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A typology of readings of Chinese characters in traditional Zhuang manuscripts

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The Old Zhuang Script is an instance of a borrowed Chinese character script. Zhuang is the current designation for the northern and central Tai languages spoken in Guangxi in southern China. On the basis of a corpus of traditional texts, as recited by traditional owners, this article presents a typology of Zhuang readings of the standard Chinese characters in these texts. While some categories represent phonetic or semantic readings of Chinese characters, others correspond neither semantically nor phonetically to Chinese graphs, and often involve serial borrowing. The implications of this typology for the study of writing systems, and the Chinese writing system in particular, would seem to be considerable.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Melbourne Visiting Research Professor, Institute of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University d.holm@unimelb.edu.au

10.1163/1960602809X00036
/content/journals/10.1163/1960602809x00036
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/content/journals/10.1163/1960602809x00036
2009-01-01
2016-12-04

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