Reconstructions of Old Chinese
Although Old Chinese is known from written records beginning around 1200 BC, the logographic script provides much more indirect and partial information about the pronunciation of the language than alphabetic systems used elsewhere. Several authors have produced reconstructions of Old Chinese phonology, beginning with the Swedish sinologist Bernard Karlgren in the 1940s and continuing to the present day; the method introduced by Karlgren is unique, comparing categories implied by ancient rhyming practice and the structure of Chinese characters with descriptions in medieval rhyme dictionaries, though more recent approaches have incorporated other kinds of evidence. Although the various notations appear to be different, they correspond with each other on most points. By the 1970s, it was agreed that Old Chinese had fewer points of articulation than Middle Chinese, a set of voiceless sonorants, labiovelar and labio-laryngeal initials. Since the 1990s, most authors have agreed on a six-vowel system and a re-organized system of liquids.
Earlier systems proposed voiced final stops to account for contacts between stop-final syllables and other tones, but many investigators now believe that Old Chinese lacked tonal distinctions, with Middle Chinese tones derived from consonant clusters at the end of the syllable. The major sources for the sounds of Old Chinese, covering most of the lexicon, are the sound system of Middle Chinese, the structure of Chinese characters, the rhyming patterns of the Classic of Poetry, dating from the early part of the 1st millennium BC. Several other kinds of evidence provide valuable clues; these include Min dialects, early Chinese transcriptions of foreign names, early loans between Chinese and neighbouring languages, families of Chinese words that appear to be related. Middle Chinese, or more Early Middle Chinese, is the phonological system of the Qieyun, a rhyme dictionary published in 601, with many revisions and expansions over the following centuries; these dictionaries set out to codify the pronunciations of characters to be used when reading the classics.
They indicated pronunciation using the fanqie method, dividing a syllable into an initial consonant and the rest, called the final. In his Qièyùn kǎo, the Cantonese scholar Chen Li performed a systematic analysis of a redaction of the Qieyun, identifying its initial and final categories, though not the sounds they represented. Scholars have attempted to determine the phonetic content of the various distinctions by comparing them with rhyme tables from the Song dynasty, pronunciations in modern varieties and loans in Korean and Vietnamese, but many details regarding the finals are still disputed. According to its preface, the Qieyun did not reflect a single contemporary dialect, but incorporated distinctions made in different parts of China at the time; the fact that the Qieyun system contains more distinctions than any single contemporary form of speech means that it retains additional information about the history of the language. The large number of initials and finals are unevenly distributed, suggesting hypotheses about earlier forms of Chinese.
For example, it includes 37 initials, but in the early 20th century Huang Kan observed that only 19 of them occurred with a wide range of finals, implying that the others were in some sense secondary developments. The logographic Chinese writing system does not use symbols for individual sounds as is done an alphabetic system. However, the vast majority of characters are phono-semantic compounds, in which a word is written by combining a character for a sounding word with a semantic indicator. Characters sharing a phonetic element are still pronounced alike, as in the character 中, adapted to write the words chōng and zhōng. In other cases the words in a phonetic series have different sounds both in Middle Chinese and in modern varieties. Since the sounds are assumed to have been similar at the time the characters were chosen, such relationships give clues to the lost sounds; the first systematic study of the structure of Chinese characters was Xu Shen's Shuowen Jiezi. The Shuowen was based on the small seal script standardized in the Qin dynasty.
Earlier characters from oracle bones and Zhou bronze inscriptions reveal relationships that were obscured in forms. Rhyme has been a consistent feature of Chinese poetry. While much old poetry still rhymes in modern varieties of Chinese, Chinese scholars have long noted exceptions; this was attributed to lax rhyming practice of early poets until the late-Ming dynasty scholar Chen Di argued that a former consistency had been obscured by sound change. This implied that the rhyming practice of ancient poets recorded information about their pronunciation. Scholars have studied various bodies of poetry to identify classes of rhyming words at different periods; the oldest such collection is the Shijing, containing songs ranging from the 10th to 7th centuries BC. The systematic study of Old Chinese rhymes began in the 17th century, when Gu Yanwu divided the rhyming words of the Shijing into ten groups. Gu's analysis was refined by Qing dynasty philologists increasing the number of rhyme groups. One of these scholars, Duan Yucai, stated the important principle that characters in the same phonetic series would be in the same rhyme group, making it possible to assign all words to rhyme groups.
A final revision by Wang Li in the 1930s produced the standard set of 31 rhyme groups. The Min dialects are believed to have split off before the Middle Chinese stage, because they contain distinctions that cannot be derived from th
The Emperor and the Assassin
The Emperor and the Assassin known as The First Emperor, is a 1998 - 1999 Chinese historical romance film based on Jing Ke's assassination attempt on the King of Qin, as described in Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian. The film was directed by Chen Kaige and stars Gong Li, Zhang Fengyi, Li Xuejian, Zhou Xun; the film won the Technical Prize at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. It was the most expensive Chinese film costing US$20 million; the film covers much of Ying Zheng's career, recalling his early experiences as a hostage and foreshadowing his dominance over China. It depicts him as an idealist seeking to impose a peace or unity on the world despite various betrayals and losses, its story consists of three main incidents: the attempt by Jing Ke to assassinate Ying Zheng in 227 BCE. The first incident is the climax of the film, with earlier scenes foreshadowing it. In the film, Ying Zheng sends his concubine Lady Zhao to the Yan state as a spy to enlist a Yan assassin to attempt to assassinate him, intending to use that as a casus belli to start a war against Yan.
Lady Zhao persuades Jing Ke to perform the assassination. After learning of Ying Zheng's massacre of the children in her home state of Zhao, Lady Zhao desires the assassination in earnest; the attempt fails, but Ying Zheng expresses his fury when his associates make no attempt to stop the assassin and he is forced to kill Jing Ke himself. He is further saddened. Gong Li as Lady Zhao Zhang Fengyi as Jing Ke Li Xuejian as Ying Zheng Gu Yongfei as Queen Dowager Wang Zhiwen as Lao Ai Lü Xiaohe as Fan Yuqi Sun Zhou as Crown Prince Dan of Yan Chen Kaige as Lü Buwei Pan Changjiang as prison official Zhou Xun as blind girl Cong Zhijun as old official Li Longyin as shop owner Li Qiang as Han messenger Zhao Benshan as Gao Jianli Ding Haifeng as Qin Wuyang Hu Yang as young official Zhang Shen as dwarf Li Hongtao as Li Si Wei Chao as Doujiyan Han Dong as Qin cart driver Li Zhonglin as Qin prison guard Liu Tielian as palace ritual eunuch Kong Qinsan as face tattooist Xie Zengran as younger Wang brother Chang Tao as older Wang brother Zhang Jinzhan as Yan ambassador Zhao Yanguo as artist Lin Luyue as warrior Liu Jiacheng as warrior Chu Xu as warrior Liu Bo as warrior Liu Liang as warrior The Emperor and the Assassin won the Technical Grand Prize at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival and was in competition for the Palme d'Or.
Zhao Fei was awarded the 1999 Golden Rooster Award for Best Cinematography. Chen Kaige noted upon the film's premiere at the Cannes Film Festival that he hoped The Emperor and the Assassin would hold relevance to the events of the time, notably the Yugoslav Wars. List of historical drama films of Asia The Emperor's Shadow Hero Rise of the Great Wall Qin Shi Huang Assassinator Jing Ke Official site from Sony Pictures Classics The Emperor and the Assassin on IMDb The Emperor and the Assassin at AllMovie The Emperor and the Assassin at Rotten Tomatoes The Emperor and the Assassin at Metacritic
Standard Chinese known as Modern Standard Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese, or Mandarin, is a standard variety of Chinese, the sole official language of China, the de facto official language of Taiwan and one of the four official languages of Singapore. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese. Like other varieties of Chinese, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object word order, it has more initial consonants but final consonants and tones than southern varieties. Standard Chinese is an analytic language, though with many compound words. There are two standardised forms of the language, namely Putonghua in Mainland China and Guoyu in Taiwan. Aside from a number of differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, Putonghua is written using simplified Chinese characters, Guoyu is written using traditional Chinese characters.
Many characters are identical between the two systems. In Chinese, the standard variety is known as: 普通话 in the People's Republic of China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau. Standard Chinese is commonly referred to by generic names for "Chinese", notably 中文. In total, there have been known over 20 various names for the language; the term Guoyu had been used by non-Han rulers of China to refer to their languages, but in 1909 the Qing education ministry applied it to Mandarin, a lingua franca based on northern Chinese varieties, proclaiming it as the new "national language". The name Putonghua has a long, albeit unofficial, history, it was used as early as 1906 in writings by Zhu Wenxiong to differentiate a modern, standard Chinese from classical Chinese and other varieties of Chinese. For some linguists of the early 20th century, the Putonghua, or "common tongue/speech", was conceptually different from the Guoyu, or "national language"; the former was a national prestige variety. Based on common understandings of the time, the two were, in fact, different.
Guoyu was understood as formal vernacular Chinese, close to classical Chinese. By contrast, Putonghua was called "the common speech of the modern man", the spoken language adopted as a national lingua franca by conventional usage; the use of the term Putonghua by left-leaning intellectuals such as Qu Qiubai and Lu Xun influenced the People's Republic of China government to adopt that term to describe Mandarin in 1956. Prior to this, the government used both terms interchangeably. In Taiwan, Guoyu continues to be the official term for Standard Chinese; the term Guoyu however, is less used in the PRC, because declaring a Beijing dialect-based standard to be the national language would be deemed unfair to speakers of other varieties and to the ethnic minorities. The term Putonghua, on the contrary, implies nothing more than the notion of a lingua franca. During the government of a pro-Taiwan independence coalition, Taiwan officials promoted a different reading of Guoyu as all of the "national languages", meaning Hokkien and Formosan as well as Standard Chinese.
Huayu, or "language of the Chinese nation" simply meant "Chinese language", was used in overseas communities to contrast Chinese with foreign languages. Over time, the desire to standardise the variety of Chinese spoken in these communities led to the adoption of the name "Huayu" to refer to Mandarin; this name avoids choosing a side between the alternative names of Putonghua and Guoyu, which came to have political significance after their usages diverged along political lines between the PRC and the ROC. It incorporates the notion that Mandarin is not the national or common language of the areas in which overseas Chinese live. Hanyu, or "language of the Han people", is another umbrella term used for Chinese. However, it has confusingly two different meanings: Standard Chinese; this term, as well as Hànzú, is a modern concept. A related concept is Hànzì; the term "Mandarin" is a translation of Guānhuà, which referred to the lingua franca of the late Chinese empire. The Chinese term is obsolete as a name for the standard language, but is used by linguists to refer to the major group of Mandarin dialects spoken natively across most of northern and southwestern China.
In English, "Mandarin" may refer to the standard language, the dialect group as a whole, or to historic forms such as the late Imperial lingua franca. The name "Modern Standard Mandarin" is sometimes used by linguists who wish to distinguish the current state of the shared language from other northern and historic dialects; the Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent
Yale romanization of Cantonese
The Yale romanization of Cantonese was developed by Gerard P. Kok for his and Parker Po-fei Huang's textbook Speak Cantonese circulated in looseleaf form in 1952 but published in 1958. Unlike the Yale romanization of Mandarin, it is still used in books and dictionaries for foreign learners of Cantonese, it shares some similarities with Hanyu Pinyin in that unvoiced, unaspirated consonants are represented by letters traditionally used in English and most other European languages to represent voiced sounds. For example, is represented as b in Yale, whereas its aspirated counterpart, is represented as p. Students attending The Chinese University of Hong Kong's New-Asia Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center are taught using Yale romanization. Only the finals m and ng can be used as standalone nasal syllables. Modern Cantonese has up to seven phonemic tones. Cantonese Yale represents these tones using a combination of diacritics and the letter h. Traditional Chinese linguistics treats the tones in syllables ending with a stop consonant as separate "entering tones".
Cantonese Yale follows modern linguistic conventions in treating these the same as the high-flat, mid-flat and low-flat tones, respectively. Sample transcription of one of the 300 Tang Poems by Meng Haoran: Cantonese phonology Jyutping Guangdong Romanization Cantonese Pinyin Sidney Lau romanisation S. L. Wong Barnett–Chao Romanisation Yale romanization of Mandarin Yale romanization of Korean Gwaan, Choi-wa 關彩華. English-Cantonese Dictionary - 英粤字典: Cantonese in Yale Romanization. Chinese University Press. ISBN 962-201-970-6. Matthews, Stephen & Yip, Virginia. Cantonese. A Comprehensive Grammar. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-08945-X. Ng Lam, Sim-yuk & Chik, Hon-man. Chinese-English Dictionary 漢英小字典: Cantonese in Yale Romanization, Mandarin in Pinyin. Chinese University Press. ISBN 962-201-922-6. Comparison chart of Romanization for Cantonese with Yale, S. Lau, Toho and LSHK MDBG free online Chinese-English dictionary Online Chinese Character to Yale Romanization of Cantonese lookup Conversion tool
Shu was an ancient state in what is now Sichuan Province. It was based on the Chengdu Plain, in the western Sichuan basin with some extension northeast to the upper Han River valley. To the east was the Ba tribal confederation. Further east down the Han and Yangtze rivers was the State of Chu. To the north over the Qinling Mountains was the State of Qin. To the west and south were tribal peoples of little military power; this independent Shu state was conquered by the state of Qin in 316 BC. Recent archaeological discoveries at Sanxingdui and Jinsha thought to be sites of Shu culture indicate the presence of a unique civilization in this region before the Qin conquest. In subsequent periods of Chinese history the Sichuan area continued to be referred to as Shu after this ancient state, states founded in the same region were called Shu. Before 316 BC the Sichuan Basin was isolated from what was China, centered in the Yellow River basin to the northeast; the discovery of Sanxingdui in 1987 was a major surprise since it indicated a major semi-Chinese culture, unknown.
Circa 2050-1250 BC the site of Sanxingdui 40 km north of Chengdu appears to have been the center of a extensive kingdom. Objects found in two treasure pits are in a style distinct from objects found from further north; this culture is suggested by many archaeologists to be that of the Shu kingdom. There are few mentions of Shu in the early Chinese historical records until the 4th century BC. Although there are possible references to a "Shu" in Shang Dynasty oracle bones inscriptions that indicate contact between Shu and Shang, it is not clear if the Shu mentioned refer to the kingdom in Sichuan or other different polities elsewhere. Shu was first mentioned in Shujing as one of the allies of King Wu of Zhou who helped defeated the Shang in 1046 BC at the Battle of Muye. However, shortly after Zhou's conquest, it was mentioned in Yizhoushu that a subordinate of King Wu led an expedition against Shu. After the battle of Muye, northern influences on Shu seem to have increased and decreased while the Shu remained culturally distinct.
The expulsion of the Zhou from the Wei River valley in 771 BC increased Shu's isolation. Written accounts of Shu are a mixture of mythological stories and historical legends found in local annals and miscellaneous notes, which include the Han dynasty compilation Shuwang benji and the Jin dynasty Chronicles of Huayang. There are a few names of semi-legendary kings, such as Cancong, Boguan and Duyu. According to Chronicles of Huayang, Cancong was the first of the legendary kings and had protruding eyes, while Duyu taught the people agriculture and transformed into a cuckoo after his death. In 666 BC a man from Chu called Bieling founded the Kaiming dynasty which lasted twelve generations until the Qin conquest. Legend has it that Bieling had died in Chu and his body floated upriver to Shu, whereupon he came back to life. While at Shu, he was successful in managing a flood and Duyu abdicated in his favor. A account states that the Kaiming kings occupied the far south of Shu before travelling up the Min River and taking over from Duyu.
As the state of Chu expanded westward up the Han and Yangtze valleys it pushed the Ba peoples west toward Shu. For the 5th and 4th centuries BC in Sichuan archaeologists speak of a mixed Ba-Shu culture, although the two peoples remained distinct. There was some Chu influence on the Shu court. In 474 BC Shu emissaries presented gifts to the Qin court, the first recorded contact between these two states. Shu troops crossed the Qinling Mountains and approached the Qin capital of Yong, in 387 Shu and Qin troops clashed near Hanzhong on the upper Han river. About 356-338 BC Shang Yang strengthened the Qin state by centralizing it. In 337 BC Shu emissaries congratulated King Huiwen of Qin on his accession. At about this time the Stone Cattle Road was built over the mountains to connect Shu. About 316 BC the Marquis of Zu, who held part of the Stone Cattle Road, became involved with Ba and quarreled with his brother, the twelfth Kaiming King; the Marquis was defeated and fled to Ba and to Qin. Zhang Yi proposed that Qin should ignore these barbarians and continue its eastward expansion onto the central plain.
Sima Cuo proposed that Qin should use its superior army to annex Shu, develop its resources and use the added strength for a attack eastward. Sima Cuo's proposal was accepted and both advisors were sent south as generals; the two armies met near Jaimeng on the Jialing River in Ba territory. The Kaiming king lost several battles and withdrew southward to Wuyang where he was captured and killed. Qin turned on its allies and annexed Ba. In 314 BC the late Kaiming king's son was appointed Marquis Yaotong of Shu to rule in conjunction with a Qin governor. In 311 BC an official named Chen Zhuang killed Yaotong. Sima Cuo and Zhang Yi again killed Chen Zhuang. Another Kaiming called. In 301 BC he chose suicide when confronted with Sima Cuo's army, his son, the last Kaiming marquis, reigned from 300 until 285 BC when he was put to death. The conquest had more than doubled Qin's territory and gave it an area safe from the other states except Chu, but the land had to be dev
Hundred Schools of Thought
The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 B. C. during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period of ancient China. An era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China, it was fraught with chaos and bloody battles, but it was known as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy because a broad range of thoughts and ideas were developed and discussed freely; this phenomenon has been called the Contention of a Hundred Schools of Thought. The thoughts and ideas discussed and refined during this period have profoundly influenced lifestyles and social consciousness up to the present day in East Asian countries and the East Asian diaspora around the world; the intellectual society of this era was characterized by itinerant scholars, who were employed by various state rulers as advisers on the methods of government and diplomacy. This period ended with the subsequent purge of dissent. A traditional source for this period is Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian.
The autobiographical section of the Shiji, the "Taishigong Zixu", refers to the schools of thought described below. Confucianism is the body of thought, its written legacy lies in the Confucian Classics, which became the foundation of traditional society. Confucius, or Kongzi, looked back to the early days of the Zhou dynasty for an ideal socio-political order, he believed that the only effective system of government necessitated prescribed relationships for each individual: "Let the ruler be a ruler and the subject a subject". Furthermore, he contended. To Confucius, the functions of government and social stratification were facts of life to be sustained by ethical values. Mencius, or Mengzi, formulated his teachings directly in response to Confucius; the effect of the combined work of Confucius, the codifier and interpreter of a system of relationships based on ethical behavior, Mencius, the synthesizer and developer of applied Confucianist thought, was to provide traditional Chinese society with a comprehensive framework by which to order every aspect of life.
There were many accretions to the body of Confucian thought and over the millennia, from within and without the Confucian school. Interpretations adapted to contemporary society allowed for flexibility within Confucianism, while the fundamental system of modeled behavior from ancient texts formed its philosophical core. Diametrically opposed to Mencius, in regards to human nature, was the interpretation of Xunzi, another Confucian follower. Xunzi preached; the School of Law or Legalism doctrine was formulated by Li Kui, Shang Yang, Han Feizi, Li Si, who maintained that human nature was incorrigibly selfish. The Legalists exalted the state above all, seeking its prosperity and martial prowess over the welfare of the common people. Legalism influenced the philosophical basis for the imperial form of government. During the Han Dynasty, the most practical elements of Confucianism and Legalism were taken to form a sort of synthesis, marking the creation of a new form of government that would remain intact until the late 19th century.
Philosophical Taoism or Daoism developed into the second most significant stream of Chinese thought. Its formulation is attributed to the legendary sage Laozi, said to predate Confucius, Zhuangzi; the focus of Taoism is on the individual within the natural realm rather than the individual within society. In many ways the opposite of rigid Confucian morality, Taoism was for many of its adherents a complement to their ordered daily lives. A scholar serving as an official would follow Confucian teachings, but at leisure or in retirement might seek harmony with nature as a Taoist recluse. Politically, Taoism advocates for rule through inaction, avoiding excessive interference. Mohism or Moism was developed by followers of Mozi. Though the school did not survive through the Qin dynasty, Mohism was seen as a major rival of Confucianism in the period of the Hundred Schools of Thought, its philosophy rested on the idea of impartial care: Mozi believed that "everyone is equal before heaven", that people should seek to imitate heaven by engaging in the practice of collective love.
This is translated and popularized as "universal love", misleading as Mozi believed that the essential problem of human ethics was an excess of partiality in compassion, not a deficit in compassion as such. His aim was to re-evaluate behavior, not attitudes, his epistemology can be regarded as primitive materialist empiricism.