This article introduces the basic structural characteristics of wh-questions in Late Archaic Chinese (approximately 5th–3rd cents. BCE) and the principle changes in Middle Chinese which led to the emergence of modern Chinese wh-questions. The lemma also briefly summarizes the emergence of the most common wh-words in use in modern Mandarin.
1. Late Archaic Chinese
Wáng (1958) divides Late Archaic Chinese wh-words into three classes, depending on the initial consonant in the reconstructed forms.