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Open Access The Nature of Literary vs. Colloquial Readings in the Suzhou Dialect

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The Nature of Literary vs. Colloquial Readings in the Suzhou Dialect

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This short paper first explores the complicated relationship of Old Style vs. New Style and Literary vs. Colloquial strata in the Suzhou dialect. It then discusses four related issues: 1. age groups and sound changes; 2. the usage of retroflex initials in distinguishing Literary vs. Colloquial strata; 3. characters in the first and second divisions of the Xie group 蟹攝 that have double readings; 4. hekou 合口 characters in the third division of the Zhi group 止攝 that have double readings. Finally, it is concluded that there were two colloquial strata in the Suzhou dialect, an earlier one and a later one, with the literary stratum sandwiched in the middle.


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