The Evolution of the Chinese Language; As Exemplifying the Origin and Growth of Human Speech

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General Books LLC, 2009 - 68 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1888. Excerpt: ... and i by the narrowness of the aperture. These primitive vowels were followed by u, il which are less visible';from without and would be later. There are other Chinese vowels found in j= tan, T ting, W keny, - she, - chio. All these vowels may have been formed from a by tendency to variation. The modern Chinese o represents the ancient a. The i of old Chinese as formed by the convex front of the tongue advancing to very near the palatal arch is after s, sh, ch, in modern Chinese exchanged for a peculiar vowel % formed by narrowing the orifice between the tongue and palate. The older o and ii have both become u. So it is with other vowels. The old have changed into the new. The lesson taught by studying the ancient sounds and the dialects is that the farther we go back the nearer we approach to unity. As the consonants are reduced to labials in the first instance, so the vowels are reduced to a which would be the first to obtain currency because it is most observable by the eye. III. GROUPING OF THE LETTERS. The tongue of any one speaking is from time to time moved upward to contract or shut the sound passage. The lower lip moves upward also. This makes a fourfold division, that is to say we have gutturals, palatals, dentals and labials. The upper lip and teeth with the palate are at rest. The lower lip, and teeth with the tip, front and back of the tongue are always kept moving. The air coming from the lungs may be a breathing or a voice. In either case there is the formation of a letter in Chinese. The breathing is h which may be high or low, the high breathing being caused by increased quickness in vibration in the sound passage at the back of the tongue. With voice the letters formed may he b, d, g, z, zh, m etc. The vowels are also in two series. ...

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