2018/2019 School of Chinese Research Seminar
Tangut fragments with Tibetan phonetic glosses:
categorization, decipherment and application
戴忠沛博士Dr. Tai Chung-pui
時間Time: 4:30– 6:00 pm; October 26, 2018 (Friday)
地點Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
西夏語是11至13世紀西夏主體民族党項人的語言，屬漢藏語系藏緬語支，雖然約在 16 世紀已經消亡，但留下大量以西夏文寫成的文獻，是五種保存了早期書寫記錄的古典漢藏語之一，能為原始漢藏語的構擬提供証據。西夏文是一種表音程度甚低的方塊文字，因此必須利用西夏時期留下來的語音證據將西夏語重新構擬。存世的西夏文獻裏有大約 30 份附有藏文注音的西夏文殘片，裏面的西夏字旁邊有以藏文拼寫法標示的西夏字音，是構擬西夏語音系統和各西夏字字音的關鍵資料。這批殘片自 1920 年代初發現以來，由於部分曾經失踪，殘片內的手寫字體潦草、內容涉及大量藏傳佛教詞語，至今未得到完整的解讀和整理。本次演講將介紹這批殘片的發現經過和研究歷史，並討論如何將殘片分類、考證各類殘片內文本的出處，及如何利用藏文注音資料修正西夏語的語音系統構擬方案。
Tangut is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by Tangut people in the Xixia Empire between the 11th and 13th centuries. Although it became extinct around the 16th century, Tangut was one of the five classical Sino-Tibetan languages with early written records preserved, as a large number of Tangut manuscripts have been found and preserved. Comprehensive analysis of these valuable sources of evidence would provide useful information for linguists to reconstruct Proto-Sino-Tibetan. Tangut had a character-based writing system which provides little information on its pronunciation, the reconstruction of Tangut phonology therefore has to rely on other phonetic materials written over the centuries. Important insights into Tangut phonology were offered by studies looking at Tibetan phonetic glosses found in around 30 Tangut fragmentary manuscripts. The pronunciation of Tangut characters were hinted with phonetic glosses written in Tibetan. Due to difficulties such as getting hold of all the fragments, interpreting scratchy handwriting and understanding specific Tibetan Buddhism terms, the content in these Tangut fragments have not yet fully deciphered since they were discovered in the early 1920s. This talk will discuss (i) the discovery and academic history of these fragments, (ii) the categorization of the fragments, (iii) the examination of textual origins in the fragments, and (iv) the modification of Tangut phonological reconstruction scheme based on evidence from Tibetan glosses in these fragments.
Dr. Tai Chung-pui is a Joint Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Arts, HKU. His research interests include Chinese language curriculum in Hong Kong, teaching Chinese as a second language for non-Chinese speaking students in Hong Kong, ethnic minority languages and manuscripts in Mainland China. He has studied Tangut since 2004, and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2008 on his research about Tangut fragments with Tibetan phonetic gloss. He subsequently pursued his post-doctoral research in the Leiden University, the Netherlands, and carried out additional research on the Tangut manuscripts in Russia and the United Kingdom. His recent findings is published in a paper titled “Tibetan Buddhism practice of inner fire meditation as recorded in Tangut fragments with Tibetan phonetic glosses”.
ALL ARE WELCOME