12 Facts About Middle Chinese


Karlgren was the first to attempt a reconstruction of the sounds of Middle Chinese, comparing its categories with modern varieties of Chinese and the Sino-Xenic pronunciations used in the reading traditions of neighbouring countries.

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The study of Middle Chinese provides for a better understanding and analysis of Classical Chinese poetry, such as the study of Tang poetry.

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Reconstruction of Middle Chinese phonology is largely dependent upon detailed descriptions in a few original sources.

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Middle Chinese used the oldest known rime tables as descriptions of the sounds of the rime dictionaries, and studied the Guangyun, at that time the oldest known rime dictionary.

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Middle Chinese believed that the resulting categories reflected the speech standard of the capital Chang'an of the Sui and Tang dynasties.

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Middle Chinese interpreted the many distinctions as a narrow transcription of the precise sounds of this language, which he sought to reconstruct by treating the Sino-Xenic and modern dialect pronunciations as reflexes of the Qieyun categories.

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Middle Chinese further argued that his Late Middle Chinese reflected the standard language of the late Tang dynasty.

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Traditional analysis of the Middle Chinese syllable, derived from the fanqie method, is into an initial consonant, or "initial", and a final .

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Early Middle Chinese had three types of stops: voiced, voiceless, and voiceless aspirated.

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Tone system of Middle Chinese is strikingly similar to those of its neighbours in the Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area—proto-Hmong–Mien, proto-Tai and early Vietnamese—none of which is genetically related to Chinese.

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Middle Chinese thus argued that the Austroasiatic proto-language had been atonal, and that the development of tones in Vietnamese had been conditioned by these consonants, which had subsequently disappeared, a process now known as tonogenesis.

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Middle Chinese had a structure much like many modern varieties, with largely monosyllabic words, little or no derivational morphology, three tones, and a syllable structure consisting of initial consonant, glide, main vowel and final consonant, with a large number of initial consonants and a fairly small number of final consonants.

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