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

By W. South Coblin

Phags-pa chinese language is the earliest kind 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 an awfully very important accomplishment, either conceptually and virtually. With it he accomplished not anything below the production of a unified script for all the various peoples within the Mongolian empire, together with the important Asian Turks and Sinitic-speaking Chinese.

'Phags-pa is of sizeable significance for the research of premodern chinese language phonology. notwithstanding, the script is tough to learn and interpret, and secondary fabrics on it are scattered and never simply received. the current e-book is meant as a realistic creation to 'Phags-pa chinese language experiences and a advisor for examining and examining the script. It contains components. the 1st half is an introductory part comprising 4 chapters. this is often by means of a thesaurus of 'Phags-pa chinese language varieties 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 procedure, summarizes the main forms of fabric preserved in it, and describes the ancient and linguistic contexts within which this invention happened. Following chapters element the background of 'Phags-pa experiences, the alphabet and its interpretation, and the salient gains of the underlying sound method represented by way of the script, evaluating it with these of varied later types of chinese language which were recorded in alphabetic resources.

A instruction manual of 'Phags-pa Chinese could be of precise curiosity to chinese language ancient phonologists and students interested by the background and tradition of China and important Asia throughout the Yuan interval (A.D. 1279–1368).

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Additional info for A handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese

Sample text

9 With this, the text became generally available to interested readers. As noted earlier, copies of the MGZY were in the hands of some Western scholars, such as Lewicki in Poland, by the 1940s. 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.

As a young man Qubilai held an appanage at Xingzhou 7f~ 1'1'[, in the southwest comer of modem Hebe i. Here he gathered around him a large coterie of Chinese scholars from various areas of the country, both north and south, who served him as advisors (Rossabi 1994: 415416). As his career advanced, he moved from place to place, either on campaign or performing administrative duties, and throughout this period he continued to maintain his Chinese retinue, which was also expanded to include advisors from other nationalities.

This must now be viewed as the optimum source for consulting the original text. The book contains a brief but informative introduction. Then, after the facsimile of the manuscript, it gives a reconstruction of the final, lost section. This utilizes several more recently discovered inscriptional sources not available to Cheng (1965). But it also differs from Cheng's work in another way. Cheng's approach may be called "narrow reconstruction," in that he only includes characters actually found in 'Phags-pa written sources.

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