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Title:A synchronic classification of Rukai dialects in Taiwan: A quantitative study of mutual intelligibility
Author(s):Tu, Wen-Chiu
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cheng, Chin-Chuan
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:This thesis investigates mutual intelligibility and synchronic relationship among five Rukai dialects in Taiwan (Formosa). Cheng's (1990, 1992a and 1992b) quantitative method for classifying Chinese dialects is adopted in this study. The mutual intelligibility at issue is systemic mutual intelligibility in Cheng's term, which is objectively calculated on the basis of linguistic correspondence patterns rather than subjectively determined by speakers' impression. While Chinese is known as a monosyllabic and isolating language, Rukai is multisyllabic and agglutinating. Cheng's method of classifying Chinese dialects is therefore slightly modified to account for Rukai synchronic relationship in terms of sound correspondences, stress patterns, semantic shifts and lexical sharing. A computer database was constructed based on the 861 words and variants collected by Li (1977a). Statistically speaking, the 861 words and variants constitutes population. In other words, conclusions are drawn on the basis of these words and variants.
Rukai is a member of the Austronesian language family. The five Rukai dialects are Tanan, Budai, Maga, Tona and Mantauran. Geographically, Rukai speakers are distributed over the southeastern mountains of Taiwan. Being an island, Taiwan is located about 100 miles off the southeast coast of China, between Japan and the Philippines.
The result of this study shows that Maga and Tona are the two most mutually intelligible dialects. Tanan and Budai are the next closely related subgroup. Mantauran is later combined with the Maga-Tona cluster. Finally, the cluster of Maga-Tona-Mantauran and the cluster of Tanan and Budai are combined to form the Rukai group. This study agrees with Li's (1977a) classification and Li's (1990:11) field experience of Rukai mutual intelligibility. Differences between this study and Li's (1977a) are as follows. On one hand, this study includes stress patterns and semantic shifts in addition to sound and lexical evidence. On the other hand, this study provides degrees of mutual intelligibility. That is, this study indicates the relationship between Maga and Tona is closer than the relationship between Tanan and Budai. Also, the relationship of Mantauran to Maga and Tona is remote though Mantauran is combined with them.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Tu, Wen-Chiu
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9416445
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9416445

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