Sino-Xenic pronunciations

Sino-Xenic or Sinoxenic pronunciations are regular systems for reading Chinese characters in Japan, Korea and Vietnam, originating in medieval times and the source of large-scale borrowings of Chinese words into the Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese languages, none of which are genetically related to Chinese. The resulting Sino-Japanese, Sino-Korean and Sino-Vietnamese vocabularies now make up a large part of the lexicons of these languages. The pronunciation systems are used alongside modern varieties of Chinese in historical Chinese phonology, particularly the reconstruction of the sounds of Middle Chinese.[1][2] Some other languages, such as Hmong–Mien and Tai-Kadai languages, also contain large numbers of Chinese loanwords but without the systematic correspondences that characterize Sino-Xenic vocabularies.

The term, from the Greek xenos "foreign", was coined in 1953 by the linguist Samuel Martin, who called these borrowings "Sino-Xenic dialects".[2][3][4]


There had been borrowings of Chinese vocabulary into Vietnamese and Korean from the Han period, but around the time of the Tang dynasty (618–907) Chinese writing, language and culture were imported entirely into Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Scholars in those countries wrote in Literary Chinese and were thoroughly familiar with the Chinese classics, which they read aloud in systematic local approximations of Middle Chinese. With those pronunciations, Chinese words entered Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese in huge numbers.[1][2]

The plains of northern Vietnam were under Chinese control for most of the period from 111 BC to AD 938 and, after independence, the country adopted Literary Chinese as the language of administration and scholarship. As a result, there are several layers of Chinese loanwords in Vietnamese. The oldest loans, roughly 400 words dating from the Eastern Han, have been fully assimilated and are treated as native Vietnamese words. Sino-Vietnamese proper dates to the early Tang dynasty, when the spread of Chinese rhyme dictionaries and other literature resulted in the wholesale importation of the Chinese lexicon.[5]

Isolated Chinese words also began to enter Korean from the 1st century BC, but the main influx occurred in the 7th and 8th centuries AD after the unification of the peninsula by Silla. The flow of Chinese words into Korean became overwhelming after the establishment of civil service examinations in 958.[6]

Japanese, in contrast, has two well-preserved layers and a third that is also significant:[7]

Examples of Sino-Xenic readings
character Mandarin Cantonese (Yale)[a] Middle
Sino-Vietnamese Sino-Korean
Sino-Japanese[13][14] meaning
Go-on Kan-on Tōsō-on
yāt ʔjit nhất il ichi itsu one
èr yih nyijH nhị i ni ji two
sān sāam sam tam sam san three
sei sijH tứ sa shi four
ńgh nguX ngũ o go five
liù luhk ljuwk lục lyuk roku riku six
chāt tshit thất chil shichi shitsu seven
baat pæt bát phal hachi hatsu eight
jiǔ gau kjuwX cửu kwu ku kyū nine
shí sahp dzyip thập sip ten
bǎi baak pæk bách payk hyaku haku hundred
qiān chīn tshen thiên chen sen thousand
/ wàn maahn mjonH vạn man man ban 10 thousand
/亿 yīk ʔik ức ek oku 100 million
míng mìhng mjæng minh myeng myō mei (min) bright
/ nóng nùhng nowng nông nong nu agriculture
/ níng nìhng neng ninh nyeng nyō nei peaceful
xíng hohng hæng hành hayng gyō an walk
/ qǐng chéng dzjeng thỉnh cheng shō sei shin request
nuǎn nyúhn nwanX noãn nan nan dan non warm
/ tóu tàuh duw đầu twu zu head
tsiX tử ca shi shi su child
xià háh hæX hạ ha ge ka a down

In comparison, vocabulary of Chinese origin in Thai, including most of the basic numbers (except 1 and 2), was borrowed over a range of periods from the Han (or earlier) to the Tang.[15]

Since the pioneering work of Bernhard Karlgren, these bodies of pronunciations have been used together with modern varieties of Chinese in attempts to reconstruct the sounds of Middle Chinese.[2] They provide such broad and systematic coverage that the linguist Samuel Martin called them "Sino-Xenic dialects", treating them as parallel branches with the native Chinese dialects.[3][4] The foreign pronunciations sometimes retain distinctions lost in all the modern Chinese varieties, as in the case of the chongniu distinction found in Middle Chinese rhyme dictionaries.[16] Similarly, the distinction between grades III and IV made by the Late Middle Chinese rime tables has disappeared in most modern varieties, but in Kan-on, grade IV is represented by the Old Japanese vowels i1 and e1 while grade III is represented by i2 and e2.[17]

Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese scholars also later each adapted the Chinese script to write their languages, using Chinese characters both for borrowed and native vocabulary. Thus, in the Japanese script, Chinese characters may have both Sino-Japanese readings (on'yomi) and native readings (kun'yomi).[8] Similarly, in the Chữ nôm script used for Vietnamese until the early 20th century, some Chinese characters could represent both a Sino-Vietnamese word and a native Vietnamese word with similar meaning or sound to the Chinese word, but in such cases, the native reading would be distinguished by a component.[18] However, the Korean variant of Chinese characters, or hanja, typically have only a Sino-Korean reading, and native Korean words are rarely, if ever, written in hanja.[19] The character-based Vietnamese and Korean scripts have since been replaced by the Vietnamese alphabet and hangul respectively.[20]

Sound correspondences

Foreign pronunciations of these words inevitably only approximated the original Chinese, and many distinctions were lost. In particular, Korean and Japanese had far fewer consonants and much simpler syllables than Chinese, and they lacked tones. Even Vietnamese merged some Chinese initial consonants (for example, several different consonants were merged into t and th while ph corresponds to both p and f in Mandarin). A further complication is that the various borrowings are based on different local pronunciations at different periods. Nevertheless, it is common to treat the pronunciations as developments from the categories of the Middle Chinese rhyme dictionaries.

Middle Chinese is recorded as having eight series of initial consonants, though it is likely that no single dialect distinguished them all. Stops and affricates could also be voiced, voiceless or voiceless aspirated.[21] Early Vietnamese had a similar three-way division, but the voicing contrast would later disappear in the tone split that affected several languages in the Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area, including Vietnamese and most Chinese varieties.[22] Old Japanese had only a two-way contrast based on voicing, while Middle Korean had only one obstruent at each point of articulation.

Correspondences of initial consonants[23][24][25]
Middle Chinese Sino-Vietnamese Sino-Korean Go-on Kan-on Tōsō-on
Labials p p > b p/pʰ ɸ > h ɸ > h ɸ > h
pʰ > ph
b b > b b
m m > m m m b[c] m
Dentals t t > đ t/tʰ t t t
tʰ > th
d d > đ d
n n n n d[d] n
l l l r r r
Retroflex stops ʈ ʈ > tr tɕ/tɕʰ t t s
ʈʰ ʂ > s
ɖ ɖ > tr d
Dental sibilants ts s > t s s
tsʰ ɕ > th
dz s > t z
s s s
z z
Retroflex sibilants ʈʂ ʈ > tr tɕ/tɕʰ s
ʈʂʰ ʂ > s
ɖʐ z
ʂ s s
Palatals c > ch tɕ/tɕʰ
tɕʰ tʃ > x
ɕ > th s z
ɕ s
ʑ z
ɲ ɲ > nh z > ∅ n z z
Velars k k > c/k/q k/h k k k
kʰ > kh
ɡ ɡ > c/k k g
ŋ ŋ > ng/ngh ŋ > ∅ g g
Laryngeals ʔ ʔ > ∅
x h h k k
ɣ ɣ > g/w > g/∅

The Middle Chinese final consonants were semivowels (or glides) /j/ and /w/, nasals /m/, /n/ and /ŋ/, and stops /p/, /t/ and /k/. Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Korean preserve all the distinctions between final nasals and stops, like southern Chinese varieties such as Yue. Sino-Vietnamese has added allophonic distinctions to -ng and -k, based on whether the preceding vowel is front (-nh, -ch) or back (-ng, -c). Although Old Korean had a /t/ coda, words with the Middle Chinese coda /t/ have /l/ in Sino-Korean, reflecting a northern variety of Late Middle Chinese in which final /t/ had weakened to /r/.[27][28]

In Go-on and Kan-on, the Middle Chinese coda -ng yielded a nasalized vowel, which in combination with the preceding vowel has become a long vowel in modern Japanese.[29] For example, Tōkyō 東京, is Dōngjīng in Mandarin Chinese. Also, as Japanese cannot end words with consonants (except for moraic n), borrowings of Middle Chinese words ending in a stop had a paragoge added so that, for example, Middle Chinese kwok () was borrowed as koku. The later, less common Tōsō-on borrowings, however, reflect the reduction of final stops in Lower Yangtze Mandarin varieties to a glottal stop, reflected by Japanese /Q/.[30]

Correspondences of final consonants[25][31]
Middle Chinese Sino-Vietnamese Sino-Korean Go-on Kan-on Tōsō-on
m m m /N/ /N/ /N/
n n n
ng ng/nh ng ũ > u ũ/ĩ > u/i
p p p ɸu > u ɸu > u /Q/
t t l ti > chi tu > tsu
k c/ch k ku ku/ki

Middle Chinese had a three-way tonal contrast in syllables with vocalic or nasal endings. As Japanese lacks tones, Sino-Japanese borrowings preserve no trace of Chinese tones.[32] Most Middle Chinese tones were preserved in the tones of Middle Korean, but they have since been lost in all but a few dialects.[33] Sino-Vietnamese, in contrast, reflects the Chinese tones fairly faithfully, including the Late Middle Chinese split of each tone into two registers conditioned by voicing of the initial. The correspondence to the Chinese rising and departing tones is reversed from the earlier loans, so the Vietnamese hỏi and ngã tones reflect the Chinese upper and lower rising tone while the sắc and nặng tones reflect the upper and lower departing tone. Unlike northern Chinese varieties, Sino-Vietnamese places level-tone words with sonorant and glottal stop initials in the upper level (ngang) category.[34]

Structural effects

Large numbers of Chinese words were borrowed into Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese and still form a large and important part of their lexicons.

In the case of Japanese, the influx has led to changes in the phonological structure of the language. Old Japanese syllables had the form (C)V, with vowel sequences being avoided. To accommodate the Chinese loanwords, syllables were extended with glides as in myō, vowel sequences as in mei, geminate consonants and a final nasal, leading to the moraic structure of later Japanese. Voiced sounds (b, d, z, g and r) were now permitted in word-initial position, where they had previously been impossible.[14][35]

The influx of Chinese vocabulary contributed to the development of Middle Korean tones, which are still present in some dialects.[19][36] Sino-Korean words have also disrupted the native structure in which l does not occur in word-initial position, and words show vowel harmony.[19]

Chinese morphemes have been used extensively in all these languages to coin compound words for new concepts in a similar way to the use of Latin and Ancient Greek roots in English.[37] Many new compounds, or new meanings for old phrases, were created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to name Western concepts and artifacts. The coinages, written in shared Chinese characters, have then been borrowed freely between languages. They have even been accepted into Chinese, a language usually resistant to loanwords because their foreign origin was hidden by their written form. Often, different compounds for the same concept were in circulation for some time before a winner emerged, and sometimes, the final choice differed between countries.[38]

The proportion of vocabulary of Chinese origin thus tends to be greater in technical, scientific, abstract or formal language or registers. For example, Sino-Japanese words account for about 35% of the words in entertainment magazines (where borrowings from English are common), over half the words in newspapers and 60% of the words in science magazines.[39]

See also

Other languages


  1. ^ Unlike Mandarin, Cantonese faithfully preserves all the final consonants of Middle Chinese.[10]
  2. ^ transcribed using Baxter's notation. The initial h- represents a voiced fricative [ɣ] or [ɦ],[11] while the final letters X and H represent the rising and departing tones respectively.[12]
  3. ^ Yields m- in syllables ending in original -ng.[26]
  4. ^ Yields n- in syllables ending in original -ng;[26]



  1. ^ a b Miyake (2004), pp. 98–99.
  2. ^ a b c d Norman (1988), p. 34.
  3. ^ a b Miyake (2004), p. 98.
  4. ^ a b Martin (1953), p. 4.
  5. ^ Alves (2009), pp. 623–628.
  6. ^ Sohn & Lee (2003), pp. 23–24.
  7. ^ Miyake (2004), p. 100.
  8. ^ a b Shibatani (1990), p. 120.
  9. ^ a b Shibatani (1990), p. 121.
  10. ^ Norman (1988), p. 217.
  11. ^ Baxter (1992), p. 58.
  12. ^ Baxter (1992), p. 31.
  13. ^ Miller (1967), pp. 106, 111, 336.
  14. ^ a b Loveday (1996), p. 41.
  15. ^ Pittayaporn (2014).
  16. ^ Baxter (1992), pp. 75–79.
  17. ^ Pulleyblank (1984), p. 96.
  18. ^ Hannas (1997), pp. 90–81.
  19. ^ a b c Sohn (2001), p. 89.
  20. ^ Hannas (1997), pp. 71–72, 86–92.
  21. ^ Baxter (1992), pp. 45–46.
  22. ^ Norman (1988), p. 53.
  23. ^ Wang (1948), pp. 13–27.
  24. ^ Miyake (2004), pp. 112–115, 119–122.
  25. ^ a b Miller (1967), pp. 105–110.
  26. ^ a b Miller (1967), p. 106.
  27. ^ Lee & Ramsey (2011), p. 69.
  28. ^ Miyake (2004), p. 113.
  29. ^ Miller (1967), p. 105.
  30. ^ Miller (1967), p. 109.
  31. ^ Miyake (2004), p. 112.
  32. ^ Miller (1967), pp. 110, 112.
  33. ^ Lee & Ramsey (2011), pp. 168–169.
  34. ^ Pulleyblank (1984), pp. 160–161.
  35. ^ Shibatani (1990), pp. 121–122.
  36. ^ Lee & Ramsey (2000), pp. 168–169.
  37. ^ Shibatani (1990), p. 146.
  38. ^ Wilkinson (2000), p. 43.
  39. ^ Shibatani (1990), p. 143.

Sources cited

  • Alves, Mark J. (2009), "Loanwords in Vietnamese", in Haspelmath, Martin; Tadmor, Uri (eds.), Loanwords in the World's Languages: A Comparative Handbook, De Gruyter, pp. 617–637, ISBN 978-3-11-021843-5.
  • Baxter, William H. (1992), A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-012324-1.
  • Hannas, Wm. C. (1997), Asia's Orthographic Dilemma, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-1892-0.
  • Lee, Iksop; Ramsey, S. Robert (2000), The Korean Language, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-4831-1.
  • Lee, Ki-Moon; Ramsey, S. Robert (2011), A History of the Korean Language, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-521-66189-8.
  • Loveday, Leo J. (1996), Language Contact in Japan : A Sociolinguistic History: A Sociolinguistic History, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-158369-8.
  • Martin, Samuel Elmo (1953), The phonemes of ancient Chinese, American Oriental Society. (review)
  • Miller, Roy Andrew (1967), The Japanese Language, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-52717-8.
  • Miyake, Marc Hideo (2004), Old Japanese: A Phonetic Reconstruction, RoutledgeCurzon, ISBN 978-0-415-30575-4.
  • Norman, Jerry (1988), Chinese, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-29653-3.
  • Pittayaporn, Pittatawat (2014), "Layers of Chinese loanwords in Proto-Southwestern Tai as evidence for the dating of the spread of Southwestern Tai" (PDF), Manyusa: Journal of Humanities, 20: 47–68.
  • Pulleyblank, Edwin George (1984), Middle Chinese: a study in historical phonology, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, ISBN 978-0-7748-0192-8.
  • Shibatani, Masayoshi (1990), The Languages of Japan, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-36918-3.
  • Sohn, Ho-Min (2001), The Korean Language, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-36943-5.
  • Sohn, Ho-Min; Lee, Peter H. (2003), "Language, forms, prosody, and themes", in Lee, Peter H. (ed.), A History of Korean Literature, Cambridge University Press, pp. 15–51, ISBN 978-0-521-82858-1.
  • Wang, Li (1948), "Hànyuèyǔ yánjiū" 漢越語研究 [A study on Sino-Vietnamese], Lingnan Journal, 9 (1): 1–96.
  • Wilkinson, Endymion (2000), Chinese history: a manual (2nd ed.), Harvard Univ Asia Center, ISBN 978-0-674-00249-4.

Further reading

Buddhism in Vietnam

Buddhism in Vietnam (Đạo Phật or Phật Giáo in Vietnamese), as practised by the ethnic Vietnamese, is mainly of the Mahayana tradition. Buddhism may have first come to Vietnam as early as the 3rd or 2nd century BCE from the Indian subcontinent or from China in the 1st or 2nd century CE. Vietnamese Buddhism has had a syncretic relationship with certain elements of Taoism, Chinese spirituality and the Vietnamese folk religion.

Chinese characters

Chinese characters (simplified Chinese: 汉字; traditional Chinese: 漢字; pinyin: hànzì; literally: 'Han characters') are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write a number of other Asian languages. They remain a key component of the Japanese writing system (where they are known as kanji) and are occasionally and more so historically, used in the writing of Korean (where they are known as Hanja). They were formerly used for Vietnamese (in a system known as chữ Nôm) and Zhuang (in a system known as Sawndip). Collectively, they are known as CJK characters. Vietnamese is sometimes also included, making the abbreviation CJKV.

Chinese characters constitute the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world. By virtue of their widespread current use in East Asia, and historic use throughout the Sinosphere, Chinese characters are among the most widely adopted writing systems in the world by number of users.

Chinese characters number in the tens of thousands, though most of them are minor graphic variants encountered only in historical texts. Studies in China have shown that functional literacy in written Chinese requires a knowledge of between three and four thousand characters. In Japan, 2,136 are taught through secondary school (the Jōyō kanji); hundreds more are in everyday use. Due to post-WWII simplifications of Kanji in Japan as well as the post-WWII simplifications of characters in China, the Chinese characters used in Japan today are distinct from those used in China in several respects. There are various national standard lists of characters, forms, and pronunciations. Simplified forms of certain characters are used in mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia; the corresponding traditional characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and to a limited extent in South Korea.

In Japan, common characters are written in post-WWII Japan-specific simplified forms (shinjitai), while uncommon characters are written in Japanese traditional forms (kyūjitai), which are virtually identical to Chinese traditional forms. In South Korea, when Chinese characters are used, they are in traditional form, essentially identical to those used in Taiwan and Hong Kong where the official writing system is traditional Chinese. Teaching of Chinese characters in South Korea starts in the 7th grade and continues until the 12th grade; a total of 1,800 characters are taught, though these characters are used only in certain cases (on names, signs, academic papers, historical writings, etc.) and are slowly declining in use as native alphabetical hangul supplanted them in most aspects of Korean society.

In Old Chinese including Classical Chinese, most words were monosyllabic and there was a close correspondence between characters and words. In modern Chinese, the majority of Chinese words today consist of two or more characters. Rather, a character almost always corresponds to a single syllable that is also a morpheme.

However, there are a few exceptions to this general correspondence, including bisyllabic morphemes (written with two characters), bimorphemic syllables (written with two characters) and cases where a single character represents a polysyllabic word or phrase.Modern Chinese has many homophones; thus the same spoken syllable may be represented by many characters, depending on meaning. A single character may also have a range of meanings, or sometimes quite distinct meanings; occasionally these correspond to different pronunciations. Cognates in the several varieties of Chinese are generally written with the same character. They typically have similar meanings, but often quite different pronunciations. In other languages, most significantly today in Japanese and sometimes in Korean, characters are used to represent Chinese loanwords, to represent native words independently of the Chinese pronunciation (e.g., kunyomi in Japanese), and as purely phonetic elements based on their pronunciation in the historical variety of Chinese from which they were acquired. These foreign adaptations of Chinese pronunciation are known as Sino-Xenic pronunciations and have been useful in the reconstruction of Middle Chinese.

Chinese script styles

In Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters can be written according to five major styles. These styles are intrinsically linked to the history of Chinese script.

East Asia

East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The region includes China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. People indigenous to the region are called East Asians. China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam belong to the East Asian cultural sphere.The region was the cradle of various ancient civilizations such as ancient China, ancient Japan, ancient Korea, and the Mongol Empire. East Asia was one of the cradles of world civilization, with China, an ancient East Asian civilization being one of the earliest cradles of civilization in human history. For thousands of years, China largely influenced East Asia (as it was principally the leading civilization in the region), exerting its enormous prestige and influence on its neighbors. Historically, societies in East Asia have been part of the Chinese cultural sphere, and East Asian vocabulary and scripts are often derived from Classical Chinese and Chinese script. The Chinese calendar preserves traditional East Asian culture and serves as the root to which many other East Asian calendars are derived from. Major religions in East Asia include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana Buddhism which came via trade routes from India.), Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Ancestral worship, and Chinese folk religion in Greater China, Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan, and Christianity, Buddhism, and Sindoism in Korea. Shamanism is also prevalent among Mongols and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia such as the Manchus.East Asians comprise around 1.6 billion people, making up about 38% of the population in Continental Asia and 22% of the global population. The region is home to major world metropolises such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo. Although the coastal and riparian areas of the region form one of the world's most populated places, the population in Mongolia and Western China, both landlocked areas, is very sparsely distributed, with Mongolia having the lowest population density of any sovereign state. The overall population density of the region is 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340/sq mi), about three times the world average of 45/km2 (120/sq mi).

East Asian Bureau of Economic Research

The East Asian Bureau of Economic Research (EABER) is a forum for economic research and analysis of the major issues facing the economies of East Asia.

Based at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, it coordinates a network of think tanks and research institutions throughout the region including representatives from Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.

EABER's primary role is the coordination of collaborative research projects on topics relating to the Asian economy. Recent projects have focused on the Asian Century, the impact of Chinese ODI and the role of the G20 in Asia. Bringing together expertise from across the region, EABER also hosts a series of academic conferences and public policy events to share and disseminate ideas on the Asian economy. The East Asia Forum - an EABER-run online publication - provides a platform for the latest research, accessible to policymakers, the wider academic community, and members of the public.

East Asian people

East Asian people (East Asians, Northeast Asians, or Orientals) is a racial classification specifier used for ethnic groups and subgroups that are indigenous to East Asia, which consists of China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. The major ethnic groups that form the core of East Asia are the Han, Korean, and Yamato. Other ethnic groups of East Asia include the Bai, Hui, Tibetans, Manchus, Ryukyuan, Ainu, Zhuang, and Mongols.

East Asian religions

In the study of comparative religion, the East Asian religions or Taoic religions form a subset of the Eastern religions. This group includes Chinese religion overall, which further includes Ancestral Worship, Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism and so-called popular salvationist organisations (such as Yiguandao and Weixinism), as well as elements drawn from Mahayana Buddhism that form the core of Chinese Buddhism and East Asian Buddhism at large. The group also includes Japanese Shintoism and Korean Sindoism (both meaning "Ways of Gods" and identifying the indigenous shamanic religion and ancestor worship of such peoples), which have received influences from Chinese religions throughout the centuries. Chinese salvationist religions have influenced the rise of Korean and Japanese new religions—for instance, respectively, Jeungsanism, and Tenriism; these movements draw upon indigenous traditions but are heavily influenced by Chinese philosophy and theology.

All these religious traditions, more or less, share core Chinese concepts of spirituality, divinity and world order, including Tao 道 ("Way"; pinyin dào, Japanese tō or dō, and Korean do) and Tian 天 ("Heaven"; Japanese ten, and Korean cheon).

Early Chinese philosophies defined the Tao and advocated cultivating the de, "virtue", which arises from the knowledge of such Tao. Some ancient schools merged into traditions with different names or became extinct, such as Mohism (and many others of the Hundred Schools of Thought), which was largely absorbed into Taoism. East Asian religions include many theological stances, including polytheism, nontheism, henotheism, monotheism, pantheism, panentheism and agnosticism. East Asian religions have many Western adherents, though their interpretations may differ significantly from traditional East Asian religious thought and culture.

The place of Taoic religions among major religious groups is comparable to the Abrahamic religions found in Europe and the Western World as well as across the Middle East and the Muslim World and Dharmic religions across South Asia.

Etymology of tea

The etymology of the word tea can be traced back to the various Chinese pronunciations of the word. Nearly all the words for tea worldwide, fall into three broad groups: te, cha and chai, which reflected the history of transmission of tea drinking culture and trade from China to countries around the world. The few exceptions of words for tea that do not fall into these three broad groups are mostly from the minor languages from the botanical homeland of the tea plant, and likely to be the ultimate origin of the Chinese words for tea.


Fanqie (Chinese: 反切; pinyin: fǎnqiè) is a method in traditional Chinese lexicography to indicate the pronunciation of a monosyllabic character by using two other characters, one with the same initial consonant as the desired syllable and one with the same rest of the syllable (the final).

The method was introduced in the 3rd century AD and used in dictionaries and commentaries on the classics until the early 20th century.

Horses in East Asian warfare

Horses in East Asian warfare are inextricably linked with the strategic and tactical evolution of armed conflict. A warrior on horseback or horse-drawn chariot changed the balance of power between civilizations.

When people with horses clashed with those without, horses provided a huge advantage. When both sides had horses, battles turned on the strength and strategy of their mounted horsemen, or cavalry. Military tactics were refined in terms of the use of horses (cavalry tactics).

As in most cultures, a war horse in East Asia was trained to be controlled with limited use of reins, responding primarily to the rider's legs and weight. Horses were significant factors in the Han-Hun Wars and Wuhu incursions against past kingdoms of China, and the Mongol conquest of much of Eurasia and into Europe; and they played a part in military conflicts on a smaller, more localized scale.

Japanese people

Japanese people (Japanese: 日本人, Hepburn: nihonjin) are an ethnic group that is native to the Japanese archipelago and modern country of Japan, where they constitute 98.5% of the total population. Worldwide, approximately 129 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 125 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live outside Japan are referred to as nikkeijin (日系人), the Japanese diaspora. The term ethnic Japanese is often used to refer to mainland Japanese people, specifically Yamato people. Japanese people are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world.

Journal of East Asian Studies

The Journal of East Asian Studies is a peer-reviewed academic journal published triannually by Lynne Rienner Publishers. It was established in 2001 and is abstracted and indexed by Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, International Political Science Abstracts, and Social Sciences Citation Index. As of 2012 the editor-in-chief is Stephan Haggard.


Koreans (Korean: 한민족, 한국인, 한국사람; Hanja: 韓民族, 韓國人, 韓國사람; RR: Hanminjok, Hanguk-in, Hanguksaram in South Korean; alternatively Korean: 조선민족, 조선인, 조선사람; Hanja: 朝鮮民族, 朝鮮人, 朝鮮사람; RR: Joseonminjok, Joseonin, Joseonsaram in North Korean, lit. "Korean race"; see names of Korea) are an East Asian ethnic group native to Korea and southwestern Manchuria.Koreans mainly live in the two Korean states: North Korea and South Korea (collectively and simply referred to as Korea). They are also an officially recognized ethnic minority in China, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, plus in a number of Post-Soviet states, such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Over the course of the 20th century, significant Korean communities have formed in the Americas (especially in the United States and Canada) and Oceania.

As of 2017, there were an estimated 7.4 million ethnic Koreans residing outside Korea.

Latin regional pronunciation

Latin pronunciation, both in the classical and post-classical age, has varied across different regions and different eras. As the respective languages have undergone sound changes, the changes have often applied to the pronunciation of Latin as well.

Latin still in use today is more often pronounced according to context, rather than geography. For a century, Italianate (perhaps more properly, modern Roman) Latin has been the official pronunciation of the Catholic Church due to the centrality of Italy and Italian, and this is the default of many singers and choirs. In the interest of Historically informed performance some singers of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music adopt the pronunciation of the composer's period and region. While in Western university classics departments the reconstructed classical pronunciation has been general since around 1945, in the Anglo-American legal professions the older style of academic Latin survives to this day.

The following table shows the main differences between different regions with the International Phonetic Alphabet. This is far from a complete listing and lacks the local variations exhibited through centuries, but should give an outline of main characteristics of different regions.

In ecclesiastical use, these regional varieties were, and to a great extent still are, in use, although the Italian model is increasingly advocated and usually followed even for speakers of English, sometimes with slight variations. The official version is that given in the Liber Usualis. This book prescribes a silent "h", except in the two words "mihi" and "nihil", which are pronounced /miki/ and /nikil/ (this is not universally followed). Some English singers choose to pronounce "h" as /h/ for extra clarity.

Literary and colloquial readings of Chinese characters

Differing literary and colloquial readings for certain Chinese characters are a common feature of many Chinese varieties, and the reading distinctions for these linguistic doublets often typify a dialect group. Literary readings (文讀/文读; wéndú) are usually used in loanwords, names (geographic and personal), literary works (like poetry), and in formal settings, while colloquial/vernacular readings (白讀/白读; báidú) are usually used in everyday vernacular speech.

For example, in Mandarin the character for the word "white" (白) is generally pronounced bái ([pǎi]), but as a name or in certain formal or historical settings it can be pronounced bó ([pwǒ]). This example is particularly well known due to its effect on the modern pronunciation of the names of the Tang dynasty (618–907) poets Bai Juyi and Li Bai (alternatively, "Bo Juyi" and "Li Bo").

The differing pronunciations led linguists to explore the linguistic strata. It is generally believed that the colloquial readings represent a substratum, while their literary counterparts a superstratum. In other words, colloquial readings preserve more ancient and conservative pronunciations, while literary readings represent recent pronunciations of foreign influence, especially by the prestigeous dialects of historical capitals such as Nanjing or Beijing. The case is reversed in Mandarin Chinese, however, where literary pronunciations are usually older.

Middle Chinese

Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the Qieyun, a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded editions. The Swedish linguist Bernard Karlgren believed that the dictionary recorded a speech standard of the capital Chang'an of the Sui and Tang dynasties. However, based on the more recently recovered preface of the Qieyun, most scholars now believe that it records a compromise between northern and southern reading and poetic traditions from the late Northern and Southern dynasties period. This composite system contains important information for the reconstruction of the preceding system of Old Chinese phonology (1st millennium BC).

The fanqie method used to indicate pronunciation in these dictionaries, though an improvement on earlier methods, proved awkward in practice. The mid-12th-century Yunjing and other rime tables incorporate a more sophisticated and convenient analysis of the Qieyun phonology. The rime tables attest to a number of sound changes that had occurred over the centuries following the publication of the Qieyun. Linguists sometimes refer to the system of the Qieyun as Early Middle Chinese and the variant revealed by the rime tables as Late Middle Chinese.

The dictionaries and tables describe pronunciations in relative terms, but do not give their actual sounds. Karlgren was the first to attempt a reconstruction of the sounds of Middle Chinese, comparing its categories with modern varieties of Chinese and the Sino-Xenic pronunciations used in the reading traditions of neighbouring countries. Several other scholars have produced their own reconstructions using similar methods.

The Qieyun system is often used as a framework for the study and description of various modern varieties of Chinese. Branches of the Chinese family such as Mandarin (including Standard Chinese, based on the speech of Beijing), Yue (including Cantonese) and Wu (including Shanghainese) can be largely treated as divergent developments from it. The study of Middle Chinese also provides for a better understanding and analysis of Classical Chinese poetry, such as the study of Tang poetry.

Names of Vietnam

Việt Nam (listen) is a variation of Nam Việt (Southern Việt), a name that can be traced back to the Triệu dynasty (2nd century BC, also known as Nanyue Kingdom). The word "Việt" originated as a shortened form of Bách Việt, a word used to refer to a people who lived in what is now southern China in ancient times. The word "Việt Nam", with the syllables in the modern order, first appears in the 16th century in a poem by Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm. "Annam", which originated as a Chinese name in the seventh century, was the common name of the country during the colonial period. Nationalist writer Phan Bội Châu revived the name "Vietnam" in the early 20th century. When rival communist and anti-communist governments were set up in 1945, both immediately adopted this as the country's official name. In English, the two syllables are usually combined into one word, "Vietnam." However, "Viet Nam" was once common usage and is still used by the United Nations and by the Vietnamese government.

Throughout history, there were many names used to refer to Vietnam. Besides official names, there are names that are used unofficially to refer to territory of Vietnam. Vietnam was called Văn Lang during the Hùng Vương Dynasty, Âu Lạc when An Dương was king, Nam Việt during the Triệu Dynasty, Van Xuan during the Anterior Lý Dynasty, Đại Cồ Việt during the Đinh dynasty and Early Lê dynasty. Starting in 1054, Vietnam was called Đại Việt (Great Viet). During the Hồ dynasty, Vietnam was called Đại Ngu.

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek in teaching

Ancient Greek has been pronounced in various ways by those studying Ancient Greek literature in various times and places. This article covers those pronunciations; the modern scholarly reconstruction of its ancient pronunciation is covered in Ancient Greek phonology.

Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary

Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary (Vietnamese: Từ Hán Việt, Hán Nôm: 詞漢越, literally "Sino-Vietnamese words") are words and morphemes of the Vietnamese language borrowed from Chinese. They comprise about a third of the Vietnamese lexicon, and may account for as much as 60% of the vocabulary used in formal texts. This vocabulary was originally written with Chinese characters that were used in the Vietnamese writing system, but like all written Vietnamese, is now written with the Latin-based Vietnamese alphabet that was adopted in the early 20th century.

Together with Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese vocabularies, Sino-Vietnamese has been used in the reconstruction of the sound categories of Middle Chinese.

Samuel Martin (1953) grouped the three together as "Sino-xenic".

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