Home OC *-oj ~ *-waj > MC *-wie ~ *-wɨɑ

The nonvelar-*ɨɑ syllables in Guangyun all have medial *-w- and two of the velar-initial syllables also have medial *-w-. On Wednesday, I proposed that

MC medial *-ɨ- could be an irregular reflex of OC *-r-

but now I think it's part of a bent *o or *wa.

Codas conditioned the MC reflexes of OC nonemphatic *o:

Zero, glottal, or velar coda

1. OC *-o(K) > *-wa(K) > *-wɨa(K) > MC *-wo(K)

When this bending occurred, OC *-s had backed to glottal *-h.

Dental or palatal coda

2a. OC *-on/r/t > *-wan/t > *-wɨan/t > MC *-wɨen/t (> *-wien/t after dental and palatal initials)

*-r merged with *-n

2b. OC *-oj > *-waj > *-wɨaj > *-wɨej > MC *-wɨe

In all of these shifts, *o broke to *wa whose vowel bent upward to *ɨa and either backed and rounded to *o or fronted to *e depending on the following consonant (if any).

MC *-wɨɑ syllables could be an alternate reflex of OC *-oj or *-waj without any *-r-:

2b'. OC *-oj > *-waj > *-wɨaj > *-wɨa > MC *-wɨɑ

Some *-wɨɑ syllables were written with *-aj phonetics. This may suggest that their graphs were devised after the breaking of *-oj to *-waj (merging with orignal *-waj):

Graph MC OC Phonetic MC OC
(骨+山+匕) *khwɨɑ *qhoj or *qhwaj 山+匕 a distortion of 它?
(骨+它) *da *laj
*gwɨɑ *grwaj < ?*Nɯ-qrwaj *qæ *qraj
*xwɨɑ *Cɯ-χoj or *Cɯ-χwaj *ʁwæ *wra
靴(扌+化)(口+靴) *χwæh *hŋrojs
(月+日+匕) *ʔwɨɑ *ʔɯ-qoj or *ʔɯ-qwaj none; 日+匕 a distortion of 它?
(亻+蛾) *ɴɑ *ɴaj
侳(食+坐) *tswɨɑ *Cɯ-tsoj *dzwɑʔ *dzojʔ
脞㛗 *tshwɨɑ *Cɯ-tshoj
(月+戀) *lwɨɑ *Cɯ-roj < ?*Cɯ-ror *lwienh *pɯ-ronʔ-s


Although none of the above graphs seems to be very old, I assume they represent words that existed long before they were written.

(骨+山+匕)/(骨+它) OC *qhoj would normally become uvular-initial MC *qhwɑ, but has a velar initial because of deemphasis that spread from the presyllable of the preceding syllable:

MC *ʔwɨɑ khwɨɑ < OC *ʔɯ-qwaj qhwaj

If (骨+山+匕)/(骨+它) and (月+日+匕) have 它 OC *laj as phonetic, perhaps they represented

OC OC *ʔɯ-qlwaj qhlwaj

with *-l- in both syllables.

鞾/靴 'shoe' and its homophones could have many different OC sources. *χ(w)- could be from clusters like *sqh(w)- or *hŋ(w)- if it is not orignal. The use of uvular-initial phonetics suggests a uvular-initial main syllable preceded by a deemphasizing presyllable.

I have no idea why (亻+蛾) MC *ʔwɨɑ has a nasal-initial phonetic 蛾 MC *ɴɑ. An initial uvular nasal *ɴ- is very unusual.  (12.13.18:08: The only language in UPSID with a uvular nasal is Japanese which only permits uvular nasals in codas.)

Last night, I reconstructed (月+戀) MC *lwɨɑ with OC *l because I thought that MC *-ɨ- was a trace of OC *-r- and I wanted to avoid reconstructing OC *rr- as the source of MC *l...ɨ-. (MC *l- is normally a reflex of OC *r-.) But now I think MC *-ɨ- is part of a bent *a rather than an irregular reflex of OC *-r- so I can now reconstruct (月+戀) with *r- in its main syllable. GLOTTAL-*ɨɑ SYLLABLES IN GUANGYUN

also theoretically shouldn't exist, but they do:

(月+日+匕) MC *ʔwɨɑ

(亻+蛾) MC *ʔwɨɑ

These graphs represent the first halves of obscure disyllabic words:

(月+日+匕)(骨+山+匕) MC *ʔwɨɑ *khwɨɑ ?'bent limb disorder'

(亻+蛾)(亻+恒 minus last stroke) MC *ʔwɨɑ *khɨɑ 'appearance of idiocy'

Those words look like reduplications. Inspired by Sagart's uvular hypothesis, I could reconstruct their earlier forms as *qoj qhoj and *qoj qhaj, with an initial *q- that became glottal stop and a medial *-qh- that became a velar because it was shielded by *qoj-. (Sagart posited presyllables to shield uvulars, not whole syllables.)

My own system requires something like

OC *ʔɯ-qoj qhoj and OC *ʔɯ-qoj qhaj

with a deemphasizing presyllable. ALVEOLAR-*ɨɑ SYLLABLES IN GUANGYUN

theoretically shouldn't exist at all. So where do Middle Chinese *tswɨɑ, *tshwɨɑ, and *lwɨɑ come from? All those syllables were written with Old Chinese *o-phonetics:

脞㛗 MC *tswɨɑ < OC ?*rtsoj

侳(食+坐) MC *tshwɨɑ < OC ?*rtshoj

坐 MC *dzwɑʔ < OC *dzojʔ

(月+戀) MC *lwɨɑ < OC ?*ror

MC *lwien < OC *pɯ-ronʔ-s

䜌 MC *lwɑn < OC *ron

In the first two cases, MC medial *-ɨ- could be an irregular reflex of OC *-r-:

MC *ts(h)wɨɑ < *ts(h)wɨɑj < *ts(h)ɨoj < *ts(h)roj < OC *rts(h)oj

Normally, OC *rts(h)oj would become MC *tʂ(h)wæ: e.g.,

髽 MC *tʂwæ < *tʂwæj < *tʂɔj < *tʂroj < *tsroj < OC *rtsoj

But in the third case, medial *-ɨ- could not be an irregular reflex of OC *-r-, unless OC had sequences like *rr- with *r as initial and medial.

I have not found any instances of (月+戀) 'donkey belly' earlier than Yupian (c. 543 AD), but the word was presumably spoken long before its graph was created. I wonder if it was originally *rʌ-loj, with a prefix shielding *-l- from hardening to late OC *d- (see Sagart 1999: 19). The presyllabic vowel was lost, *r-l- metathesized, and medial *-r- irregularly became *-ɨ-:

(月+戀) MC *lwɨɑ < *lwɨɑj < *lɨoj < *lroj < *rloj < OC ?*rʌ-loj

12.11.0:26: Why was (月+戀) 'donkey belly' written with an *-n phonetic ? Why wasn't it written with 累 as in 騾 Late OC *lwɑ < *roj (0:44: or *Cʌ-loj?) OC 'mule' (a cognate word)? Was 'donkey belly' pronounced with a final liquid (*-r or *-l) similar to *-n at the time its graph (月+戀) was devised?

12.11.00:41: I found another word (月+羅) MC *læ 'meat of the bottom of a donkey's stomach' which may be cognate to (月+戀) MC *lwɨɑ 'donkey belly'. MC *læ is unusual since MC < Middle OC * normally does not follow MC *l-. Perhaps (月+羅) was an *-a- variant of (月+戀) OC ?*rʌ-loj:

(月+羅) MC *læ < *lrɑj < *r-lɑj

(羅 OC *raj was originally an *r-phonetic but was pronounced *lɑ by the time 𦣇 was devised prior to Jiyun [1037 AD].) VELAR- SYLLABLES IN GUANGYUN

are all listed at the end of the section for the rhyme 戈 *-wɑ, even though most have no labial segment. Graphs for two of those syllables (伽𩨷) appear as final spellers for glottal- and alveolar-initial syllables.

Middle Chinese 1 Middle Chinese 2 fanqie sinographs
*xwɑ *xwɨɑ (月+日+匕) 鞾靴(扌+化)(口+靴)
*ʔwɑ *ʔwɨɑ (月+日+匕)(亻+蛾)
*khwɑ *khwɨɑ (骨+山+匕)(骨+它)
*gɑ *gɨɑ 伽茄枷
*khɑ *khɨɑ 佉呿(去+欠)(亻+恒 minus last stroke)
*kɑ *kɨɑ
*tshwɑ *tshwɨɑ 醋伽 脞㛗
*tswɑ *tswɨɑ (骨+山+匕) 侳(食+坐)
*gwɑ *gwɨɑ
*lwɑ *lwɨɑ (骨+山+匕) (月+戀)

(12.10.00:12: All type B fanqie initial spellers are marked in green.)

There is a major problem with my reconstructions in the first column. The nonvelar-initial syllables in red are homophonous with other *-wɑ syllables: e.g., why create a special fanqie 於靴 for (月+日+匕) and (亻+蛾) if they were homophonous with 倭 which was definitely *ʔwɑ?

The reconstructions in the second column avoid this problem. They contain a medial *-ɨ- which distinguishes these syllables from regular 戈 *-wɑ syllables: e.g.,

(月+日+匕) *ʔwɨɑ : 倭 *ʔwɑ

*tshwɨɑ : 遳 *tshwɑ

(侳 *tswɨɑ has no corresponding *tswɑ)

𦣛 *lwɨɑ : 螺 *lwɑ

This medial *-ɨ-

- sounds like *-w-, explaining why *-(w)ɨɑ syllables were listed under the rhyme 戈 *-wɑ

- normally follows velars and hence is a 'buffer' or 'bridge' preventing the direct combination of velars with *-ɑ which normally follows uvulars. Compare:

Late Old Chinese *qɑ *k(ɨ)ɑ *kɨa
Middle Chinese 2 *qɑ *kɨɑ *kɨə
Guangyun rhyme *-ɑ *-wɑ *-ɨɑ ADDITIONAL GRASS: WHAT'S *GA-ING ON?

The late Old Chinese word 茄 *gɑ 'eggplant' is anomalous because it combines a velar initial *g- with a low back vowel *-ɑ. In LOC, velar initials normally precede high vowels, and low back vowels normally follow uvulars, not velars. See the table from my last post.

I think there are two possible explanations for the unusual initial-rhyme combination of 茄 *gɑ:

1. The word is of foreign origin and hence not subject to the phonological constraints of native Chinese words. It is little different from the syllables 迦 *kɑ and 佉 *khɑ in Indic borrowings.

2. The word is an archaism partly preserving an earlier *ga which did not shift to the expected *gɨa.

The two explanations are not mutually exclusive. What if 'eggplant' were an early foreign borrowing *ga that shifted to *gɑ instead of *gɨa? The trouble is that I don't know of any plausible foreign source for 'eggplant'. Although eggplants are native to India, *gɑ does not look like Sanskrit mahoṭihaa or mahoṭii 'eggplant' and the resemblance to the -ga- of Hindi baiṃgan (cf. Persian بادنجان and Arabic باذنجان with -j-) is coincidental. On the other hand, I cannot think of any plausible Chinese-internal etymology.

To complicate matters, the Proto-Tai word for 'eggplant' is *khɯa A1 in Li Fang-kuei's reconstruction with a voiceless aspirate initial rather than a voiced initial.

Moreover, the graph 茄 consists of the mostly type A (and hence probably uvular-initial) phonetic 加 *qæ(i) 'add' beneath the semantic element 艹 'grass'. Although I know for sure that 迦 *kɑ and 佉 *khɑ represented Indic syllables with velars (ka and kha), it is possible that 茄 once had a uvular.

Perhaps an early form of 'eggplant' was *Nɯ-qhɑ. (I don't know whether the Chinese word for 'eggplant' predated the loss of *-i after *-æ.)

Proto-Tai *khɯa A1 could reflects a Chinese *khɨa < *Nɯ-khɨa < *Nɯ-qhɑ which had lost a high-vowelled presyllable conditioning a uvular to velar shift and medial *-ɨ-.

Vietnamese < *ga 'eggplant' could reflect a Chinese *gɑ < *ŋgɑ < *ŋkhɑ <*Nɯ-kh(ɨ)ɑ < *Nɯ-qhɑ with a voiced initial originating from a nasal presyllable-aspirate sequence with irregular loss / lack of *-ɨ-.

Amoy khe 2 could be from *ghe < *ɴɢhæ < *N-qhæ, a variant with a low front vowel. Cf. the other reading of 茄: *qæ 'lotus stalk'.

(Could Proto-Min voiced aspirates be from *N-Ch nasal-aspirate sequences?) UVULARS, VELARS, AND VOWEL BENDING

Old Chinese uvulars and velars conditioned vowel bending in opposite directions. I use uvular symbols to represent the back allophones of velars in late OC and MC.

OC stage 1 OC stage 2 late OC MC bending
*(Cʌ-)qa, *Cʌ-ka *qa *qɑ *qo none; can't go any lower
*(Cʌ-)qe, *-ke *qe *qɑe *qej downward/backward
*(Cʌ-)qo, *-ko *qo *qɑo *qʌw
*(Cʌ-), *-kə *qə *qʌɯ *qʌj
*(Cʌ-)qi, *-ki *qi *qei *qej
*(Cʌ-)qu, *-ku *qu *qou *qɑw
*(Cɯ-)ka, *Cɯ-qa *ka *kɨa *kɨə upward
*(Cɯ-)ke, *Cɯ-qe *ke *kie *kie
*(Cɯ-)ko, *Cɯ-qo *ko *kuo *kuo
*(Cɯ-)kə, *Cɯ- *kə *kɨə *kɨ
*(Cɯ-)ki, *Cɯ-qi *ki *ki *ki none; can't go any higher
*(Cɯ-)ku, *Cɯ-qu *ku *ku *ku

OC stage 1 forms are listed in order of probability: e.g., a MC *ki is more likely to be from an early *(Cɯ-)ki than a deemphasized early *Cɯ-qi. I'd like as few emphasis-switchers as possible.

Late OC 迦 *kɑ and 佉 *khɑ are in Indic borrowings, so they have no early OC sources.

I'll discuss late OC 茄 *gɑ 'eggplant' in my next post.

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