Duan Yucai

From Academic Kids

Duàn Yùcái (段玉裁, 1735 - 1815) was a Qing Dynasty scholar in China. He authored an annotated version of Shuōwén Jiězì in which he brought a new insight to the Han Dynasty work in explaining the Chinese characters and their meanings. He also advanced the study into Old Chinese in which he systematically categorised characters into major rime groups, gleaning insights to the sounds of the characters by looking primarily at the phonetic components of the characters.

He reasoned that if phonetic components were used, then characters having the same phonetic components would have similar phonological properties. He was able to deduce that modern pronunciations, even Middle Chinese pronunciations, where there was a loss of endings could be reconstructed this way in Old Chinese.

See also: Historical Chinese Phonologyzh-cn:段玉裁

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