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Chinese Conlects


ParkeNYU
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Has anyone here attempted to construct their own topolect, incorporating some unique features not only phonologically, but also in vocabulary and grammar?

I made a topic regarding my artificially constructed Chinese phonology over a year ago, but I have recently started to create a newly constructed topolect (conlect) out of it, called Wénhua (苑話). In addition to using the sound system described here, I took Literary Chinese as a base and integrated a few sparse features of Mandarin and other topolects, as well as some original (but related) usages, to make the Literary Chinese base less vague and more structured and consistent. It's just in the beginning stages, but here is what I have so far (assume anything not hereafter listed to be identical to Literary Chinese (漢文/淺文言) usage, rather than Classical Chinese (古文/深文言) or Written Vernacular Chinese (白話文) usage, at least for now):

 

Immediate Family

祖父 zúfu    paternal grandfather
祖母 zúméu    paternal grandmother
祖爺 zúyē    maternal grandfather
祖婆 zúpō    maternal grandmother
爸父 bàfu    father
媽母 māméu    mother
夫婿 fûsèi    husband
妻婦 cêifeu    wife
兄哥 huêŋgô    older brother
姊姐 zízié    older sister
弟弟 deidei    younger brother
妹妹 moimoi    younger sister
息男 sìknām    son
息女 sìkniú    daughter
孫男 sûnnām    grandson
孫女 sûnniú    granddaughter

 

Pronouns (plurals contract with 等)

我(⿰口昂) ŋó(ŋ)    I/me (we/us)
吾(⿰口禺) ŋū(ŋ)    my/mine (our/ours)
爾(⿰口仍) jí(ŋ)    thou/thee (ye/you)
汝(⿰口宂) jú(ŋ)    thy/thine (your/yours)
伊(⿰口應) yî(ŋ)    he/him/she/her (they/them)
渠(⿰口窮) kiū(ŋ)    his/her/hers (their/theirs)
茲(⿰口丞) zî(ŋ)    it (they/them)
其(⿰口克) kī(ŋ)    its (their/theirs)
此(⿰口曾) cí(ŋ)    this (these)
斯(⿰口升) sî(ŋ)    this (these) [with counter]
彼(⿰口凭) bí(ŋ)    that (those)
夫(⿰口夆) fū(ŋ)    that (those) [with counter]

*plural characters are Unicode-compatible but are not allowed on this forum

 

Interrogative

誰    shuī        who(m)?

誰之    shuīzhî        whose?
孰    shuk        which one?
奈    nai        which? [with counter]
何     hō        what?
為何    wihō        why (for what)?
如何    jūhō        how (like what)?
何時    hōshī        when?
何處    hōchù        where?
何樣    hōyoŋ        what kind?
幾個    gígò        how many?
多少    dôshiáu        how much?
幾時    gíshī        what time?
久暫    giéuzam        how long? [time]
長短    chōŋduán    how long? [physical]
大小    daisiáu        how large?
高低    gôudêi        how tall?
重輕    zhuŋkiêŋ    how heavy?
遠近    wéngin        how far?

 

Days of the Week

星期日    siêŋkījit    Sunday
星期月    siêŋkīŋuet    Monday
星期火    siêŋkīhuó    Tuesday
星期水    siêŋkīshuí    Wednesday
星期木    siêŋkīmuk    Thursday
星期金    siêŋkīgîm    Friday
星期土    siêŋkītú    Saturday

 

1) 之(zhî) is restricted to serving as the (non-pronoun) possessive marker for nouns and modifier clauses.

2) 等(déŋ) is used as a (non-pronoun) plural marker for nouns alongside its other uses.

3) The variant form 伕(fû) can replace all instances of 夫(fû) so that 夫(fū) is reserved exclusively for its pronoun usage, although conflation would likely never occur anyway.

 

So far everything else is as you'd expect in Literary Chinese, which means that you have access to all of its synonyms as well (like 爭焉豈胡曷庸奚 to complement 為何 and 如何).

 

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Just to have a conservative topolect that descends most directly and consistently from Literary Chinese vocabulary/syntax and Late Middle Chinese phonology. Natural languages have lots of exceptions, mixtures, corruptions, evolutions, and outside influence that are a handful to juggle when learning. Why not just revive Middle Chinese? While there are some good reconstructions, its many distinctions are cumbersome and we can't know for absolute certain what it sounded like (and that also depends on where and when it was spoken). The conlect I'm making reflects what I believe Modern Standard Chinese would have been today had Song never fallen to the Jurchens and Mongols, thus precluding future Manchu rule as well.

 

Perhaps it could be used in a science fiction, fantasy, or alternate history book/film, or even those depicting the Tang-Song era, whether fictional or historical.

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17 hours ago, anonymoose said:

Why?

Because it's fun and interesting to some. I personally love it every time @ParkeNYUP posts these kinds of thing, it's great to see the differences and similarities between dialects coming together, highlighting things in this (these?) languages I would otherwise not have noticed.

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13 hours ago, Angelina said:

Try 杭州话. Apparently, it is different from the surrounding Wu languages. 

 

I'm familiar with it, along with the similar Suzhou and Shanghai dialects of Northern Wu, and it doesn't make enough distinctions for my liking. It's fun to pronounce Northern Wu sounds, and the phonological distribution is nice and symmetrical, but I'm leaning towards the Mandarin/Cantonese/Hakka side, rather than the larger, more diverse, and more distantly related Wu and Min families.

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