Benzi/Original character

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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aokh1979
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by aokh1979 »

I am not sure if I make sense, just to clarify a few things.

I do not know, and do not believe that Hokkien we speak now is exactly what it sounded in middle Chinese. Every language might have carried some left-over from middle Chinese. Hainanese or Taishanese might have things older than those in Hokkien or Cantonese, not all but something. Do I sound reasonable ?

The reason I quoted 及 because of below:

1. In previous posts we did discuss about ka with an entering sound because Taiwanese borrows sound from 甲, but why is the entering sound being denied here ?
2. In Japanese 及 is pronounced as きゅう and in Hainanese, the ka seems to be kiau in those contexts.

共 does indeed make sense but 及 should not be turned down immediately. I just try to keep an open mind because both of them may carry a slightly different meaning.

Ah-bin
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Ah-bin »

This can be seen in taishanese, hakka and hokkien so 及 is definitely not the correct character due to its sound and also entering tone .
xng you need to learn two things before you discuss this further:

1) "Entering tone" refers to the tone class. 及 is an entering tone word. I assume you are meaning the -p doesn't correspond to the final glottal stop -h. It does. Only the vowel is a bit suspect.

2) There are two kinds of Middle Chinese, early and late - 不宜混為一談. Hokkien vernacaular readings are from the Early Middle Chinese (EMC) Cantonese descends from Late Middle Chinese, and therefore is only good to compare with the thak-chhEh-im in Hokkien, but needs to be used very carefully if you want to make comparisons with the vernacular stratum.

Although I disagree with many of Aokh's proposed original characters (you're never going to convince me of 昧!), I think 及 actually makes a lot of sense. Also the Early Middle Chinese stratum in Hokkien is probably the result of dialect contact and mixing, so there are many exceptions to rhyming rules and correspondences with other Sinitic languages. Here are three arguments for 及 as the original character for kah:

First:
One of the universal characteristics of the EMC stratum is that the finals of the entering tones in -t -p -k were all elided to the glottal stop -h. I'm sure Aokh is arguing that this is the EMC borrowing, so the -h does in fact correspond to final -p in Cantonese and the literary (Late Middle Chinese) stratum.
(Conversely, function words are particularly prone to phonetic shift, so the lack of a final -ng if the character really was 共 would not be so unbelievable)

Second:
Sinitic languages contain many examples of verbs that have lost their original meanings and become grammatical particles. One is 以 which used to mean "to take". It is by no means unlikely that the meaning "to meet with" became "in addition to" (which it has) and finally "and/with".

Third:
The 及 in the Chu Nom script often stands for gặp (a vernacular word) and kịp is the Sino-Vietnamese (LMC) reading of the character. Sometimes the "vernacular" words in Vietnamese are actually just earlier borrowings from EMC and therefore predate Cantonese. Like the EMC stratum in Min, there is evidence for dialect mixture and borrowing at different periods.


Having said so, I would use 共 instead of 及 for the same reason as I use 這 instead of 之 to write "this" in Mandarin, because it has a history of centuries of use.

aokh1979
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by aokh1979 »

Ah-bin wrote:Although I disagree with many of Aokh's proposed original characters (you're never going to convince me of 昧!), I think 及 actually makes a lot of sense.
Is somebody declaring war here ?

Friend, 昧 is what I use to document Penang Hokkien [bē] to differentiate from 未 [buē], it's the proposed character, not proposed original character. :lol:

Ultimate goal of mine is to document the vernacular of Penang Hokkien. Quite a number of my proposed characters are not original. If we stick to 本字 - we may end up nowhere because characters are invented to record spoken language, and spoken languages shift. If a word is widely used in Mandarin today, how it's written will be my choice of word, at least phase 1. I want to make Penang Hokkien writable in 漢字 but I dun want to scare young people away, phase-by-phase. :oops:

Ah-bin
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Ah-bin »

I am naughty...... and I was mistaken in thinking you meant 昧 was an original character......very fast backtrack and apology!

I also should have said "a few" characters not "many", but since you aren't claiming them as original characters to start with, I shouldn't have said it at all.

SimL
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by SimL »

aokh1979 wrote:I do not know, and do not believe that Hokkien we speak now is exactly what it sounded in middle Chinese. ... Do I sound reasonable ?
Hi aokh,

With my limited knowledge of Chinese, I wouldn't presume to make a comment about this in particular, but, if one thinks that "Middle Chinese" is considered to be from the 8th to the 10th century, and "Old English" is considered to be from the 5th to the 12th century, and "Old English" looks like this:

Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena in ġeār-dagum,
þēod-cyninga, þrym ġefrūnon,
hū ðā æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scēfing sceaþena þrēatum,
monegum mǣġþum, meodosetla oftēah,
egsode eorlas. Syððan ǣrest wearð
fēasceaft funden, hē þæs frōfre ġebād,
wēox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þāh,
oðþæt him ǣġhwylc þāra ymbsittendra
ofer hronrāde hȳran scolde,
gomban gyldan. Þæt wæs gōd cyning!

then, I imagine that present day Hokkien probably sounds quite different from (how Hokkien sounded in the time of) "Middle Chinese" :P.

So, I think your assertion is very reasonable!

Mark Yong
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Mark Yong »

Those who have been with the Forum long enough will be familiar with my (possibly futile and obsessive) stance of getting the etymologically-correct character - even if the candidate character today looks far obscured in meaning from other substitutes (e.g. vs. for ci "this").

That said, I will respect the fact that a significant proportion of Minnan words do not have an etymological root with any character, while others that may have once existed have been totally lost over time. And of course, I will respect the diametrically-opposed views that currently-accepted characters should be preferred over the etymologically-correct-but-highly-obscure ones - our approaches may differ, but our noble goal is still the same, i.e. the preservation and continued use of the Hokkien dialect.

Actually, is it ci or cit? Because if it is the latter, then that moots the point of , and we are back to re-visiting the commonly-accepted . Unless cit is a fusion of 之一, which would then somewhat lend support for hit "that" being a fusion of 許一 (by the way, in Penang Hokkien, people sometimes say hu-jit for "that day" - possibly 許日 and a rare case where the suffix is dropped from the ?). Also, I believe is high-tone, whereas cit is mid-tone (sorry, my tone definitions are still very poor!)?

Ah-bin
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Ah-bin »

2. In Japanese 及 is pronounced as きゅう and in Hainanese, the ka seems to be kiau in those contexts.
Don‘t know how I missed this, but for philological purposes, modern Japanese Kana spelling is of limited use. For the way things were pronounced in Japanese when they were borrowed, we need to look at what is now called the rekishiteki kanazukai 歴史的仮名遣 or "historical kana usage" that was forced out of use in 1946. In this system, based on Heian Period (794-1185) the spelling was きふ (kifu) 及 吸 級  泣 急 給 even though the pronunciation had become kyuu in ordinary speech. BTW this is constant through the Kan-on and Go-on (there may have been a difference in the vowel in the Kan-on and go-on too, I'll have to look it up).

The final -fu (and all initial syllables in the H row of kana ha hi fu he ho はひふへほ) were once pronounced with an unvoiced bilabial plosive [p]. These correspond to an -h final for the vernacular reading and a -p for the literary reading. So all the characters above were pronounced "Kip" or "kipu" at one time in Japanese.

Whenever there is a long vowel in a kanji reading that does not correspond to a final -ng in Cantonese or Mandarin, you can bet your boots it used to have a final -p in old Japanese.

Here's a reference page for the historical kana usage with lots of kanji indexed according to their modern kana spellings:

http://www32.ocn.ne.jp/~gaido/kana/srdu83.htm

And here's a great book to download, the first Japanese-English dictionary by Jamese Curtis Hepburn, published in 1873, and full of lovely old words all in their old kana spellings:

http://www.archive.org/details/japaneseenglishe00hepb

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

aokh1979 wrote:
1. In previous posts we did discuss about ka with an entering sound because Taiwanese borrows sound from 甲, but why is the entering sound being denied here ?
Sorry but I don't quite understand everything that you said. :lol:

When we speak unconsciously (due to informal learning), we tend not to be conscious of the tone; furthermore, 'glottal stop' and non nasal, sound so similar to each other.

Upon closer scrutiny, I speak Ka without a glottal stop, 甲 was used in taiwanese songs because they simply chose one similar sounding character regardless of tone. There are other even more ridiculous characters that was chosen for other sounds.

及 is the wrong character for these reasons:

1. wrong tone class ie. entering tone.
2. wrong vowel. 'ip' vowel instead of 'ah' - eg. 吸,級
3. not as common as 共 in classical chinese texts when used for the meaning 'And'.
4. it has a different common usage than 共 eg. 及時
5. For the meaning 'And', shouldn't it be '以及' ? Maybe my chinese is bad, but I have not seen usage like 我及你 in modern or classical chinese texts.

The probability of violating all the rules above (due to possibility of change) are very slim, don't you think so.
Last edited by xng on Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:35 am, edited 5 times in total.

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote: Also, I believe is high-tone, whereas cit is mid-tone (sorry, my tone definitions are still very poor!)?
If two characters with different tones combine, it usually takes the tone of the last character eg. '甚物'人.

Sim mit lang -> Sia lang -> Siang (rising tone).

1. 'Cit' 之一 should be high tone when combined. When used as 'This person' as in '之一 個 人' then it is high tone.

2. When used as 'numeral one', 'Cit' is the ancient, low tone sound of '一' before the sound and tone was changed to 'it' with high tone in middle chinese. 一個人 ie. one person.

Note: 'This person' has a different meaning than 'one' person.

I can only provide partial proof here...

http://solution.cs.ucla.edu/~jinbo/dzl/lookup.php

it7 ①數名,指單、獨。廣韻:數之始也。〖一馬當先〗②廣韻:同也。〖不一〗③純、專。〖一心一意〗④全。〖一生|一聽〗⑤ⓐ表動作或事件之發生。〖背水一戰〗ⓑ用於陳述兩動作或事件,謂後者緊隨前者發生。〖一鳴驚人〗 ⦋同音字⦌ 乙壹嬄已憶釔鳦

zit8 ①③④⑤語音【一月日〈一個月〉|一絲仔〈極少量〉|一仔久〈片刻〉

Ah-bin
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Ah-bin »

及 is the wrong character for these reasons:

1. wrong tone class ie. entering tone.
2. wrong vowel. 'ip' vowel instead of 'ah' - eg. 吸,級
3. not as common as 共 in classical chinese texts when used for the meaning 'And'.
4. it has a different common usage than 共 eg. 及時
5. For the meaning 'And', shouldn't it be '以及' ? Maybe my chinese is bad, but I have not seen usage like 我及你 in modern or classical chinese texts.
Here are the problems (or otherwise) with these six points:

1. ka may well have been kah at one time, just as it may have been kaⁿ (if it was 共) is it more common for final -ng to become -ⁿ and then disappear altogether, or is it more common for final glottal stops to disappear altogether? I suspect the latter.
2. this is a valid point, as the Early Middle Chinese according to Pulleyblanks "Lexicon of reconstructed pronunciation in MIddle Chinese" p.140 gives EMC gip and LMC Khip, so the vowel is odd, like you say. Te only evidence I could give for that is the old EMC loan into Vietnamese.
3. 古代漢語詞典 by the Commercial Press gives only a definition as a preposition meaning "with" 介詞:同,跟. 及 is defined as a conjunction 連詞: 表示並列,和, Hokkien "ka" includes both of these meanings.
4. and 5. By modern texts (i.e. Mandarin texts) and common usage (Mandarin usage or did you mean in written Hokkien?) are irrelevant to the argument about original characters in Hokkien, which is a relationship between Middle Chinese (the spoken form represented by texts written before the Sung Dynasty) and spoken Hokkien.

For some of these characters I think "we can't know for sure" and the best thing to do is use the one most commonly used in Hokkien texts. What the original character was and what should be used are two different questions altogether.

As for chit, somewhere I read that someone thought the original character was 蜀! I forget where, maybe it is in that green and orange dictionary of original characters Ah-long has?

Mark Yong
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Mark Yong »

Ah-bin wrote:
As for chit, somewhere I read that someone thought the original character was 蜀! I forget where, maybe it is in that green and orange dictionary of original characters Ah-long has?
Are you referring to 林寶卿's 閩南語與古文同源辭典? She says cit (quantity 'one') is , citing:

禃、【集韻】丞職切、音值、專一也。

The consistent definition notwithstanding, the problem is in the fanqie - the initial ch'- for is aspirated, whereas cit is non-aspirated. I shall defer this to the members with better knowledge on tonal shifts for comment. :lol:

As to whether I would write cit for the quantify 'one' as , one could also ask whether Taiwanese today make the written distinction between yi and yao to differentiate between the quantity and numeral 'one', or whether they just lump it under . My answer is, on the basis that even Modern Chinese (both written and spoken) makes the distinction between and , I think it would only be correct to do likewise for and wherever possible and practical (assuming, of course, that is the correct character!), given that Hokkien is among the few dialects that retains the distinction. Of course, that's just me being my usual pedantic self.

Back to my original question: I can accept the case for cit being 之一, but it would be nice if there was some evidence that the final -t is a result of the fusion of the two morphemes, and not because it is historically a single morpheme with a -t final.

Also, has anyone considered the possibility that it could be a fusion of 茲一? also carries the definition of the demonstrative 'this'. Again, I have disregarded the tone.

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote: 禃、【集韻】丞職切、音值、專一也。

The consistent definition notwithstanding, the problem is in the fanqie - the initial ch'- for is aspirated, whereas cit is non-aspirated. I shall defer this to the members with better knowledge on tonal shifts for comment. :lol:
I don't know why you think that 丞 has the consonant of 'Ch' when cantonese and hokkien (and i think hakka) have consonant 'S'. If you argue on a possible sound change, then shouldn't it be consonant 'T', the same with 直, 值 which is the original consonant ? There is a sound shift from 'T' to 'C'.

Anyway, as I have mentioned, 專一 doesn't mean 'numeral one'. So both the sound and the meaning is wrong.

The sound of 蜀 is 'siok' and not 'cit'. Both the initial and ending consonant is wrong. Other similar sound 獨 (tok), 屬 (siok), 觸 (ciok) so all of these ends with 'ok' and not 'it'. Furthermore, there's no indication it has the meaning 'one'.

People don't seem to realise that chinese characters can have multiple similar sounds. 一 with sounds 'it' and 'cit'. It's the same case with 人 'Lin' and 'Lang' and 其 (cantonese). People create all kind of weird characters just to have the sound differentiation. Characters don't change their form often but they do change their sound often as evidenced by thousands of dialects.

The northerners create 'Lang' character because that's how it sounds to them with a 人農 sound but that's not the original character. At that time in middle chinese, the sound has changed to 'Yin'. The original character is a simple 人, that's how 'man' was written 5000 years ago.

Is 茲 or 之 more commonly used in classical chinese ? That's your answer. Hokkien was the language based on the time of the zhou dynasty which is written in classical chinese. So at that time, the written and the spoken language was very close unlike today where the written language is based on mandarin.

If someone were to trace the original character for 'he'/'ho' (which may have changed sound) 5000 years in the future , I would look at how the written form was written during this time ie. whether it is 和, 跟, 及, 同.

If you can accept, 許一 (Hit), why not 之一 (Jit) :lol: ? It is just like arguing you accept 那兒 (nar) but not 這兒 (cer) in mandarin. Anyway, I saw the proof long time ago somewhere which I have forgotten.

PS: I do know middle chinese have their influence in forming the literary sounds.

Mark Yong
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Mark Yong »

xng,

Firstly, my original intention was simply to respond to Ah-bin's question/comment above regarding the source of . I am not asserting that is the correct character - I hope this is clear. All I am saying is, if there exists a separate and correct character that differentiates between the numeral it and the quantifier cit, then I would endeavour to use it.

I am quite sure the bulk of the Forumers who have been around long enough are well-aware about one-character-multiple-pronunciations phenomenon, as is well-evidenced by the myriad of 文讀/白讀 examples in Minnan. I am also aware of the multitude of incorrect characters (may of which were conveniently created with the mouth radical tacked on) created for Hong Kong Cantonese - believe me, as a self-professed purist myself, that is also another source of angst for me, as it probably is for you, too.

What I am saying is that we should try to make the informed distinction between genuine cases of multiple readings for the same words vs. words that have etymologically-different character origins (and whether we choose to use those distinctions in writing is, of course, a matter of personal choice). So, when you refer to 'people' in your statement below, I hope you will be so kind as to refrain from including me, or others in this Forum who are equally informed on the matter, under your sweeping generalisation of those whom, to my mind, you consider as tone-deaf linguistic imbeciles.

As a matter of fact, a 2-minute search through Kangxi Dictionary online will reveal that as 'this' is recorded in the 爾雅 Erya:

【爾雅譯詁】此也。

(Yes, I know the primary definition is that of a plant, as evidenced by the radical, but look at the secondary definition listed therein - even if it is a 假借字, which it probably is, it's a pretty early borrowing.)

As a dictionary that belongs to the canon of the 13 Chinese Classics, I am not sure if you can get any more "classical" than that.

And finally, please re-read what I wrote. I did not say I do not accept 之一 as the 本字 for cit (this), nor do I refute your citation of Classical texts in support of it - why should I categorically refute a clear reference in a Classical text without reason? My question was whether, in the first place, cit is a single morpheme or a fusion of two morphemes - if it is the former, then both and being well-documented in Classical Chinese to mean the demonstrative 'this' notwithstanding, neither would be tenable candidates as the 本字 for the Minnan cit due to the -t final.

I will defer to Ah-Bin to comment on Hokkien's relationship with Old/Middle Chinese and Zhou. There are times when it is prudent not to pretend to be an expert.

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Ah-bin wrote:
1. ka may well have been kah at one time, just as it may have been kaⁿ (if it was 共) is it more common for final -ng to become -ⁿ and then disappear altogether, or is it more common for final glottal stops to disappear altogether? I suspect the latter.
Since aokh is in Xiamen, he is the best person to tell us whether Ka spoken in China is with a glottal or non glottal stop.

If there is a possibility of change in sound , it usually falls under its own tone class (as you say), Kap, Kat -> Kah but possibility of Kip changing to Kaⁿ is too remote ie. jumping both tone class and vowel.

I think aokh is the best person as he is in China to determine whether you can use 我及你.

I have seen 我和/跟/同/共你 but not 我及你. Note: Considering Mandarin, cantonese, classical chinese.

I have seen 以及 to mean conjunctive 'and' but 及 alone doesn't mean 'and'.

But like what I said, maybe my Chinese is not as good as aokh. :lol:

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote:
(Yes, I know the primary definition is that of a plant, as evidenced by the radical, but look at the secondary definition listed therein - even if it is a 假借字, which it probably is, it's a pretty early borrowing.)
My apologies for my laziness in typing, although I replied to your post but when I mentioned 'people', I mean in 'general' and not specifically you. I forgot that this forum has only linguistic experts reading. :lol:

As for 茲, you have partly answered your own question. The 艹 have already betrayed the origin, it was originally meant to describe a plant. Just as 渠 is not the original character for Kui (he/she) in cantonese due to the 木 radical ie. it was meant as a wood gutter.

Furthermore, 茲 is pronounced as 'Cer' in quanzhou and not 'Ci'. We pronounce 'this type' as 'Ci Kuan' and not 'Cer Kuan'. You can confirm with aokh to ask his quanzhou colleagues .

In summary, 之 looks like the undisputable winner as it is much common, does not have the 'plant radical' and correct vowel.

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