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Ming Shilu as Evidence of Devoicing of Voiced Obstruents in Siamese

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Title:Ming Shilu as Evidence of Devoicing of Voiced Obstruents in Siamese
Authors:Tangsiriwattanakul, Shinnakrit
Historical Phonology
Ming Dynasty
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Date Issued:07 Dec 2020
Abstract:Devoicing of Voiced Obstruents (DVO) was part of a transformative series of sound changes that characterised all the Tai languages: the original voiced stops became either aspirated or unaspirated when devoiced. Although previous studies show that they occurred before the 17th century (Harris, 1992; Pittayawat 2016), their precise dating is still unclear. While Brown (1965) and Chamberlain (1991) hold that DVO occurred prior to 13th Century, Shintani (1974) and Gedney (1989 [1978]) place it around 14th-17th Century. To arrive at the chronology of the sound change, I examine transcriptions of Siamese personal names in The Veritable Records of the Ming Dynasty (Míng Shí Lù – MSL), using Quasi-Early Nanjing Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese characters as the basis for sorting the correspondence. A careful analysis reveals that the Siamese original voiced stops started to be transcribed by the Chinese original voiceless aspirated stops in 1440s. This became prominent after 1480s, suggesting a completion of DVO by that time. The transcription patterns of the Siamese original voiced stops though imply a gradual transition from original voiced to breathy stops, and eventually to voiceless aspirated stops.
Pages/Duration:29 pages
Journal:Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society
Appears in Collections: A. Research Papers (Peer-Reviewed)

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