The Old Chinese Origin of Middle Chinese Voice Sibilants z/ʑ
Lixin Jin (School of Humanities, Wenzhou University, Zhejiang); Wenwen Huo (School of Humanities, Wenzhou University, Zhejiang)
Journal of Language Relationship, № 17/1-2, 2019 - p.7-17
This paper discusses the Old Chinese origin of voiced sibilants z- and ʑ- in Middle Chinese. First, based on careful examination of Guǎngyùn and other texts, we argue that, although the distinction between voiced affricates and fricatives was largely kept in the Guǎngyùn system, in some words the voiced affricates dz-/dʑ- had already merged into fricatives z-/ʑ- due to copying from other texts and/or sound change. Second, we argue that z- and ʑ in Middle Chinese are either in complementary distribution or show free variation in some occasions. Therefore, they had one single origin (/z/) before the onset of the sound change z- > ʑ-. Based on these arguments, we have carried out a detailed analysis of the xiéshēng series and found four different origins for /z/. They are *r-j-, *s-ɢ-, *z-, and *s-d- respectively.
Keywords: Old Chinese phonology, historical reconstruction, sound change, coronal affricates