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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Zhong-shan phonology : a synchronic and diachronic analysis of a Yue (Cantonese) dialect Chan, Marjorie K. M.


Zhong-shan is a county in Kwangtung Province in southern China. What is normally referred to as the "Zhong-shan dialect" is the speech of Shi-qi, the administrative centre for the county. For the present thesis, data were collected from native Zhong-shan speakers from Shi-qi and neighbouring villages where the speech can be equated with the Shi-qi, Zhong-shan dialect. The data elicited consist of two main types: (1) colloquial vocabulary, for which graphic representation (an the form of standard Chinese characters) do not exist, and (2) a lexicon based on the reading of a standard word list for Chinese dialect surveys (namely, the Fang-yan Diao-cha Zi-biao), which contains some 3,700 Chinese characters. The synchronic study, which used both sets of data, is based on an amalgamation of Western structuralist and Chinese (traditional and modern) approaches. For the diachronic study, the dialect survey list, arranged according to historical phonological categories, was indispensible. The diachronic study essentially mapped the pattern of correspondences of the dialect against the historical categories to which each word belonged. Against such a backdrop, it is possible to observe the development of a given dialect with respect not only to earlier strata of the Chinese language, but also to other modern Chinese dialects. Thus, in Zhong-shan, some features may reveal certain mergers with reference to a particular stratum of the language, whereas other features may show survivals of yet older distinctions. References to previous studies on the Zhong-shan dialect are also made when differences between (or among) data seem significant. Cross-dialectally, since the Cantonese dialect is the standard for the Yue dialect group to which Zhong-shan belongs, a comparison between Zhong-shan and Cantonese is made throughout the study. Other southern Chinese dialect groups, such as Min and Hakka, are also cited where relevant. The thesis itself is divided into two main parts: the first part is the synchronic study, and the second part the diachronic analysis. In order that the thesis may better serve future research endeavours, both the colloquial lexicon and the lexicon of character readings are included: the colloquial data appear . at the end of Part I, while the dialect word list occurs at the end of Part II. The reading of the characters is recorded directly onto the format of the Fang-yan Diao-cha Zi-biao that the Chinese Linguistics Project at Princeton had prepared expressly for fieldwork purposes. Immediately following the dialect survey material is an index to the dialect material. The index is likewise prepared by the Chinese Linguistics Project, with, the words arranged according to Pin-yin romanization.

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