Proto-Hmong–Mien language

Hmongic languages in red, Mienic languages in green

The Proto-Hmong–Mien language (Chinese: 原始苗瑶语) is the reconstructed ancestor of the Hmong–Mien languages.

The date of proto-Hmong-Mien has been estimated to be about 2500 BP by Sagart, Blench, and Sanchez-Mazas. It has been estimated to about 4243 BP by the Automated Similarity Judgment Program (ASJP),[1] however, ASJP is not widely accepted among historical linguists as an adequate method to establish or evaluate relationships between language families.[2] Lower-level reconstructions include Proto-Hmongic and Proto-Mienic.

Reconstructions[edit]

Reconstructions of Proto-Hmong-Mien include those of Purnell (1970),[3] Wang & Mao (1995), Ratliff (2010), and Chen (2013), and Ostapirat (2016). Proto-Hmongic (Proto-Miao) has also been reconstructed by Wang (1994),[4] while Proto-Mienic (Proto-Mjuenic; reconstruction excludes Biao Min and Zao Min) has been reconstructed by Luang-Thongkum (1993).[5]

Ratliff (2010)[edit]

Martha Ratliff (2010) used 11 criterion languages for her reconstruction.

  1. East Hmongic (Qiandong); Northern vernacular: Yanghao 养蒿, Yanghao Township, Taijiang County, Guizhou
  2. North Hmongic (Xiangxi); Western vernacular: Jiwei 吉卫, Jiwei Township, Huayuan County, Hunan
  3. West Hmongic (Chuanqiandian): White Hmong of Laos and Thailand
  4. West Hmongic (Chuanqiandian); Mashan subdialect, Central vernacular: Zongdi 宗地, Zongdi Township, Ziyun County, Guizhou
  5. West Hmongic (Chuanqiandian); Luopohe subdialect: Fuyuan 复员, Fuyuan County, Yunnan
  6. Hmongic; Jiongnai: Changdong Township 长垌, Jinxiu County, Guangxi
  7. Hmongic; Baiyun Pa-Hng: Baiyun 白云, Rongshui County, Guangxi
  8. Mienic; Mien, Luoxiang vernacular: Luoxiang Township 罗香, Jinxiu County, Guangxi
  9. Mienic; Mun: Lanjin Township 览金, Lingyun County, Guangxi
  10. Mienic; Biao Min: Dongshan Yao Township 东山, Quanzhou County, Guangxi
  11. Mienic; Zao Min: Daping Township 大平, Liannan County, Guangdong

Wang & Mao (1995)[edit]

Wang & Mao (1995) base their Proto-Hmong-Mien reconstruction from the following 23 criterion Hmong-Mien languages.

  1. Yanghao 养蒿; Hmu, North (ISO 693-3: [hea])
  2. Jiwei 吉卫; Qo Xiong, West [mmr]
  3. Xianjin 先进 ( = Dananshan 大南山); Chuanqiandian Miao, 1st lect [cqd]
  4. Shimenkan 石门坎; Diandongbei Miao [hmd]
  5. Qingyan 青岩;[a] Guiyang Miao, North [huj]
  6. Gaopo 高坡; Huishui Miao, North [hmi]
  7. Zongdi 宗地; Mashan Miao, Central [hmm]
  8. Fuyuan 复员;[b] Luopohe Miao, 2nd lect [hml]
  9. Fengxiang 枫香; Chong'anjiang Miao [hmj]
  10. Qibainong 七百弄; Bunu, Dongnu [bwx]
  11. Yaoli 瑶里;[c] Nao Klao, Baonuo [bwx]
  12. Wenjie 文界; Pa-Hng, Sanjiang [pha]
  13. Changdong 长峒; Jiongnai [pnu]
  14. Duozhu 多祝;[d] She [shx]
  15. Jiangdi 江底; Iu Mien, Guangdian [ium]
  16. Xiangjiang 湘江; Iu Mien, Xiangnan [ium]
  17. Luoxiang 罗香; Luoxiang Mien AKA Ao Biao [ium]
  18. Changping 长坪; Changping Mien AKA Biao Mon [ium]
  19. Liangzi 梁子; Kim Mun [mji]
  20. Lanjin 览金; Kim Mun [mji]
  21. Dongshan 东山; Biao Mon, Dongshan [bmt]
  22. Sanjiang 三江; Biao Mon, Shikou AKA Chao Kong Meng [bmt]
  23. Daping 大坪; Dzao Min [bpn]

Phonology[edit]

Ratliff (2010)[edit]

Martha Ratliff's 2010 reconstruction contains the following phonemic inventory.

  • 51–54 consonants (including pre-glottalized and pre-nasalized consonants)
  • 9 monophthong vowels
  • 7 diphthongs
  • 11 nasal rimes

Not accounting for pre-nasalized, pre-glottalized, and pre-aspirated consonants, Ratliff's (2010: 31) Proto-Hmong-Mien consonants are (22 total):

Nasal Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Aspirated stop tsʰ
Voiceless stop p t ts c k q ʔ
Voiced stop b d dz ɟ ɡ ɢ
Voiced nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Voiced glide w j
Voiceless fricative s ɕ h

The 3 medial consonants are *-j-, *-l-, and *-r-. The 6 final stop consonants are *-p, *-t, *-k, *-m, *-n, and *-ŋ.

Including pre-nasalized, pre-glottalized, and pre-aspirated consonants, the full set of Proto-Hmong-Mien initial consonants is (Ratliff 2010: 31):

Nasal Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Aspirated stop tsʰ
Voiceless stop p t ts c k q/(qʷ) ʔ
Voiced stop b d dz ɟ ɡ ɢ
Aspirated pre-nasalized stop mpʰ ntʰ ntsʰ ɲcʰ ŋkʰ
Voiceless pre-nasalized stop mp nt nts ɲc ŋk ɴq
Voiced pre-nasalized stop mb nd ndz ɲɟ ŋɡ ɴɢ
Voiced nasal m n ɲ/(ɲʷ) (ŋ)/(ŋʷ)
Pre-glottalized nasal ʔm ʔn ʔɲ
Aspirated nasal ʰm ʰn ʰɲ
Voiced glide w j
Pre-glottalized glide ʔw ʔj
Aspirated glide (ʰw) ʰj
Voiceless fricative s ɕ h
Voiced fricative (ɣ) (ɦ)

The Proto-Hmong-Mien vowels are (11 total) (Ratliff 2010: 108):

Front
(unrounded)
Central
(unrounded)
Central Central
(rounded)
Back
(rounded)
High i ɨ ʉ u
Mid-high e o
Central ə
Mid-low ɛ ɔ
Near-low æ
Low a

Proto-Hmong–Mien has the following syllable structure (Ratliff 2010:10):

  (C) C [j/w/l] [i̯/u̯] (V) V C (C)T

Ratliff does not reconstruct vowel length for either Proto-Mienic or Proto-Hmong-Mien. Even though Mienic languages usually have vowel length, Ratliff ascribes this to areal features that were borrowed after the breakup of Proto-Mienic.[6] Neighboring languages with vowel length include Cantonese and Zhuang.

Ostapirat (2016)[edit]

Ostapirat (2016)[7] revises various reconstructed Proto-Hmong-Mien consonant initials proposed by Ratliff (2010), and suggests that many proto-initials are in fact sesquisyllables, in line with Baxter & Sagart's (2014) Old Chinese reconstruction and Pittayaporn's (2009) Proto-Tai reconstruction. Examples include reconstructing *m.l- and *m.r- where Ratliff (2010) reconstructs *mbl- and *mbr-, respectively.

Ostapirat (2016) also reconstructs velarized initial consonants (*Cˠ-) where Ratliff (2010) reconstructs -j- or -w-.

Additionally, Ostapirat revises Ratliff's uvulars (*q-, etc.) as velars (*k-, etc.), and her palatals as either alveolars or palatals.

Vocabulary[edit]

Below are some reconstructed words roughly belonging to the semantic domains of agriculture and subsistence (Ratliff 2004; Greenhill et al. 2008; Starling 1998). Terms for domesticated animals and non-rice crops are usually shared with Chinese, while vocabulary relating to hunting, rice crops, and local plants and animals are usually not shared with Chinese.

Proto-
Hmong–Mien
Proto-Hmongic Old Chinese English
*ntshu C1 lhaŋʔ (象) elephant
*ʔlen A1 w(h)an (猿) monkey
*ŋgeu B2 krun (麇) river deer
*tʂo B1 hlāʔ (虎) tiger
*Glɐn B2 shōŋ (蔥) Chinese onion
*Nqaːn A1 mrū (茅) cogon grass
*n̥Ak B1 nhāʔ (弩) crossbow
*pwɒn B1 ~
*pənX
m-lak-s (射) to shoot
*ɳõ C2 łhuk (逐) to track, follow
*qəi A1 kē (雞) chicken
*m-nɔk ttiwʔ (鳥) bird
*qlAu B1 ~
*qluwX
*hmaŋ C kkhwirʔ (犬) dog
*ʔaːp B1 ʔrāp (鴨) duck
*mpɒ C1 prā (豝) pig
*ʑwɒəːŋ A2 g(h)ʷān (羊) sheep/goat
*ŋɔːŋ A2 lhijʔ (兕) water buffalo
*dəp D2 d(h)ōs (豆) bean
*peu B1 snikʷ (菽) soybean
*vəu C2 was (芋) taro
*mblau A2 lhūʔ (稻) rice plant;
growing/unhusked rice
*ntsəːi C1 mhījʔ (米) husked rice
*ɲaːŋ C1 mhījʔ (米) cooked rice

The ethnonym Hmong is reconstructed as *hmʉŋA in Proto-Hmongic by Ratliff (2010), while Mien is reconstructed as *mjænA in Proto-Mienic. In comparison, William H. Baxter and Laurent Sagart (2014)[8] reconstruct the Old Chinese name of the Mán 蠻 (Nanman 南蠻, or southern foreigners) as *mˤro[n].

External relationships[edit]

The Proto-Hmong-Mien language shares many lexical similarities with neighboring language families, including Austroasiatic, Kra-Dai (Tai-Kadai), Austronesian, and Tibeto-Burman (Ratliff 2010). Martha Ratliff (2010:233-237) lists the following lexical resemblances between Proto-Hmong-Mien (abbreviated below as PHM) and other language families. Proto-Hmongic and Proto-Mienic are provided if the Proto-Hmong-Mien form is not reconstructed.

Austroasiatic[edit]

Many lexical resemblances are found between the Hmong-Mien and Austroasiatic language families (Ratliff 2010), some of which had earlier been proposed by Haudricourt (1951).[9] Proto-Austroasiatic (PAA) reconstructions are from Sidwell & Rau (2015).[10]

Lexical resemblances with Austroasiatic
  • PHM *ʔu̯əm 'water'
  • PHM *ntshjamX 'blood'; PAA *saːm ‘to bleed’
  • PHM *ntju̯əŋH 'tree'
  • PHM *ʔɲæmX 'to weep, cry'
  • PHM *pənX 'to shoot'
  • PHM *tu̯eiX 'tail'; PAA *sntaʔ
  • PHM *mpeiH 'to dream'
  • PHM *ʔpu̯ɛŋX 'full'; PAA *biːŋ; *beːɲ
  • Proto-Hmongic *mbrɔD 'ant'
  • Proto-Mienic *səpD 'centipede'
  • PHM *klup 'grasshopper'
  • PHM *ntshjeiX 'head louse'; PAA *ciːʔ

Other Austroasiatic parallels listed by Kosaka (2002:94) are:[11]

  • PHM *tshuŋX 'bone'; PAA *cʔaːŋ
  • PHM *S-phreiX 'head'
  • PHM *pji̯əuX 'fruit'
  • PHM *pjɔu 'three'

Ostapirat (2018:116-117)[12] lists compares the following basic vocabulary items in Hmong-Mien and Austroasiatic.

Gloss Proto-Hmong-Mien
(Ratliff 2010)
Proto-Vietic
(Ferlus 1991)[13]
Proto-Wa
(Diffloth 1980)[14]
louse *ntshjeiX *ciʔ *siʔ
fruit *pji̯əuX *pleʔ *pliʔ
road *kləuX *khraʔ *kraʔ
shoot *pənX *paɲʔ *pɤɲ
blood *ntshjamX *asaːmʔ *hnam
weep *ʔɲæmX *jaːmʔ, *ɲaːmʔ *jam
hawk *qlaŋX *klaːŋʔ *klaŋ
cooked *sjenX (Proto-Hmongic) *ciːnʔ *sin
heavy *hnjeinX *naŋʔ (*s-jen)
full *pu̯ɛŋX pɔiŋ (Mon) phoiɲ (Khasi)
nose *mbruiH *muːs *mɨs
name *mpɔuH jhmoh (Middle Khmer) *mɨs
horn *klɛɔŋ *kərəŋ *ʔrɤŋ
water *ʔu̯əm ʔom (Palaung) *rʔom
live, alive *ʔjəm ʔim (Palaung) *ʔem
I *ʔja (Proto-Mienic) ʔoa (Mon) *ʔɨʔ
thou *mu̯ei mày (Vietnamese) me (Khasi)
one *ʔɨ - ʔu (Palaung)
two *ʔu̯i - ʔa (Palaung)
three *pjɔu paj (Kui) -

Further lexical resemblances between Hmong-Mien and Austroasiatic are listed in Hsiu (2017).[15]

Kra-Dai[edit]

Many lexical resemblances are found between the Hmong-Mien and Kra-Dai language families, although the tones often do not correspond (Ratliff 2010). Proto-Tai (abbreviated here as PT) reconstructions are from Pittayaporn (2009).[16] Many of the Proto-Tai forms also have close parallels with Proto-Austronesian.

Lexical resemblances with Kra-Dai
  • Proto-Hmongic *kɛŋB 'I, 1.SG'; PT *kuːA (strong form), *kawA (weak form)
  • PHM *mu̯ei 'thou, 2.SG'; PT *mɯŋA (strong form), *maɰA (weak form)
  • PHM *təjH 'to die', *dəjH 'to kill'; PT *p.taːjA 'to die'
  • PHM *ʔneinX 'this'; PT *najC
  • PHM *m-nɔk 'bird'; PT *C̬.nokD
  • PHM *mbrəuX 'fish'; PT *plaːA
  • Proto-Hmongic *hmaŋC 'wild dog'; PT *ʰmaːA 'dog'
  • Proto-Hmongic *ʔlinA 'monkey'; PT *liːŋA

Kosaka (2002)[11] lists many lexical between Kra-Dai and Hmong-Mien languages, and proposes that they form part of a larger Miao-Dai language family.

Austronesian[edit]

Many lexical resemblances are found between the Hmong-Mien and Austronesian language families, some of which are also shared with Kra-Dai and Austroasiatic (Ratliff 2010). Proto-Austronesian (abbreviated here as PAN) and Proto-Malayo-Polynesian (abbreviated here as PMP) reconstructions are from Blust (n.d.).[17]

Lexical resemblances with Austronesian and Kra-Dai
  • Proto-Hmongic *kɛŋB 'I, 1.SG'; PMP *-ku 'my'
  • PHM *mu̯ei 'thou, 2.SG'; PAN *-mu '2nd person'
  • PHM *mi̯əu 'you (plural), 2.PL'; PAN *-mu '2nd person'
  • PHM *təjH 'to die'; PAN *ma-aCay
  • PHM *dəjH 'to kill'; PAN *pa-aCay
  • PHM *m-nɔk 'bird'; PMP *manuk
Lexical resemblances with Austronesian and Austroasiatic
  • PHM *tu̯eiX 'tail'; PMP *buntut
  • PHM *pu̯ɛŋX 'full'; PMP *penuq
  • PHM *pənX 'to shoot'; PMP *panaq
  • PHM *mpeiH 'to dream'; PAN *Sepi, PMP *hi(m)pi
Other lexical resemblances with Austronesian
  • PHM *mlu̯ɛjH 'soft'; PMP *ma-lumu
  • PHM *dəp 'bite'; PMP *ketep
  • PHM *klæŋ 'insect, worm, maggot'; PAN *qulej 'maggot'
  • PHM *tɛmX 'body louse'; PAN *CumeS, PMP *tumah 'clothes louse'

Tibeto-Burman[edit]

Ratliff notes that the Hmong-Mien numerals from 4-9 and various culture-related vocabulary have been borrowed from Tibeto-Burman. The Proto-Tibeto-Burman (abbreviated as PTB) forms provided below are from James Matisoff (2003).[18]

Lexical borrowings from Tibeto-Burman
  • PHM *plei 'four' < PTB *b-ləy (STEDT #2409)
  • PHM *prja 'five' < PTB *b-ŋa (STEDT #1306)
  • PHM *kruk 'six' < PTB *d-k-ruk (STEDT #2621)
  • PHM *dzjuŋH 'seven'
  • PHM *jat 'eight' < PTB *b-r-gyat ~ *b-g-ryat (STEDT #2259)
  • PHM *N-ɟuə 'nine' < PTB *d/s-kəw (STEDT #2364)
  • Proto-Hmongic *hnɛŋA and Proto-Mienic *hnu̯ɔiA 'sun, day' < PTB *s-nəy (STEDT #85)
  • PHM *hlaH 'moon, month' < PTB *s-la (STEDT #1016)
  • PHM *hməŋH 'night' (also 'dark') < PTB *s-muːŋ 'dark' (STEDT #522; #2465)
  • PHM *ʔɲam 'sister-in-law' (also 'daughter-in-law') < PTB *nam 'daughter-in-law' (STEDT #2486)
  • PHM *ʔweiX 'son-in-law' < PTB *krwəy (STEDT #2348)
  • PHM *hlep 'to slice' < PTB *s-lep (STEDT #2401)
  • PHM *hmjænX 'footprint, track' < PTB *s-naŋ 'to follow' (STEDT #2488)
  • Proto-Hmongic *mjænB 'horse' < PTB *mraŋ (STEDT #1431)

Additionally, Paul K. Benedict (1987)[19] notes that Proto-Hmong-Mien contain loanwords from an unknown Tibeto-Burman language or branch, which Benedict refers to as Donor Miao-Yao. Reconstructions for some numerals that Benedict (1987) reconstructed for Proto-Donor Miao-Yao are given below.

  • *pliA 'four'
  • *praA 'five'
  • *truk 'six'
  • *znis 'seven'
  • *hryat 'eight'
  • *t-guA 'nine'
  • *gup 'ten'

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Baituo, Qingyan Township, Huaxi District, Guiyang 贵阳市花溪区青岩乡摆托寨
  2. ^ Yejipo, Ganba Township, Fuquan County 福泉县甘坝乡野鸡坡寨
  3. ^ Mangjiang, Yaoli Township, Nandan County 南丹县瑶里乡芒降村
  4. ^ Chenhu, Duozhu Township, Huidong County 惠东县多祝乡陈湖村

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2013-12-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Cf. comments by Adelaar, Blust and Campbell in Holman, Eric W., et al. (2011) "Automated Dating of the World’s Language Families Based on Lexical Similarity." Current Anthropology, vol. 52, no. 6, pp. 841–875.
  3. ^ Purnell, Herbert C., Jr. 1970. Toward a reconstruction of Proto-Miao-Yao. PhD dissertation, Cornell University.
  4. ^ Wang, Fushi 王輔世. 1994. Miaoyu guyin gouni 苗语古音構擬 / Reconstruction of Proto-Miao Language. Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA) / Ajia Afurika Gengo Bunka Kenkyūjo 國立亞非語言文化硏究所.
  5. ^ L-Thongkum, Theraphan. 1993. A view on Proto-Mjuenic (Yao). Mon-Khmer Studies 22:163-230.
  6. ^ Ratliff, Martha. 2007. "Contrastive Vowel Length in Mienic: Inheritance or Diffusion?" In SEALS XIII Papers from the 13th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 2003, edited by Iwasaki Shoichi et al. Canberra, Australia, 223-229. Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University.
  7. ^ Ostapirat, Weera. 2016. Issues in the Reconstruction and Affiliation of Proto-Miao-Yao. Language and Linguistics 17(1) 133–145. doi:10.1177/1606822X15614522
  8. ^ Baxter, William H. and Laurent Sagart. 2014. Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction. Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-994537-5.
  9. ^ Haudricourt, André-Georges. 1951. Introduction à la phonologie historique des langues miao-yao [An introduction to the historical phonology of the Miao-Yao languages]. Bulletin de l’École Française d'Extrême-Orient 44(2). 555–576.
  10. ^ Sidwell, Paul and Felix Rau (2015). "Austroasiatic Comparative-Historical Reconstruction: An Overview." In Jenny, Mathias and Paul Sidwell, eds (2015). The Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages. Leiden: Brill.
  11. ^ a b Kosaka, Ryuichi. 2002. "On the affiliation of Miao-Yao and Kadai: can we posit the Miao-Dai Family?" In The Mon-Khmer Studies Journal, 32: 71-100.
  12. ^ Ostapirat, Weera. 2018. "Macrophyletic Trees of East Asian Languages Re examined." In Let's Talk about Trees, ed. by Ritsuko Kikusawa and Lawrence A. Reid. Osaka: Senri Ethnological Studies, Minpaku. doi:10.15021/00009006
  13. ^ Ferlus, Michel. 1991. Vocalisme du Proto-Viet-Muong. Paper presented at the 24th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, Thailand, 7–11 October, 1991.
  14. ^ Diffloth, Gérard. 1980. The Wa Languages. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 5(2): 1–182.
  15. ^ Hsiu, Andrew. 2017. Hmong-Mien and Austroasiatic look-alikes.
  16. ^ Pittayaporn, Pittayawat. 2009. The Phonology of Proto-Tai. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Linguistics, Cornell University.
  17. ^ Blust, Robert. n.d. Austronesian Comparative Dictionary. Manuscript.
  18. ^ Matisoff, James A. (2003), Handbook of Proto-Tibeto-Burman: System and Philosophy of Sino-Tibetan Reconstruction, Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-09843-5.
  19. ^ Benedict, Paul K. 1987. "Early MY/TB Loan Relationships." In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 10 , no. 2: 12-21.

Sources[edit]