About Chinese Historical Prosodic Phonology
As a new research area, Chinese historical prosodic phonology studies the prosody in phonological system in Archaic Chinese. The supra-segmental phenomena such as strong/weak, long/short, high/low distinctions and intonation revealed in historical texts are not only the important material and evidence for constructions of Archaic Chinese phonology， but also the crucial procedures for testing the validity of the results of the reconstruction. Recent years, a series of research in Archaic Chinese prosodic phonology have discovered more and more prosodic phenomena and corresponding principles including “moraic quantity”, “vowel sonority” and “the force of focal stress語勢輕重”. For example, the ancients used only “wo” (我) from the category of ge rhyme (歌部) but not “wu” (吾)from that of the yu rhyme (魚部) when marking the contrastive focus in “wo wei wo I am I(-myslef)” (我為我), showing that mora was the prosodic unit for strong/weak distinction among Archaic Chinese rhyme categories (韻部), and the prosodic unit for footing as well. The contrast among morae further exhibits the prosodic features such as yang rhymes (陽聲韻 with a nasal coda) are stronger than yin rhymes (without a nasal coda)(陰聲韻), and words from the ge rhyme (歌部字) are stronger than words from the yu rhyme魚部字. The purpose of Chinese historical prosodic phonology is to explore the phonological rules and their historical developments of Archaic Chinese based on the theory of prosodic mechanism (including prosodic phonological variation and change).