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Open Access The Sino-Miao-Yao Relationship Revisited

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The Sino-Miao-Yao Relationship Revisited

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image of Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics

Between Chinese and Miao-Yao there exist a number of words which are similar in form and meaning. Whether Chinese is genetically related to Miao-Yao depends largely upon whether these words are cognates or loan words. This paper reviews the words which have been proposed as cognates, and compares them with cognates between Chinese and Tibeto-Burman. It is argued that some of these words are borrowed, whereas others are chance resemblances. Despite efforts made by many scholars, systematic correspondences between Chinese and Miao-Yao have not been established. The reason is that these words were borrowed from Chinese into Miao-Yao at different times and in different locations. This also explains why few of these words may be considered basic vocabulary.


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