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alphabetization system.Similar with the Chinese languages, each syllable in Vietnamese produces different meanings according to how the speaker stresses the tones. For example, the different pronunciation and meaning of ma can be illustrated between ma (ghost), má (mother), mà (which), mả(tomb), mã (horse), or mạ(rice seedling) (Laningham, "Vietnamese Pronunciation", 2013). As with Mandarin and Cantonese, one can observe that the only difference between the ma was the tonal emphasis placed upon it. The tonal development between the Chinese and the Vietnamese languages are quite similar. In many ways, there are clues that the Vietnamese's tones may have devel-oped because of Chinese influenced. More specifically, it remains that the Vietnamese language is closer to Cantonese than it is with Mandarin. Furthermore, contrary to popu-lar beliefs, the Chinese and Vietnamese language did not always have tones. Dr. Norman claimed, “Although the modern Chinese dialects are all tonal, this was not necessarily 9
Koby Phan Lealways the case. Studies in recent years have shown that some present-day tonal lan-guages like Vietnamese are derived from non-tonal ancestral languages” (Norman, 1988, p. 52). So arguably, Old Chinese (771 BCE—220 CE) was not a tonal language, however, there are evidences from the book of Qièyùn (ÅÆ)that Middle Chinese (220 CE—960 CE) did have tones. Coincidently, during the period of Middle Chinese, was when China had the greatest influence on Vietnam. Therefore, there is evidence that the Chinese lan-guage have—to an extent—been able to influence the development of the Vietnamese’s tones. Before examining the tonal development, it would be helpful to observe the origi-nal tones that existed in Middle Chinese. The Middle Chinese's tones are listed into 4 dis-tinctions—including píng(Ç) as a level tone, shǎng(È) as a rising tone, qù(É) as a departing tone, and rù(Ê) as an entering tone. In addition, the tonal distinctions are fur-ther divided into its initial—between voiceless and voiced. When you account for all of them individually, there will be 8 categories in all. Chart 8 is a depiction by Dr. Norman of the traditional 8 tonal categories: 10
Koby Phan LeAs it is shown in Chart 8, it is important to note that many contemporary dialects have not been able to preserve all of the tones that are presented in Middle Chinese. For exam-ple, the rù(Ê) tone have been loss in Mandarin, but have remained an asset in Can-tonese. The loss of the rù(Ê) tone in Mandarin is a further reason why Vietnamese have more similarities with Cantonese than it does with Mandarin. Chart 9 on the succeeding 1page is a tonal contour between Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. The chart illus-trates the categorization and comparison between the three speeches with the traditional 8 tonal categories in Middle Chinese. While the Chinese languages have numerical num-bers to help specified its tones, the Vietnamese's tones are depicted by its native name within the chart.