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of Zhi Rhyme Group Kaikou Historical Strata and Reflexes Syllables in the Wu Dialects

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Thi article uses geographical “apparen time” to study historical sound change in “real ime”. The natural process of sound change is used to determine the sequential order of the changes. Based on analysis of kaikou syllables of the zhi rhyme group from 116 Wu dialects, it is clear that the main stratum of these finals is /i/, and later developments of /i/ all take the form of lowering the F2 value of the vowel. It is shown that the process of apicalization is found in syllables with MC jing, zhuang, zhi, zhang, and jian initial groups. According to the pronunciation of these syllables, the Wu dialects can be divided into seven sub-types. This article also discusses other related phonological phenomena, such as the pronunciation of the zhi 支 rhyme, the merger with division II syllables, and the changes caused by euphemism.


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