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New scripts for all sounds : cosmology and universal phonetic notation systems in late imperial China
AuthorVedal, Nathan 魏寧坦
Pub. LocationCambridge, MAPublisherHarvard-Yenching Institute
Date2018Phys. Desc.pdf. [47 p. : ill.]
LocationDigital ArchivesCall NumberPL1064.V432 2018d
New scripts for all sounds : cosmology and universal phonetic notation systems in late imperial China / Nathan Vedal.
Extract from: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Volume 78, Number 1, June 2018, pp. 1-46 (Article)
Published by Harvard-Yenching Institute.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/jas.2018.0003.

I argue that cosmological methods, and the debates they inspired, were a major source of innovation in phonological scholarship during the late Ming. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century scholars strove to document the scope of possible sounds existing in the universe. Realizing the Chinese script was insufficient to fully record them, they explored new notation systems to comprehensively describe sound. Although competing contemporaneous approaches called for analyzing phonology according to regional or historical differences, Ming cosmologists asserted a significant alternative that they believed overcame limits of place and time. This case study suggests a need to rethink the impact of Ming scholars on Chinese intellectual history and on the history of writing in China.


Keywords: philology, history of linguistics, evidential learning, transcription, rhyme, numerology, history of science.
Local access digital pdf. [Vedal-Phonetic Notation.pdf]

Subject(s)Chinese philology--History
Jesuits--China--16th-18th centuries--Contributions in language and linguistics
Chinese language--Phonetics
Chinese language--Phonology--History
Cosmology, Chinese--History--17th century
Cosmology, Chinese--History--16th-17th centuries--Notation
Chinese philology--History--Notation
Chinese language--Phonology--History --Notation
Chinese language--Phonetics--Notation--History
Wu Jishi 吳繼仕, active 1611. Yinsheng jiyuan 音聲紀元
Rec. TypeExtract (PDF)LanguageEnglish
CollectionRicci Institute LibraryRec. #19577