A handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese by W. South Coblin

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 writer, a super 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 a very vital accomplishment, either conceptually and virtually. With it he completed not anything lower than the construction of a unified script for all the various peoples within the Mongolian empire, together with the relevant Asian Turks and Sinitic-speaking Chinese.

'Phags-pa is of titanic significance for the learn of premodern chinese language phonology. notwithstanding, the script is hard to learn and interpret, and secondary fabrics on it are scattered and never simply got. the current ebook is meant as a realistic advent to 'Phags-pa chinese language stories and a advisor for studying and analyzing the script. It contains components. the 1st half is an introductory part comprising 4 chapters. this is often by way of a thesaurus of 'Phags-pa chinese language kinds 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 approach, summarizes the foremost varieties of fabric preserved in it, and describes the old and linguistic contexts during which this invention happened. Following chapters aspect the historical past of 'Phags-pa reports, the alphabet and its interpretation, and the salient good points of the underlying sound process represented via the script, evaluating it with these of varied later varieties of chinese language which were recorded in alphabetic resources.

A instruction manual of 'Phags-pa Chinese can be of distinctive curiosity to chinese language old phonologists and students involved in the background and tradition of China and vital Asia throughout the Yuan interval (A.D. 1279–1368).

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3. 4. plain vowel: -ang y or y plus vowel: -yang w plus vowel: -wang other spelling types: _hang, -ong, -wyang Where a particular traditional rime type falls under a MGZY rime that conflicts with the 'Phags-pa spelling in some way, the traditional ordering is nonetheless maintained, apparently because readers would be expected to follow the traditional order when looking up characters. , would be expected). The principle here was clearly not phonetic or orthographic compatibility but convenient accessibility in terms of the received system.

British scholars of course had continuous access to it, and Clauson (1959) included material from it in his discussion of the 'Phags-pa script. By the 1960s it had become the primary basis for the study of 'Phags-pa Chinese. Denlinger (1963) investigated the material in the MGZY from the standpoint of Chinese historical phonology. Pulleyblank (1970) interpreted the data in terms of his own views on the structure of the pre-modem Chinese syllable, particularly as represented in the rime tables. Cheng Tsai Fa wrote two monographs on 'Phags-pa studies, Cheng (1965) and (1985).

For a summary of the various theories, see JIn (1999: 13, n. 1). 22 II A Brief Review of 'Phags-pa Chinese Studies The single most informative source on the history of 'Phags-pa studies in general and of the Chinese 'Phags-pa field in particular is the introduction to Nakano (1971), especially pages 8-23. Also of considerable interest are the bibliographical notes and annotations in Ligeti (1956; 1961), Hashimoto (1978; 1978-79: 70-120), and Cheng (1985). For Japanese studies in particular, see Hashimoto (1978: 2, notes 4 and 8).

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