Tones Evolution of Ancient Rusheng Characters with Voiceless Initials in Beijing Dialect
Based on rhyme books written in or after Yuan Dynasty, this paper examines the tones evolution of ancient Rusheng characters with voiceless initials in Beijing dialect. The data show that Rusheng characters with voiceless initials have been divided into four tones since the last years of Ming Dynasty, and the proportion of each tone to the total are similar to that in modern Beijing dialect. The material examined also proves that since Ming Dynasty, tones of the colloquial were mostly yinping and shangsheng, while the tones of the literal were yangping and qusheng, which is identical to that in modern Beijing dialect. The paper also attempts to explain the causes of tones of Rusheng characters with voiceless initials based on the history of Beijing area and the dialects around.