Middle Chinese and Japanese Kanji comparison


New Member
I'm currently doing my thesis on Japanese Go-on and Kan-on with It's Original Chinese Sounds Comparison, with "able to answer whatever reason behind any difference found in both readings with Chinese and Japanese phonology changes" as the purpose. As we all know, Go-on is created based on MC Southern dialect, while Kan-on is based on Tang's Chang An dialect (north). On Kan-on comparison, I found no problem at all, thanks to the abundant data sources about MC North dialect reconstruction (Qie Yun, Guang Yun, Yun Jing). But I really have a hard time on Go-on comparison. One because lack of data. Its seems I couldnt find any IPA reconstruction on MC Southern dialect (namely Wu). I'm currently using these books for references: Maspero's Le dialecte de Tch'ang-ngan sous les T'ang (in Chinese translated version, I'm using this book intensively on Kan-on comparison as its really helps), Dong Tong He's Han Yu Yin Yun Xue 董同龢 漢語音韻學, Liu Zhi Cheng's Han Yu Yin Yun Xue Yan Jiu Dao Lun 劉志成 漢語音韻學 研究導論, and Shoji Oshima's Kanji Denrai 大島正二 漢字傳來. But its still not enough as you can see.
I'm at the end of my tether, as the deadline to submit the thesis and the oral defense examination is getting closer and closer each day. So here I am, asking you all about some unanswered last question that still bother me, which I havent find any satisfactory answers. So please do share your knowledge with me, if you know some of the answers, and I would really grateful. Thank you for your attention, and my apologize for my bad English.
Btw, if you found some good sites which maybe has the answer, but written in Chinese or Japanese, please tell me so. I am Japanese and Chinese literate.
Here are the questions. I'll try my best to make it brief.
1. on 通 she, 東 rime, division I, the entering tone 屋 rime. All IPA reconstruction which I found on this particular rime is [uk], but why both Go-on and Kan-on readings are "oku"? Maspero said that on EMC this rime was [ung]/[uk], on LMC this rime change into [uong]/[uok]
(merge with 冬 rime). While this might be true for Kan-on, but Go-on is based on EMC not LMC, right? On non entering tone characters, Go-on writes them as "u", this match with [ung]. But why only the entering tone characters changed into "oku" instead of "uku"? The only thing I could think of are, whether this is one of Southern dialect's special characteristic, which is both "uok" for 屋 and 沃 rimes, while 東 rime stays [ung]; or this was originally Japanese problem? Cannot differentiate between u and o? Or maybe Japanese couldnt allow u+ku combination? But thats impossible, there are alot of u+ku combination reading characters, arent they?
2. Same 通 she, 東 rime, the entering tone 屋 rime, but on DIVISION III!!! Things getting weird here.
- On 舌上音 initials and 溪,日 initials, both Go-on and Kan-on readings are "iku".
I might have some conjencture which is, this rime might be has the same case with 諄術 rimes. Maspero said 諄術 rimes which their reconstruction are [iuien] and [iuiet], on the old days, the Japanese was wrote them as "uwin" and "uwitu", and as the Japanese phonology itself changing, all "uwi" merge into "i", nowadays this rime written as "in" and "itu", ex:
均 kuwin=kin, 律 ruwitu=ritu. The exception are on Zheng Chi Yin initials, these rimes was read as "ijun" and "ijutu", ex: 春 sijun=shun, 術 sijutu=shutu. On these one, Maspero said the Japanese revised these readings on Song period, following the Chinese and that time, there are already split in these rimes on Zheng Chi Yin initials, which is "y" and "u".
If this is the same case, I wonder what kind of kana combination which makes 屋 rime [iuk] became "iku"? If its "ijuku", then it should be stays "ijuku", as in modern reading also has this one. How come [iuk] could became uwiku=iku? Makes no any sense. I really couldnt put my
finger on it... Some ideas plz?

- On 來initials, Go-on is "oku", and Kan-on is "iku".
Again..., on Go-on all I could think of is this is one of Southern dialect's special characteritic, which is both "iwok" for 屋 div III and 燭 rimes. And for Kan-on..read above.I give up...
- On 明 initials both Go-on and Kan-on are "oku"
Same again..., on Go-on all I could think of is this is one of Southern dialect's special characteristic, which is both "iwok" for 屋 div III and 燭 rimes. As for Kan-on, I use Maspero explanation on [ung]/[uk] change into [uong]/[uok]. But!!! Maspero clearly said that on div III, [iung] and [iuk] stays the same on LMC due to [-i-] medial protection, thats the
reason behind why all Kan-on reading on 東 div III rime are "ijuu". But he forgot to give some examples on entering tone characters!!! I feel cheated... I dont believe if Japanese doesnt allow mu+ku combination reading. So... maybe [iung] stays the same on LMC, while [ung] and [iuk] change into [uong] and [iwok]? But what about that [-i-] medial protection
Only 齒音 initials and 輕唇音 initials (except 微) sounds right. Go-on "uku" Kan-on "ijuku". Japanese revised them on Song period?
3. on 鍾 she, all Go-on readings are "ijuu" or "iju", on 見 initials are "u". All reconstruction for this rime which I found are [iwong], and this reconstruction is based on Qie Yun/Guang Yun, right? Which means [iwong] are EMC Northern dialect pronunciation, right? And so, why on Go-on the readings are "u" vowel, not "o"? Dont tell me....this is also one of Southern dialect's special characteristic? Japanese cannot differentiate between u and o?
4. on 曾she, 蒸rime, entering tone 職 rime. While on non entering tone, both Go-on and Kan-on readings are "ijou" which is perfectly match with the reconstruction [iəng], (ə is reverse "e"), and Kan-on readings on entering tone characters are "ijoku" also perfectly match, so why Go-on readings all all "iki"? One of Southern dialect's special characteristic again?
5. on 臻 she, 文物 rimes, I noticed that on 微 initials, all Go-on readings are "on" and "oti", while other initials are "un" and "uti". Kan-on reading of course are "un" and "utu" as Kan-on lacks on nasal initials due to denasalization. Is there any special reason behind this? Japanese doesnt allow m+un combination?
Thats all. Thank you for your attention. Actually I still got some other questions that bothers me, but I better hold my horse for now.
  • Aoyama

    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    Unfortunately I cannot understand your questions, much less answer them.
    Sadly ...
    Too many questions drowned in too long a text .
    Try the site Flam gave you and try also coming back with a simpler and clearer formulation of what you want to know.
    Your questions (top notch) are worth giving a good look, but help us understand them ...


    Senior Member
    Oxford English UK
    Go-on is created based on MC Southern dialect
    I was intrigued by your question (well, what I could read of it :p) After researching this a little I found that Wikipedia says that this might not be true. Chang'an used to derogatorily call all other Kanji pronunciations "wu", and the Japanese followed suit. Therefore you may find you're not researching just the southern MC dialect, but a large number of different pronunciations spread out from all over the country. That would explain the irregularities you've come across.

    Wikipedia says; しかし、呉音が本当に南方系統の発音かどうかについて、それを実証できるような史料はない。
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