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Liao Chinese

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Chapter Summary

We know very little of the type of Chinese spoken far north of Hebei during the Liao dynasty, or what type of Chinese was the basis of the many Chinese loanwords transcribed in the Kitan inscriptions. It could have been similar to the Chinese of the Tang capital, or its variants in the northwest of China during the late Tang and the post-Tang period. An alternative view proposed by Gu Jiguang and adapted by Pulleyblank "explain the rebellion in the context of the long-standing alienation of Hebei from the Tang court. Judging from the Kitan transcriptions of Chinese words in the inscriptions, it would seem that voicing and/or aspiration was not phonemic in Kitan, and that the basic Kitan phonemes were lax b d g, which may have had aspirated allophones". There are many studies of Song and Yuan rhymes, but few deal with the Liao and Jin periods.

Keywords: Hebei; Kitan inscriptions; Liao Chinese; Tang court



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