A predictive modeling analysis of Vietnamese tonogenesis
Yik, Ting Fen
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This dissertation investigates the phenomenon of tonogenesis in Vietnamese by building and testing theoretical models using a predictive algorithm. The investigation is divided into two studies: Study I examines correlations between Shorto's (2006) reconstructions of Proto-Mon-Khmer and Modern Vietnamese reflexes. Study II deals with relationships between Middle Chinese words and their Sino-Vietnamese pronunciations. Results from Study I suggest that Haudricourt's (1954) classic model can be enhanced by distinguishing between singleton sonorant codas and sonorant-stop coda clusters in Proto-Mon-Khmer. Words with the former coda type correlate with ngang or huyen tone as Haudricourt observed, while words with the latter coda type correlate with sac or na [dotbelow]ng tones as do words with singleton stop codas. Findings from Study II confirm Maspero's (1912) observation that sonorant-onset words in Middle Chinese píng tone pattern tonally with voiceless obstruent-onset words in Sino-Vietnamese, not with voiced obstruent-onset words. Maspero also claims that sonorant-onset words in other Middle Chinese tone categories pattern differently from voiced obstruent-onset words, but Maspero's proposed correlations for the other categories are not consistent with the Sino-Vietnamese data in Study II. Maspero further claims that the sonorant-onset patterning in the píng category is the result of Chinese influence, whereas I believe the patterning to be endogenous to Mon-Khmer languages, based on correlations in the protolanguage data from Study I. This dissertation builds upon traditional theoretical models of Vietnamese tonogenesis and of Sino-Vietnamese tone, and it demonstrates the value of predictive modeling to the formulation and evaluation of hypotheses in historical linguistics.