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Welcome! Please call me “Nils” – everyone does.
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- Renamed section; was “Hi”. —Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 15:30, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
The etymology at tea is great. There is, however, a small part which I may not be so sure. Proto-Min itself split from other Chinese at an earlier date than Middle Chinese, but a large part of the modern lexicon results from later layers of influence from other Chinese varieties. The possibility that Amoy Min Nan tê is a descendant from a Middle Chinese layer cannot be excluded; the correspondence seems fairly regular - retroflex in MC 茶 ɖɣa would regularly become Amoy t. There is a paragraph discussing this at w:Historical Chinese phonology#Branching off of the modern varieties. Cheers, Wyang (talk) 23:46, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
- I should add that it really is one of our most complete etymology sections, although I wonder what some of the reconstructed forms along the way (like Proto-Min would be). But I dispute a minor part of your 'Cognates' section; I believe that, with the exception of secondary borrowings, East African languages' words for tea are from chá (e.g. Swahili chai) via Indian languages. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:47, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the kind words! (Agreed, it does more detailed reconstructions of earlier forms.) To your points:
- Wyang, I don’t know much about historical Chinese linguistics. From my reading of the WP article, it states that Min is not descended from Middle Chinese. Specifically it states:
- Min Chinese, on the other hand, is known to have branched off even before Early Middle Chinese (EMC) of c. 600 AD.
Thus, while it is possible that a word in Min is a borrowing from Middle Chinese (or later) at some point, regular correspondences seem more likely to simply be cognates. That’s why I’m placing the tê/chá split as happening at Proto-Min/Middle Chinese, since that’s my understanding of the history. Perhaps the WP article as written is too strong, and some of Min is descended from a layer of MC, while other parts are from an earlier branching (or perhaps it’s possible that Min is descended completely from MC, but that seems clearly rejected).
Beyond what’s correct for the case of tea, there’s also the question of what to write on the policy page (Wiktionary:About Sinitic languages#Historical languages) so it’s clear and consistent.
- Meta, your point about ocean trade from India is well-taken; I’ve revised the etymology. Regarding the use of tê in Africa, the reference gives a map Map 138A. Tea, which shows lots of use of tê around Africa, mostly south and west, but also some in the east. In East Africa the Indian words from chá are presumably older, though I don’t know how far they spread, and whether tê is just a secondary borrowing or has displaced them. Hope current form is better – please feel free to correct!
So beyond revisions per your suggestions and details:
- Wyang, what do we want to say about the origins of Min, both at tea and on policy page?
- —Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 15:29, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
- I note that tê forms in Africa are generally clustered around Anglophone (and Afrikaans-speaking) areas, and thus suspect they may be colonial borrowings; East Africans conducted their own trade with the East or via Arab merchants, so they didn't succumb to as many English borrowings. In any case, it's all good now. Thanks! —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:38, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
- Yup, that sounds like what happened!
- —Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 23:07, 14 August 2013 (UTC)