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Title: Language contact and language comparison : the case of Bai
Other Titles: Yu yan jie chu yu yu yan bi jiao : yi Bai yu wei li
語言接觸與語言比較 : 以白語為例
Authors: Wang, Feng (汪鋒)
Department: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2004
Subjects: Bai language (China) -- Grammar, Comparative -- Chinese
Chinese language -- Grammar, Comparative -- Bai
Notes: xviii, 265 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2004
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 224-241)
CityU Call Number: PL4001.B16 W36 2004
Type: Thesis
Abstract: This study proposes the Distillation Method for the comparative studies on languages in contact, and applies the method to the Bai language, which comes under heavy contact with Chinese. The distillation method consists of the following steps: (i) Intra-comparison; (ii) Inter-comparison; and (iii) Recognition. The intra-comparison may exclude later borrowings and recent innovations in the Bai dialects after their separation from Proto-Bai. The second step, inter-comparison is used to exclude some early borrowings before Proto-Bai. Therefore, the data on the genetic transmission of the Bai language may be made cleaner. In the recognition part, two methods, the Inexplicability Principle and the Rank Theory can be made use To recognize the inheritance status of the lexical items in the cleaner data. The steps as outlined above must follow this order strictly, otherwise the distillation will not be effective and may result in erroneous eradication of lexical items from the oldest layer as well as wrong inclusion of borrowed or innovative items. Intra-comparison uses the first-hand data from nine different Bai dialects to reconstruct a Proto-Bai system, including the phonological system, some morphosyntactic structures and some basic words. In principle, Proto-Bai contains only the elements of the Bai dialects inherited from their common ancestor. Nineteen innovations, including phonological innovations, semantic innovations and lexical replacements are selected as criteria for subgrouping the nine modem Bai dialects. Two phylogenetic algorithms, PAUP and PENNY, are used to generate the tree for the nine Bai dialects based on the nineteen characters. This work proposes a subgroup structure for the Bai dialects - Western Bai vs. Eastern Bai. Inter-comparison mainly stratifies the Sino-Bai related words thus allowing the exclusion of borrowed layers in Proto-Bai from Chinese. The rest of the Sino-Bai related words after this distillation will be accumulated as the "oldest" layer, which represents the cleaner data. Two ways, namely, the Inexplicability Principle and Chen's (1996) Rank Theory are then used to recognize the refined Sino-Bai related words as cognates rather than borrowings. The comparison between Bai and Chinese does shed new light on Old Chinese phonology: (i) Two categories of qusheng (departing tone) in OC, one with -s endings, another without -s endings; (ii) The source of Chongniu Div.4 is proposed to have been derived from **-I-; (iii) Some unknown C- of consonant clusters were made clear, etc. From the viewpoint of Sino-Bai comparison, some interesting points on the comparative works on Sino-Tibetan languages are addressed. In this thesis, the patterns of simplification of Cvo.-C- clusters in Bai, Chinese, and Tibetan can be taken as an example to illustrate that more detailed rules are needed to establish the evolution from Proto-Sino-Tibetan. Also, multiple correspondences in Chinese to a category in Written Tibetan alert us into seriously treating stratification.
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