LINGUIST List 31.1916

Wed Jun 10 2020

Books: The Historical Phonology of Tibetan, Burmese, and Chinese: Hill

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 22-May-2020
From: Dan Iredale <>
Subject: The Historical Phonology of Tibetan, Burmese, and Chinese: Hill
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Title: The Historical Phonology of Tibetan, Burmese, and Chinese
Published: 2019
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Nathan W. Hill
Electronic: ISBN: 9781108601450 Pages: 374 Price: U.S. $ 88.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9781107146488 Pages: 374 Price: U.S. $ 110.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9781107146488 Pages: 374 Price: U.K. £ 85.00

The discovery of sound laws by comparing attested languages is the method which has unlocked the history of European languages stretching back thousands of years before the appearance of written records, e.g. Latin p- corresponds to English f- (pes, foot; primus, first; plenus, full). Although Burmese, Chinese, and Tibetan have long been regarded as related, the systematic exploration of their shared history has never before been attempted. Tracing the history of these three languages using just such sound laws, this book sheds light on the prehistoric language from which they descend. Written for readers with little linguistic knowledge of these languages, but fully explicit and copiously indexed for the specialist, this work will serve as the bedrock for future progress in the study of these languages.

Part I. Tibetan:
1. Old Tibetan
2. Classical Tibetan
3. The Bodish languages
4. Tibetan diachronic phonology:
4.1. From Old Tibetan to proto-Bodish
4.2. Reprise: from proto-Bodish to Old Tibetan
4.3. From proto-Bodish to Trans-Himalayan
4.4. Reprise: from Trans-Himalayan to proto-Bodish
4.5. Diachronic mysteries
Part II. Burmese:
1. Old Burmese
2. Written Burmese
3. The Burmish languages
4. The Loloish languages
5. Burmese diachronic phonology:
5.1. From Burmese to proto-Burmish
5.2. Reprise: proto-Burmish to Old Burmese
5.3. From proto-Burmish to Trans-Himalayan
5.4. Reprise: Trans-Himalayan to proto-Burmish
5.5. Diachronic mysteries
Part III. Chinese:
1. Old Chinese:
1.1. Middle Chinese
1.2. Rhymes of the Shījīng
1.3. Structure of Chinese characters
1.4. Less traditional sources of data for reconstructing Old Chinese
2. Simplex initials of Old Chinese:
2.1. Internal reconstruction of Middle Chinese initials
2.2. Expanding the Old Chinese initials using xiéshēng evidence
3. Old Chinese pre-initials:
3.1. Reconstructing tight pre-initials using xiéshēng evidence
3.2. Reconstructing tight pre-initials on the basis of morphological speculation
3.3. Reconstructing tight pre-initials using proto-Mĭn
3.4. Reconstructing tight pre-initials using loans into Vietic
3.5. Reconstructing tight pre-initials using loans into Hmong-Mien
3.6. Reconstructing tight pre-initials using loans into Tai-Kadai
3.7. Reconstructing loose pre-initials
3.8. Reconstructing loose pre-initials using proto-Mĭn
3.9. Reconstructing loose pre-initials using xiéshēng evidence
3.10. Reconstructing loose using loans into non-Sinitic languages
3.11. Reconstructing loose pre-initials on the basis of morphological speculation
4. Old Chinese medial
5. Old Chinese vowels
6. Origins of the tones and final clusters
7. Finals of Old Chinese
8. How to reconstruct a word in Old Chinese
9. From Old Chinese to Trans-Himalayan
10. Reprise: Trans-Himalayan to Old Chinese
11. Diachronic mysteries
Part IV. Trans-Himalayan:
1. Overview of Trans-Himalayan phonology
2. Initials of Trans-Himalayan:
2.1. Simplex resonants
2.2. Simplex obstruents
3. Vowels of Trans-Himalayan
4. Finals of Trans-Himalayan
5. Reprise of Diachronic mysteries
6. Concluding remarks.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Burmese (mya)
                            Chinese, Mandarin (cmn)
                            Tibetan (bod)
Language Family(ies): Sino-Tibetan

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 10-Jun-2020