ERIC Number: ED316054
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Quantifying Affinity among Chinese Dialects.
A study of the relationships between Chinese dialects based on a quantitative measure of dialect affinity is summarized. First, tone values in all the dialect localities available in the early 1970s were used to calculate the dialectal differences in terms of tone height with respect to the "yin and yang" split. In the late 1970s, calculations of lexical correlations among Chinese dialects were performed and the degree of affinity was suggested as a way of viewing dialect relations. More recently, the correlation method was applied to phonological elements for measurements of relatedness. In this report, the earlier attempts at quantification are reviewed and the latest results are presented. Seventeen dialects are included in the study. The quantitative results are found to support what is already known about the qualitative relationships of the dialects. The differential roles played by lexicon, initials, finals, tones, and some combinations in enlarging or compressing distances between dialects are highlighted. The most significant contribution of the quantitative study is seen to be the establishment of a methodology for calculating dialect closeness and determining dialect subgrouping. (MSE)
Descriptors: Chinese, Classification, Comparative Analysis, Contrastive Linguistics, Dialects, Mathematical Applications, Phonology, Research Methodology, Statistical Analysis, Structural Analysis (Linguistics), Tone Languages, Uncommonly Taught Languages, Vocabulary
Language Learning Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, G70 Foreign Languages Building, 707 South Mathews, Urbana, IL 60801.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Language Learning Lab.