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The Synonymy and Polysemy of Characters with Level and Falling-rising Tones in Tang Poems
Author(s): 
Pages: 105-118
Year: Issue:  2
Journal: Yangtze River Academic

Keyword:  One Character with Level and Oblique TonesSynonymy and Polysemy of Characters with Level and Falling rising TonesNormal and Abnormal PronunciationMetrics of Level and Oblique Tones;
Abstract: This paper analyzes the tone-meaning relationship of two kinds of characters with level and falling-rising tones in Tang poems. One kind of them has the same meaning with the two tones, while the other has different meanings with the two(or one)tones. 1.There are 22 synonymy characters with level and falling-rising tones. These characters have only one tone in pre-Medieval Chinese(level tone 10 and falling-rising tone 12), which indicate the original and the extended meanings. Afterwards they get another tone(falling-rising tone 10 and level tone 12)without changing their meanings. This is the formation of the synonymy characters with level and falling-rising tones. 2.There are 10 characters that also have only one tone in pre-Medieval Chinese(level or falling-rising tone). Afterwards some of them get another tone for the extended or borrowed meanings. This is the formation of the synonymy or homonymy characters with level and falling-rising tones. 3.The usage of the two kinds of characters has a history of emerging in earlier Medieval Chinese and developing in Tang dynasty. Its main function is to meet the demand of metrics of Tang poems. 4.These characters have greatly changed their tones in Modern Chinese: The synonymy characters have only one tone(level or falling-rising tone); while some characters have changed from falling-rising tone to falling or level tone. As a result,the tone-meaning relationship of these characters has disappeared in Tang dynasty. However, the understanding of Tang poems should be based on the tone-meaning relationship then, so that the meanings and metrics are not mistaken.
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