What Makes Chinese so Vietnamese?
An Introduction to Sinitic-Vietnamese Studies
(Ýthức mới về nguồngốc tiếngViệt)
Table of Contents
XIII) Case study worksheet
Below are some helpful suggestive guidelines of how to arrive to a target root for both C and V cognates by means of another approach, that is, possible sound changes in dissyllabicity via association and assimilation.
We will work with a "Case study worksheet", a paper tool that you can brainstorm and explore possibilities of those V words as candidates of C origin. I usually visualize with similar picture graphically in my mind when attempting to find words plausibly cognate to those C equivalents. For novices, assumably still at loss or unfamiliar with all the complication of aforementioned abstract concepts such as lexicographical dissyllabics and etymological analogy, it is nice to have something concrete to start with after all arguments on theories as well as hypotheses discussed so far.
This worksheet is just one of several possible organized ways to do on paper following the dissyllabic and analogical methodologies as have been disscussed throughout this paper. By all means what appears in the worksheet is much of brainstorming techniques more than rigid principles and you can always add something else of your own to the etymological work you are working on. Once you get used to the actual process you may be able to work out mentally just like your second nature.
To start working you may want to examine some of the provided examples just right before some blank rows and columns in this worksheet where you can write down candidate words of possible C origin in the first column (1) in both monosyllabic ("đơnâmtiết") and dissyllabic ("songâmtiết") sub-columns. In V there exist many words that are homonymous, which will give you more ideas to explore further.
In the 2nd column (2) called "sandhi" (chuyểnâm), sub-divided into smaller columns named "association" (liêntưởng) and "assimilation" (đồnghoá), respectively, you should try to ask yourself the question why the word is said the way it is, but not something else, and what are other possible variations? What has caused it to become such vocalization and what are the possiblities of its relation to other similar words in both C and V? Have they all been evolved from the same roots or final results of some localiztion or innovation?
In the 3rd column (3) called "analogy" (sosánh) you will have a chance to classify the word into the "categorical" (thểloại) groups and then you can try to apply the principle of "corollary" (quynạp) as mentioned earlier in this paper. That is, you should know which words ought to be in the same category as those under examination and then from there you should continue to use the principle of analogy to explore further possible leads for even more words that can appear differently in several, not just only one, C equivalents.
There is a very good chance that the word your are examining is of a product of local development (chữmới) (column 4) where new innovation ("Vietnamized" or Việthoá) has been rendered. You may find that in many cases all the original C traces inside that word might have disapppeared completely; therefore, in the sub-column called "sound changes" (biếnâm), it is not expected to find systematic patterns of sound change which certainly do not fit into plausible phonological rules as we used to see in the shifting phonetic patterns that have resulted in the existing SV lexicons.
Also, keep in mind that all sound changes are possible, though, when you attempt to relate the word under scrutiny to other "possible sources/forms" (nhậndạng chữgốc/từpháisinh) (colum 5), especially when dissyllabic formation of both words in both C and V is taken into consideration. In other words, you should not examine only single C character and assume that it is the only channel, or the only way, that such character can give rise monosyllabically to only another word in V. That is, the words under discussion are also possible results of sound changes from several different words of C origin; that is what sub-column "Word-character" or "tự/tiếng" and sub-column "Word" or "từ" are for.
In all possibilities, try your best to fill out in all the provided blanks as many as possible and do not worry much about the exact columns they ought to belong to. If you cannot think of one so, just leave them blank for a while. Later on, expectedly, when you return to review the whole thing you may discover something new to make up for something which has been missing during the process.
Overall, the purpose of this worksheet is to give give you a concrete pen-and-paper tool to search more V words of C origin in addition to what you have already known and accepted them as the only plausible C cognates.