Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Layers in Dialectology
(2,171 words)

The family tree is the traditional model of language diversification in historical linguistics. This model shows how a single ancestor (a proto-language) develops dialects that in time, through the accumulation of changes, become distinct languages and how, through continued linguistic change, these daughter languages can diversify and split up into daughters of their own. On the basis of the family-tree model, the Swedish sinologue Bernhard Karlgren propounded the first full-blown model for Chinese linguistic history in his monumental work Etudes sur la phonologie chinoise (1…

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Zhongmin CHEN, “Layers in Dialectology”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 26 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000221>
First published online: 2015

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