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woodcutter

The "Gan" Language

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woodcutter

A look at a linguistic map of China will tell you that Jiangxi, where I used to teach, uses the "Gan" language, and that neighbouring Hunan uses the "Xiang" language. As far as I could make out, people who came from distant places within the same province spoke to each other in Putonghua and were not aware that they shared any local language. Is there any real reason to claim that there is such a thing as a "Gan" language? :conf

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ananda

Use my mandarin ear, I could get many tips from 'Xiang' dialect,

but 'Gan', I could nearly get nothing. It's said that 'Gan' is a little

similar as Hakkar, but I don't know both of them.

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anonymoose
On 08/07/2004 at 5:35 AM, woodcutter said:

Is there any real reason to claim that there is such a thing as a "Gan" language?

 

I'm not very familiar with Gan, but most so-called dialects such as Gan, Cantonese, Minnan and so on, actually consist of many different dialects of their own, and would probably be better described as language families. So people from different parts of Jiangxi communicating in Putonghua is hardly surprising.

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woodcutter

It made me laugh to be notified of this reply fourteen years later! Anyway, yes, but what actually pulls the "Gan" language groups together? Is it just the map, in fact? Since nobody gives much of a monkeys about the Gan language, do they just assume there must be a connection going on because people have found connections among other better studied language clusters?

Edited by woodcutter
mistake

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Lu
18 minutes ago, woodcutter said:

Anyway, yes, but what actually pulls the "Gan" language groups together?

Based on what you tell us in the first post (that Gan speakers from different places don't necessarily feel they speak the same 方言), you probably need a linguist with a sound knowledge of Chinese dialects to answer that question (or a book written by such a linguist). But I would guess that such linguists have good and well-researched reasons for grouping the various Gan varieties together.

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anonymoose

This doesn't exactly answer your question, but is somehow slightly related:

 

(From here)

 

Quote

 

赣语历史十分悠久,还保留着许多远古时的印记,比如“站”是普通话中最普通的词汇,而赣语族群却说成“企”,商周时的华夏族就是这么说的。“企”的甲骨文和金文描绘了一个侧立的“人形”,特别强调了“脚掌”,生动的表示了“站立”的意义。后来随着隶书的出现,“人”和“企”开始分离。在“企鹅”一词中,“企”字任然保存了古义,说明它不是普通的鹅,而是站立着的鹅。

其实早在西汉时期,赣语就已经开始初具规模了。赣语的发展历史主要分为两个时期。第一个是秦汉时期,在秦国统一六国之后,由于经济政治上的需求,组织了一系列、强制性的人口迁移。而从这时候开始,赣语由此开始茅芽。而在两晋南北朝的270年中,出现了7次南下移民的高潮。这时候的赣语也形成了一种新的汉语方言。

 

 

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Michaelyus

Phonologically, Gan and Hakka are often considered together (although not uncontroversially). The main drivers are:

  • voiced obstruents in Middle Chinese become voiceless aspirated obstruents in all tones (whereas in Mandarin and Yue/Cantonese they only become aspirated if in the Middle Chinese even (平) tone);
  • keeping the final obstruent plosives -p, -t, -k of the Middle Chinese entering (入) tone (although not evenly; depending the particular topolect, the -p is turned into -k or -t, in line with -m turning into -ng or -n).

Both of these have come under revision and attack though. In practice, one just tries to form an idea of the family by comparing all the regional topolects with an exemplar topolect of the family, which for Gan would be 南昌 Nanchang.

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