Southern Mǐn refers to a group of Chinese dialects spoken mainly in Southeast China and Taiwan. This group occupies a special position in the study of Chinese dialects, not only because of its large population of speakers (around 48 million) but also because of its preservation of various archaic linguistic features long lost in other dialects. In this book, B.C. Kwok applies the comparative method on new fieldwork data to reconstruct the common sound system of ‘Proto-Southern Mǐn’, from which all modern Southern Mǐn varieties emerged. The syllable initials, finals and tonal categories of Proto-Southern Mǐn are illustrated by more than 500 examples. In addition, this book offers an alternative view on the subgrouping of 12 Southern Mǐn varieties. It proposes that the Quánzhōu dialect and the Zhāngzhōu dialect form the two main branches of the dialect group. This book should be of great interest to advanced students and scholars in the fields of historical linguistics and Chinese dialectology.
Table of Contents
1. Background and Methodology 2. Proto-Southern Mǐn initials 3. Proto-Southern Mǐn finals 4. Proto-Southern Mǐn tonal categories 5. Subgrouping Southern Mǐn 6. Conclusion
Bit-Chee Kwok is currently Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests lie primarily in historical linguistics, contact linguistics and Chinese dialectology.