Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Historical Phonology
(3,379 words)

Research on the phonological history of a language often relies on written materials, and in this regard Chinese characters, which have been in continuous use from their creation several thousand years ago until the present, may seem to be a boon in the diachronic study of Chinese. However, Chinese characters are logographic. In other words, a character typically represents a morpheme, monosyllabic in pronunciation but giving no direct i…

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Jingtao SUN, “Historical Phonology”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 28 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000312>
First published online: 2015

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