Tonal Evolution and Tonal Reconstruction in Chinese

  • Pang-Hsin Ting
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 36)


Modern Chinese is a tone language. Traditionally, tonality has also been considered to be a characteristic of Archaic Chinese, a view that has been challenged recently by some scholars. If indeed there were no tones in Archaic Chinese, the origin and evolution of modern tones would present a problem deserving further investigation. In the rich literature of Chinese phonology, we have found tonal classifications and descriptions relevant to the reality of tones of different periods. If there were tones in Archaic Chinese, it would be important to trace the regular path of tonal change throughout the long history of the Chinese language.


Tang Dynasty Level Tone Tonal System Sandhi Tone Contour Tone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baxter, William H.: 1992, A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chang, Kun: 1975, ‘Tonal developments among Chinese dialects’, BIHP 46, 636–710.Google Scholar
  3. Chao, Yuen Ren: 1928, Xiandai Wuyu de Yanjiu [Studies in the Modern Wu Dialects], Peking: Qinghua Xuexiao Yanjiuyuan.Google Scholar
  4. Chao, Yuen Ren: 1948, ‘Zhongshan Fangyan [The Zhongshan Dialect]’, BIHP 20, 48–73.Google Scholar
  5. Cheng, Tsai-fa: 1966, ‘Hanyu Yinyunshi de Fenqi Wenti’ [Problems in the Periodization of Chinese Phonology], BIHP 36, 635–648.Google Scholar
  6. Cheung, Yat-shing: 1968, ‘Shilun Shanggu Sisheng’ [A Study of the Tones in Archaic Chinese], Journal of the Institute of Chinese Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong 1, 113–170.Google Scholar
  7. Egerod, Sören: 1956, The Lungtu Dialect: A Descriptive and Historical Study of a South Chinese Idiom, Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard.Google Scholar
  8. Haudricourt, André: 1954a, ‘De L’origine des Tons en Vietnamien’,Journal Asiatique 242, 68–82.Google Scholar
  9. Haudricourt, André: 1954b, ‘Comment Reconstruire le Chinois Archïque’, Word 10, 351–64.Google Scholar
  10. Ho, Dah-an: 1981, Nanbeichao Yunbu Yanbian Yanjiu [A study on the Development of Rhyme Categories in the Northern and Southern Dynasties], Ph.D. dissertation, National Taiwan University.Google Scholar
  11. Ho, Dah-an: 1984, ‘Biendu Xianxiang de Liangzhong Guanshi Yiyi: Jianlun Jinjiang Fangyan de Gudiaozhi’ [Two Diachronic Implications of Phonemic Variation, with Discussion on Original Values of Jinjiang Tones]. BIHP 55, 115–132.Google Scholar
  12. Hebei Beijing Shifan Xueyuan and Zhongguo Kexueyuan Hebeisheng Fenyuan Yuwen Yanjiusuo (1961) Hebei Fangyan Gaikuang [Outline of the Hebei Dialects], Hebei: Xinhua.Google Scholar
  13. K’ung, Chung-wen: 1987, Yunjing Yanjiu [A study on the Yün-ching], Taipei: Student Book Company.Google Scholar
  14. Li, Fang-Kuei: 1971, ‘Shangguyin Yanjiu’ [Studies on Archaic Chinese], THJCS 9, 1–61.Google Scholar
  15. Translated by G. L. Mattos (1974–75) ‘Studies on Archaic Chinese’, Monumenta Serica 31, 219–287.Google Scholar
  16. Luo, Changpei and Zhou, Zumuo: 1958, Han Wei Jin Nanbeichao Yunbu Yanbian Yanjiu [A study on the development of rhyme categories in the Han, Wei, Jin, and the Northern and Southern Dynasties], Volume 1, Peking: Kexue.Google Scholar
  17. Lung, Yü-ch’un: 1981, ‘Li Deng Shenglei kao’ [A study of Li Deng’s Shenglei]’ Papers in Chinese Literature in Honor of Ching-nung T’ai on His Eightieth Birthday, Taipei: Linking Publishing Company, pp. 51–66.Google Scholar
  18. Lyu, Shuxiang (1980): ‘Danyang Fangyan de Shengdiao Xitong’ [The tonal System of the Danyang Dialect], FY 1980, 85–122.Google Scholar
  19. Mair, Victor H. and Mei, Tsu-lin: 1991, ‘The Sanskrit origins of recent style prosody’, HJAS 51, 375–470.Google Scholar
  20. Mei, Tsu-lin: 1970, ‘Tone and prosody in middle Chinese and the origin of the rising tone’, HJAS 30, 86–110.Google Scholar
  21. Mei, Tsu-lin: 1982, ‘Shuo Shangsheng’ [On the Rising Tone], THJCS 14, 233–241.Google Scholar
  22. Norman, Jerry: 1988, Chinese, Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Pan, Wuyun: 1982, ‘Guanyu Hanyu Shengdiao Fazhan de Jige Wenti’ [Several Problems in the Development of Chinese Tones], JCL 10, 359–385.Google Scholar
  24. Pulleyblank, Edwin G.: 1962, ‘The consonantal system of old Chinese’, Part 2, Asia Major 9, 206–265.Google Scholar
  25. Pulleyblank, Edwin G.: 1973, ‘Some further evidence regarding old Chinese -s and its time of disappearance’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 36, 368–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pulleyblank, Edwin G.: 1978, ‘The nature of the middle Chinese tones and their development’, JCL 6, 173–203.Google Scholar
  27. Pulleyblank, Edwin G.: 1979, ‘Some examples of colloquial pronunciation from the Southern Liang Dynasty’, in Wolfgang Bauer (ed.), Studia Sino-Mongolica: Festschrift fur Herbert Franke, Wiesbaden: Steiner, pp. 315–327.Google Scholar
  28. Pulleyblank, Edwin G.: 1984, Middle Chinese: A Study in Historical Phonology, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  29. Sagart, Laurent: 1986, ‘On the departing tone’, JCL 14, 90–113.Google Scholar
  30. Ting, Pang-Hsin: 1975a, Chinese Phonology of the Wei-Chin Period: Reconstruction of the Final as Reflected in Poetry, Special publication No. 65, Taipei: Institute of History and Philology.Google Scholar
  31. Ting, Pang-Hsin: 1975b, ‘Ping Ze Xinkao’ [A New Interpretation of the Even and Oblique Tones], BIHP 47, 1–15.Google Scholar
  32. Ting, Pang-Hsin: 1981, ‘Hanyu Shengdiao Yuanyu Yunwei Shuo zhi Jiantao’ [Notes on the Origin of Chinese Tones], Proceedings of the International Conference on Sinology, Academia Sinica, pp. 267–83.Google Scholar
  33. Ting, Pang-Hsin: 1982, ‘Some aspects of tonal development in Chinese dialects’, BIHP 53(4), 629–644.Google Scholar
  34. Ting, Pang-Hsin: 1984, ‘Wuyu Shengdiao zhi Yanjiu’ [Reconstruction of proto-Wu Tones], BIHP 55, 755–788.Google Scholar
  35. Ting, Pang-Hsin: 1987, ‘Shanggu Yinshengzi Ju Fuyin Yunwei Shuo Buzheng’ [Additional Evidence for Final Voiced Consonants in Archaic Chinese], Kuo-wen Hsüeh-pao of the National Taiwan Normal University 16, 59–66.Google Scholar
  36. Ting, Pang-Hsin: 1989, ‘Hanyu Shengdiao de Yanbian’ [Development of Chinese tones], Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Sinology, Academia Sinica, pp. 395–408.Google Scholar
  37. Tu, Ch’i-jung: 1976, ‘Lun Zhonggu Shengdiao’ [A note on Ancient Chinese Tones], Chung-hua Wen-hua Fu-hsing Yëh-k’an 9, 22–30.Google Scholar
  38. Wang, William S.-Y.: 1967, ‘Phonological feature of tone’, IJAL 33, 93–105.Google Scholar
  39. Wang, William S.-Y.: 1987, ‘A note on tone development’, Wang Li Memorial Volumes, English Volume, ed. by The Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong, Joint, Hong Kong, pp. 435–43.Google Scholar
  40. Xia, Xie: 1840, Shu Yun [On the Rhymes], Peking: Fujin.Google Scholar
  41. Ye, Xiangling: 1958, ‘Wujiang Fangyan de Shengdiao’ [Tones of the Wujiang Dialect], Fanyan yu Putonghua Jikan 5, 8–11.Google Scholar
  42. Yuan, Jiahua: 1960, Hanyu Fangyan Gaiyao [Outline of Chinese dialects], Peking: Wenzi Gaige Chubanshe.Google Scholar
  43. Zhang, Shengyu: 1984, ‘Yinchuan Fangyan de Shengdiao’ [Tones in the Yinchuan Dialect], FY 1984, 19–26.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pang-Hsin Ting

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations