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By W. South Coblin

Phags-pa chinese language is the earliest type of the chinese to be written in a systematically devised alphabetic script. it truly is named after its author, an excellent thirteenth-century Tibetan scholar-monk who additionally served as political adviser to Kublai Khan. 'Phags-pa's invention of an alphabet for the Mongolian language is still an awfully vital accomplishment, either conceptually and essentially. With it he accomplished not anything under the production of a unified script for the entire a variety of peoples within the Mongolian empire, together with the primary Asian Turks and Sinitic-speaking Chinese.

'Phags-pa is of titanic value for the learn of premodern chinese language phonology. in spite of the fact that, the script is tough to learn and interpret, and secondary fabrics on it are scattered and never simply acquired. the current booklet is meant as a pragmatic advent to 'Phags-pa chinese language reports and a advisor for interpreting and examining the script. It contains elements. the 1st half is an introductory part comprising 4 chapters. this can be via a word list of 'Phags-pa chinese language kinds and their corresponding chinese language characters, including pinyin and stroke order indexes to these characters.The first introductory bankruptcy outlines the discovery of the 'Phags-pa writing approach, summarizes the key different types of fabric preserved in it, and describes the ancient and linguistic contexts during which this invention happened. Following chapters aspect the background of 'Phags-pa reviews, the alphabet and its interpretation, and the salient good points of the underlying sound method represented via the script, evaluating it with these of varied later varieties of chinese language which have been recorded in alphabetic resources.

A instruction manual of 'Phags-pa Chinese should be of certain curiosity to chinese language ancient phonologists and students thinking about the background and tradition of China and relevant Asia in the course of the Yuan interval (A.D. 1279–1368).

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Extra info for A handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese

Sample text

26 'Phags-pa Chinese Studies Work on the MGZY manuscript text actually began in the 1920s and 1930s, but publication of this research was delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War. A photostatic copy of the manuscript was acquired by Ishihama Juntaro in 1924-1925 during a trip to Europe,s and was consequently made available to Japanese scholars for study. As we have seen, Oshibuchi had access to it. By the outbreak of the war, a book by Hattori Shiro, containing a chapter dealing with the MGZY materials, was ready in manuscript; but much of this was destroyed before the end of hostilities (Nakano 1971: 18).

The probable number and identity of the missing entry lines is determined by comparison with the corpus of parallel material in the GiijTn yimhu 1 jiiyao, and the characters which belong to each lost group are identified. Then, the 27 A Handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese 'Phags-pa inscriptions and the Baijia:xing are combed for any examples of the said missing characters. Using this method, at least one example can be found for each of the missing lines, though by no means necessarily for every homophonous tone set belonging to each line.

In addition to his work on Chinese 'Phags-pa, his contributions to many different aspects of Mongolian 'Phags-pa studies are legion. For the most part these lie beyond our purview here. , Jl1nast (1987, 1988, 1989, 1999). There has recently been a renewal of interest in 'Phags-pa Chinese in North America. In particular we may note two newly published articles by Zhongwei Shen (2000, 2001). The first of these discusses a long-standing problem in the structure of the QYS from the standpoint of 'Phags-pa Chinese.

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