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The Weakening of the Middle Chinese Voiced Initials in Yiyuan Sub-cluster of Xiang Dialect

Xia Liping Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100732  
Weakening is a common phenomenon in evolution of the Middle Chinese(MC) voiced initials in Yiyuan sub-cluster of Xiang dialect. The MC voiced initials of shusheng(舒声)characters were shifted to fricatives, nasals, laterals and zero initials and so on. Geographically speaking, the weakening level is gradually decreased from the northwest to the southeast; the voiced fricatives weaken more often than the voiced affricatives, with stops as the most stubborn ones against the weakening. Tone types and the finals also pose constrains on the weakening.
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