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Cognates of Old Chinese *-n, *-r, and *-j in Tibetan and Burmese

Hill, Nathan W. (2014) 'Cognates of Old Chinese *-n, *-r, and *-j in Tibetan and Burmese.' Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale, 43 (2). pp. 91-109.

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Abstract

Following a suggestion of Starostin (1989), Baxter & Sagart (2011) reconstruct *-n, *-j, and *-r as distinct finals in Old Chinese. These three finals have regular correspondences in Tibetan and Burmese. The Trans-Himalayan proto-language distinguished *-n, *-j, *-r, *-l, and *-rl. Burmese loses *-r and generally loses *-l, except after -u-, where it changes to -y. Tibetan loses *-y and changes *-rl to -l. Chinese changes *-rl to *-r. Because Burmese shows different reflexes for *aj (-ay) and *əj (> -i), the merger of *ə and *a in Tibetan and Burmese are independent innovations; and this merger does not confirm a ‘Tibeto- Burman’ subgroup (contra Handel 2008). These correspondences require confirmation through further research on evidence of *-r in the Min dialects and Han dynasty Buddhist transcriptions from Indic languages in Chinese characters.

Item Type: Articles
Keywords: Chinese, Tibetan, Burmese, resonant finals, Trans-Himalayan
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
ISSN: 0153-3320
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1163/19606028-00432p02
Depositing User: Nathan Hill
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2014 12:19
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/19139

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