What is it about?
This study sets out several phonological features in Caijia that are notable from a diachronic point of view. The Caijia language is an endangered language spoken in northwestern Guìzhōu, China. It was first formally documented in the early 1980s and is generally viewed as a Sinitic language. Some aspects of Caijia phonology are noteworthy from the perspective of historical phonology. There exist features which cannot be accounted for in terms of Middle Chinese (MC), such as the retention of the contrast between Old Chinese (OC) T-type and L-type onsets in words with d- or dr- in Middle Chinese. Moreover, Caijia also demonstrates features which are observed or preserved in Middle Chinese, but absent in mainstream modern Sinitic varieties, including the retention of bilabial stops in words with initials Fēi/Fū/Fèng. This study will also explore the implications certain phonological features have for the classification of Caijia in the Sinitic clade and examine the relationship between Caijia and Bai.
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Why is it important?
Caijia is an endangered, yet understudied language. This study enables readers to gain a better understanding of the language, as it unveils many aspects of Caijia, with a focus on phonological features that are noteworthy from a diachronic point of view. Caijia does not appear to be highly akin to other Sinitic languages; it is most likely an early offshoot in the Sinitic clade as it did not undergo several sound changes which affected most Sinitic languages.
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This page is a summary of: Phonological features of Caijia that are notable from a diachronic perspective, Journal of Historical Linguistics, September 2022, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/jhl.21025.lee.
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