pronouncing the literary vowels casually?

> ... Most of the recording you'll be doing are for
> the changed tones to #1 or #2. And worth it too, since one thing can happen
> is that if one (including native speakers) only hears a word in its changed
> tone version (as part of a compound), then the base tone is never learned
> (and the changed tone is not always an appropriate reading in other
> contexts or compounds). e.g., for 魚 'fish' in isolation, I'd say yu2,
> but it is really yu4-2, as discernable in gam1yu4gong1 'goldfish bowl'.

I’m glad I’m learning a bit about tone changes (especially from Sidney Lau and Matthews/Yip). They’ve helped me work out why there are different printed versions. And I can listen to a learning tape where the speaker slips in a tone change that doesn’t match the book without wondering why it doesn’t match.

Regards,
rathpy

Michael Thigpen

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby Michael Thigpen » Sun Apr 06, 2003 8:10 am

Rathpy,

One thing you should keep in mind is the "primacy of the oral language", to borrow a phrase. Cantonese did not develop from a variation on the list of characters, the written characters were developed and have evolved to match the changes in the oral language.

Cantonese has a very long history and has changed significantly over the years. There are very complex reasons behind the different tones and how they react in combination with other characters. Some characters represent related, but separate ideas that may once have been separate morphemes differentiated by tone.

Not only do some characters have multiple tones, some have multiple pronunciations. Some are simple cases of assimilation and other phonetic changes (p/b, k/g, t/d, n/m), but others show the fusion of multiple ideas into a single character and fusing of multiple characters with the same meaning.

keui (an area) au (as a surname)
--daan-- (single) sihn (as a surname)
che (vehicle) geui (chess piece)

So in some cases there will be more than one pronunciation (sound and tone) for a character. There really is no way to get around it.

[%sig%]

rathpy

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby rathpy » Mon Apr 07, 2003 3:41 am

Michael,

I’ve since been learning about homonymic characters in my written Chinese class. It seems that there are quite a few of them in Chinese to make life interesting for the student. (Not too many real ones in English, I think… wind, bow, alternate…?).
eg.:
參 cam1 / caam1 / sam1 / saam1:
-- 參加 caam1 gaa1 - to participate in
-- 入參 jap6 sam1 - ginseng
種 zung2 / zung3:
-- 種類 zung2 leoi6 - kind; variety
-- 種田 zung3 tin4 - till the land; farm
將 zoeng1 / zoeng3:
-- 將來 zoeng1 loi4 - the future; the days to come
-- 大將 zoeng3 daai6 - senior high-ranking officer
重 cung5 / jung6 / cung4:
-- 重量 cung5 loeng6 - weight
-- 重要 jung6 jiu3 - important
-- 重複 cung4 fuk1 - to repeat, duplicate

The different pronunciations in these examples don’t seem to have much to do with the standard types of tone changes in Cantonese (eg. to indicated a compound, distinguish a noun/verb, denote diminution, etc.) . So I guess that characters like these (with loaded meanings according to different pronunciations) are the type that you talk about. I accept what you say that for such characters there is no single pronunciation that is more correct than others. Thank you.

Regards,
rathpy

rathpy

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby rathpy » Mon Apr 07, 2003 3:47 am

Thomas Chan wrote:

>>Or keui5 � 'he/she/it', which is just keui4 渠 (but absorbing the influence
of the tone 5 of the other pronouns ngo5 我 'I' and nei5 你 'you').<<

Sorry, could I trouble you about this... Are you saying that the third person pronoun used to be pronounced keui4, and used character 渠?

Regards,
rathpy

Kobo-Daishi

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby Kobo-Daishi » Mon Apr 07, 2003 4:29 am

Dear Rathpy,

I think you mean 人參 [Mand: ren2 shen1, Cant: yan4 chaam1] is ginseng and not 入參. In Jyutping it’s “jan4 caam1”.

I think the 人 character is used because the root of the ginseng plant is supposed to resemble the shape of humans.

Recently I was reading one the Harry Potter novels, “Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets” and I remember they had mandrake plants and they were shaped like humans too so I wondered about the etymology of the word.

Well this is what I found at the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) web site for “mandrake”:

1. a. A poisonous and narcotic Mediterranean plant, Mandragora officinarum (family Solanaceae), with a very short stem and solitary purple or whitish flowers.
It was formerly credited with magical and medicinal properties esp. because of the supposedly human shape of its forked fleshy root, being used to promote conception, and was reputed to shriek when pulled from the ground and to cause the death of whoever uprooted it (a dog being therefore traditionally employed for the purpose).

Small world, huh.

Rowling sure knows her stuff.

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

Michael Thigpen

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby Michael Thigpen » Mon Apr 07, 2003 4:34 am

Rathpy,

I personally find changes in sound and tone very interesting. Hopefully I'm not going to far with the information, but I thought I'd share a little background on some of the more common sound changes in Cantonese.

A note on the different examples you gave--

Many of the changes you are looking at are very similar to tone change rules, except these are sound change rules that are applied over a long period of time. Look at your first example:

參 cam1 / caam1 / sam1 / saam1:
-- 參加 caam1 gaa1 - to participate in
-- 入參 jap6 sam1 - ginseng

The initial "c" in jyutping corresponds to the symbol I have circled in both red and blue. It corresponds to the sound "ch" in English. Note that it is in the "palatal" column on the chart. A powerful force in sound change is called "palatalization" where sounds in nearby columns change into sounds in that column. The initial "s" in jyutping is also "s" in the IPA symbols (circled in red). You would expect it to become an "sh" sound, since that is the palatal closest to it, but because both sounds nearest on the chart do not exist in Cantonese (they're in yellow), so instead it moves to the "ch".

Image

In cases like this, you could reconstruct the original sound through a number of different processes. But while there may be an original sound back in an older version of Cantonese, it no longer is the "default". In many cases the older version is preserved in a minority of sayings as the change sometimes leaves a sort of "fossil".

If you look at the other example of the "z/c" (I prefer j/ch) change, you'll see that these sounds are also very similar.

Hope that wasn't too boring.

[%sig%]

rathpy

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby rathpy » Mon Apr 07, 2003 6:07 am

Michael,

No way!, not too much information.

From the chart, I see 't' and 'd' are close ('t' is the aspirated version, right?), as in:

調 diu6 / tiu4
-- 音調 jam1 dui6 - tone
-- 調和 tui4 wo6 - suit well; mediate; compromise


Regards,
rathpy

rathpy

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby rathpy » Mon Apr 07, 2003 6:15 am

Kobo-Daishi wrote:

>> I think you mean 人參 [Mand: ren2 shen1, Cant: yan4 chaam1] is ginseng and not 入參. In Jyutping it’s “jan4 caam1”... <<

Thanks for picking up that boo-boo in my notes. Yes, it's 人 in 人參 ginseng. (And now I'll remember it because of your story).

But for the Jyutping pronunciation of the compound, my Cantonese dictionary gives 'jan4 sam1' instead of 'jan4 caam1'. (???)

Regards,
rathpy

Kobo-Daishi

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby Kobo-Daishi » Mon Apr 07, 2003 7:45 am

Dear Rathpy,

You’re right. The Cantonese pronunciation for 人參 should be “yan4 sam1” in Yale romanisation and “jan4 sam1” in Jyutping romanisation.

I used a computer program, that takes its data from the Unicode site’s Unihan database, to look up the Cantonese pronunciation and unfortunately the data is not all inclusive.

I should have checked with a secondary source to make sure.

Here is the link for information on the 參 character at Unicode’s site

http://www.unicode.org/cgi-bin/GetUniha ... utf8=false

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

Terence

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby Terence » Mon Apr 07, 2003 1:31 pm

CORRECT。

Michael Thigpen

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby Michael Thigpen » Mon Apr 07, 2003 11:19 pm

Rathpy,

Right. 't/d" is another one of the close sounds. You'll also see from the chart where the n/l confusion comes in.

[%sig%]

pattu
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:10 am

Re: etymologically correct pronunciation

Postby pattu » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:12 am

As far recording/ knowing the “etymologically correct” pronunciation is concerned, I still would like to do that if possible. I appreciate that language just evolves, differently in different places, and that it’s all valid. But in some cases, aren’t some pronunciations more “original (or whatever)”


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