Proto-Hmong–Mien language

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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 and about 4243 BP by the Automated Similarity Judgment Program (ASJP).[1] Lower-level reconstructions include Proto-Hmongic and Proto-Mienic.

Reconstructions[edit]

Reconstructions of Proto-Hmong-Mien include those of Purnell (1970),[2] Wang & Mao (1995), Ratliff (2010), and Chen (2013), and Ostapirat (2016). Proto-Hmongic (Proto-Miao) has also been reconstructed by Wang (1994),[3] while Proto-Mienic (Proto-Mjuenic; reconstruction excludes Biao Min and Zao Min) has been reconstructed by Luang-Thongkum (1993).[4]

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.[5] Neighboring languages with vowel length include Cantonese and Zhuang.

Ostapirat (2016)[edit]

Ostapirat (2016)[6] 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)[7] 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).[8] Proto-Austroasiatic (PAA) reconstructions are from Sidwell & Rau (2015).[9]

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:[10]

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

Ostapirat (2018:116-117)[11] lists compares the following basic vocabulary items in Hmong-Mien and Austroasiatic.

Gloss Proto-Hmong-Mien
(Ratliff 2010)
Proto-Vietic
(Ferlus 1991)[12]
Proto-Wa
(Diffloth 1980)[13]
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).[14]

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).[15] 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)[10] 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.).[16]

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).[17]

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)[18] 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.
  2. ^ Purnell, Herbert C., Jr. 1970. Toward a reconstruction of Proto-Miao-Yao. PhD dissertation, Cornell University.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ L-Thongkum, Theraphan. 1993. A view on Proto-Mjuenic (Yao). Mon-Khmer Studies 22:163-230.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Ostapirat, Weera. 2016. Issues in the Reconstruction and Affiliation of Proto-Miao-Yao. Language and Linguistics 17(1) 133–145. doi:10.1177/1606822X15614522
  7. ^ Baxter, William H. and Laurent Sagart. 2014. Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction. Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-994537-5.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Diffloth, Gérard. 1980. The Wa Languages. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 5(2): 1–182.
  14. ^ Hsiu, Andrew. 2017. Hmong-Mien and Austroasiatic look-alikes.
  15. ^ Pittayaporn, Pittayawat. 2009. The Phonology of Proto-Tai. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Linguistics, Cornell University.
  16. ^ Blust, Robert. n.d. Austronesian Comparative Dictionary. Manuscript.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Benedict, Paul K. 1987. "Early MY/TB Loan Relationships." In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 10 , no. 2: 12-21.

Sources[edit]