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Xiao'erjing or Xiao'erjin or in its shortened form, Xiaojing ( ), is the practice of writing Sinitic languages such as Mandarin (especially the Lanyin, Zhongyuan and Northeastern dialects) or the Dungan language in the Arabic script. It is used on occasion by many ethnic minorities who adhere to the Islamic faith in Chinamarker (mostly the Hui, but also the Dongxiang, and the Salar), and formerly by their Dungan descendants in Central Asia. Sovietmarker writing reforms forced the Dungan to replace Xiao'erjing with a Roman orthography and later a Cyrillic one, which they continue to use up until today.

Xiao'erjing is written from right to left, as with other writing systems based on the Arabic alphabet. The Xiao'erjing writing system is similar to the present writing system of the Uyghur language in that all the vowels are explicitly marked at all times. This is in contrast to the practice of omitting the short vowels in the majority of the languages for which the Arabic script has been adopted (like Arabic, Persian, and Urdu). This is possibly due to the overarching importance of the vowel in a Chinese syllable.

Nomenclature

Xiao'erjing does not have a standard name to which it can be referred. In Shanximarker, Hebeimarker, Henanmarker, Shandongmarker, eastern Shaanximarker and also Beijing, Tianjinmarker, and the Northeastern provinces, the script is referred to as "Xiǎo'érjīng", which when shortened becomes "Xiǎojīng" or "Xiāojīng" (the latter "Xiāo" has the meaning of "to review" in the aforementioned regions). In Ningxia, Gansumarker, Inner Mongolia, Qinghaimarker, western Shaanximarker and the Northwestern provinces, the script is referred to as "Xiǎo'érjǐn". The Dongxiang people refer to it as the "Dongxiang script" or the "Huihui script"; The Salar refer to it as the "Salar script"; The Dungan of Central Asia used a variation of Xiao'erjing called the "Hui script", before abandoning the Arabic script for Latin and Cyrillic.

Origins

Since the arrival of Islam during the Tang Dynasty (beginning in the mid-7th century), many Arabic or Persian speaking people migrated into China. Centuries later, these peoples assimilated with the native Han Chinese, forming the Hui ethnicity of today. Many Chinese Muslim students attended madrasas to study Classical Arabic and the Qur'an. Because these students had a very basic understanding of Chinese characters but would have a better command of the spoken tongue once assimilated, they started using the Arabic alphabet for Chinese. This was often done by writing notes in Chinese to aid in the memorization of surahs. This method was also used to write Chinese translations of Arabic vocabulary learned in the madrasas. Thus, a system of writing the Chinese language with Arabic script gradually developed and standardized to some extent. Currently, the oldest known artifact showing signs of Xiao'erjing is a stone stele in the courtyard of Daxue Xixiang Mosque in Xi'anmarker in the province of Shaanxi. The stele shows inscribed Qur'anic verses in Arabic as well as a short note of the names of the inscribers in Xiao'erjing. The stele was done in the year AH 740 in the Islamic calendar (between July 9,1339 and June 26,1340).

Usage

Xiao'erjing can be divided into two sets, the "Mosque system", and the "Daily system". The "Mosque system" is the system used by pupils and imams in mosques and madrasahs. It contains much Arabic and Persian religious lexicon, and no usage of Chinese characters. This system is relatively standardised, and could be considered a true writing system. The "Daily system" is the system used by the less educated for letters and correspondences on a personal level. Often simple Chinese characters are mixed in with the Arabic alphabet, mostly discussing non-religious matters, and therewith relatively little Arabic and Persian loans. This practice can differ drastically from person to person. The system would be devised by the writer himself, with one's own understanding of the Arabic and Persian alphabets, mapped accordingly to one's own dialectal pronunciation. Often, only the letter's sender and the letter's receiver can understand completely what is written, while being very difficult for others to read.

Modern usage

In recent years, the usage of Xiao'erjing is nearing extinction due to the growing economy of the People's Republic of Chinamarker and the improvement of the education of Chinese characters in rural areas of China. Chinese characters along with Hanyu Pinyin have since replaced Xiao'erjing. Since the mid 1980s, there have been much scholarly work done within and outside China concerning Xiao'erjing. On-location research has been conducted and the users of Xiao'erjing have been interviewed. Written and printed materials of Xiao'erjing were also collected by researchers, the ones at Nanjing Universitymarker being the most comprehensive.

Alphabet

Xiao'erjing has 36 letters, 4 of which are used to represent vowel sounds. The 36 letters consists of 28 letters borrowed from Arabic, 4 letters borrowed from Persian along with 2 modified letters, and 4 extra letters unique to Xiao'erjing.

Initials and consonants

Alphabet Final-Medial-Initial Standard Mandarin

pronunciation
Hanyu Pinyin Arabic



pronunciation
Persian



pronunciation
Example Notes
1 , a, a-, -a, -a- , , , , اَ(阿ā) vowel sound
2 | - b- بَا(爸bà)
3 - p- none پﹾ(婆pó) borrowed from Persian
4 - t- تَا(塔tǎ)
5 -, - q-, x- ثِئ(些xiē) sound change occurs when representing Chinese
6 - q- none none ﭤْﻮ(穷qióng)
7 - zh- ﺟﹾ(这zhè) sound change occurs when representing Chinese
8 - ch- none ﭼﹾ(车ché) borrowed from Persian
9 - h- ﺣﹾ(河hé) used before syllable with the Hanyu Pinyin finals -e, -ei, -en, -eng
10 - h- ﺧﹸ(湖hú) used before syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin finals -u, -ua, -uai, -uan, -uang, -ui, -un, -uo
11 | -, - d-, j- دٍْ(钉dīng) also used to represent a few syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initial j-
12 - z- ذَىْ(在zài)
13 - -r لِر(粒lìr) represents the rhotic final -r sound
14 none none زَكَاة(zakat) only used with Arabic loans
15 | - r- none ژﹾ(热rè) borrowed from Persian
16 -, - s-, x- سٍ(信xìn) also used to represent a few syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials s- and sh-
17 - s- none none (思sī) only used for entering tone or formerly entering tone syllables
18 -, - sh-, x- شِ(是shì) also used to represent a few syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initial x-
19 - s- | صْ(色sè)
20 none none | الْضَّاد(the Arab World) only used with Arabic loans
21 - c- none none ڞْ(册cè)
22 - z- | طٌ(遵zūn) sound change occurs when representing Chinese
23 - z- | ظْ(作zuò) sound change occurs when representing Chinese
24 e, e-, -e, -e- ﻋﹶ(恶è) a vowel when representing Chinese, but considered a consonant when representing Arabic and Persian loans
25 none none | , , , غَبْن(criminal fraud) only used with Arabic loans
26 - f- فِ(废fèi)
27 | - g- , قَ(个ge) sound change occurs when representing Chinese
28 none none none كَلِمَة(proverb) only used with Arabic loans
28 - k- none ﮎْ(可kě) borrowed from Persian
29 none none none گنج(treasure) borrowed from Persian and only used with Persian loans
30 -, - ng-, gn- none none ݣْا(仰ngǎng) relatively rare, used to represent either the - initial of Ningxia and Inner Mongolia or the - initial of Gansu and Qinghai
31 - l- | لِ(里lǐ)
32 | - m-, n- مِ(秘mì)
33 - n- نِ(你nǐ)
34 - h- , , هَا(哈hā) mostly used with Arabic loans, used before syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin finals -a, -ai, -an, -ang, -ao
35 , wu, u-, -u, -u- , , , , , ءُ(无wú) vowel sound
36 none none , none يَوْم(Judgement Day) only used with Arabic loans and a vowel sound
36 , yi, i-, -i, -i- none , , يَا(呀ya) borrowed from Persian and a vowel sound


Finals and vowels

Script Standard Mandarin

pronunciation
Hanyu Pinyin Example Notes
1 a اَ(阿ā)
2 - -a دَا(大dà)
3 ya يَا(呀ya)
4 - -ia كِا(家jiā) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials j-, q-, x-, l-
5 wa وَ(娃wá)
6 - -ua قُوَ(刮guā)
7 none o none rare, no representation in Xiao'erjing
8 none | wo none rare, no representation in Xiao'erjing
9 | e ﻋﹶ(恶è)
10 - | -e دْ(德dé)
11 wo وْ(我wǒ)
12 - -uo قُوَع(国guó)
13 er عَر(儿ér)
14 - -r لِر(粒lìr) represents the rhotic final -r sound
15 none ê none rare, no representation in Xiao'erjing
16 ye اِئ(耶yē)
17 - -ie كِئ(解jiě)
18 yue يُؤ(约yuē)
19 - -üe, -ue كُؤ(决jué) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials j-, q-, x-, l-, n-
20 yi ءِ(意yì)
21 - -i ﭼﹺ(其qí)
22 -[[[Image:Z-kunMalsuprapunkto.svg|15px]]] -i ذِ(子zǐ) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials z-, c-, s-
23 - -i ﺟﹺ(知zhī) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials zh-, ch-, sh-, r-
24 ai اَىْ(爱ài)
25 - -ai كَىْ(凯kǎi)
26 none ei none rare, no representation in Xiao'erjing
27 - -ei دِؤ(得děi)
28 wai وَىْ(歪wāi)
29 - -uai كُوَىْ(块kuài)
30 wei وِ(为wèi)
31 - -ui حُوِ(回huí)
32 wu ءُ(无wú)
33 - -u كُو(苦kǔ)
34 ao اَوْ(奥ào)
35 - -ao قَوْ(高gāo)
36 | ou عِوْ(偶ǒu)
37 - | -ou كِوْ(口kǒu)
38 yao يَوْ(要yào)
39 - -iao كِيَوْ(教jiào)
40 | you يِوْ(有yǒu)
41 - | -iu نِيِوْ(牛niú)
42 yu ىُ(与yǔ)
43 - -ü, -u نُوُ(女nǚ) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials j-, q-, x-, l-, n-
44 an ءًا(安ān)
45 - -an دًا(但dàn)
46 en ءٌ(恩ēn)
47 - -en قٍ(根gēn)
48 yin ءٍ(因yīn)
49 - -in ٿٍ(勤qín)
50 yun ىٌ(孕yùn)
51 - -un کﹲ(均jūn) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials j-, q-, x-
52 yan يًا(严yán)
53 - -ian لِيًا(练liàn)
54 | wan وًا(万wàn)
55 - -uan كُوًا(宽kuān)
56 yuan يُوًا(源yuán)
57 - -uan كُوًا(捐juān) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials j-, q-, x-
58 | wen وٌ(问wèn)
59 - -un کﹲ(困kùn)
60 ang ءْا(昂áng)
61 - -ang قْا(刚gāng)
62 none eng none rare, no representation in Xiao'erjing
63 - -eng قْع(更gèng)
64 ying ىٍْ(应yīng)
65 - -ing لٍْ(另lìng)
66 - -ong خْو(宏hóng)
67 yong يْو(用yòng)
68 - -iong ﭤْﻮ(穷qióng) limited to syllables with the Hanyu Pinyin initials j-, q-, x-
69 yang يْا(羊yáng)
70 - -iang لِيْا(良liáng)
71 | wang وْا(忘wàng)
72 - -uang كُوْا(况kuàng)
73 | weng وْع(翁wēng)

Vowels in Arabic and Persian loans follow their respective orthographies, namely, only the long vowels are represented and the short vowels are omitted.Although the sukuun () can be omitted when representing Arabic and Persian loans, it cannot be omitted when representing Chinese. The exception being that of oft-used monosyllabic words which can have the sukuun omitted from writing. For example, when emphasised, "的" and "和" are written as "دِ" and " ﺣَ"; when unemphasised, they can be written with the sukuuns as "دْ" and " ﺣْ", or without the sukuuns as "د" and " ".Similarly, the sukuun can also represent the Chinese - final. This is sometimes replaced by the fatHatan (), the kasratan (), or the dammatan ().In polysyllabic words, the final 'alif ( ) that represents the long vowel -ā can be omitted and replaced by a fatHah () representing the short vowel -ă.Xiao'erjing is similar to Hanyu Pinyin in the respect that words are written as one, while a space is inserted between words.When representing Chinese words, the shaddah sign represents a doubling of the entire syllable on which it rests. It has the same function as the Chinese iteration mark "々".Arabic punctuation marks can be used with Xiao'erjing as can Chinese punctuation marks, they can also be mixed (Chinese pauses and periods with Arabic commas and quotation marks).

Example

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Xiao'erjing, simplified and traditional Chinese characters, Hanyu Pinyin and English:
  • Xiao'erjing:
  • Chinese characters :
  • Chinese characters :
  • Hanyu Pinyin: "Rénrén shēng ér zìyóu, zài zūnyán hé quánlì shàng yílǜ píngděng. Tāmen fù yǒu lǐxìng hé liángxīn, bìng yīng yǐ xiōngdiguānxì de jīngshén hùxiāng duìdài."
  • English: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."


See also



References

  • Xiaojing Qur'an Dongxiang County, Lingxia autonomous prefecture, Gansu, PRC
  • Huijiao Bizun 154 pp, photocopied edition.
  • Muhammad Musah Abdulihakh. Islamic faith Q&A 2nd ed. Beiguan Street Mosque, Xining, Qinghai, PRC, appendix contains a Xiao'erjing-Hanyu Pinyin-Arabic alphabet comparison chart.
  • Feng Zenglie. Beginning Dissertation on Xiao'erjing: Introducing a phonetic writing system of the Arabic script adopted for Chinese in The Arab World Issue #1. 1982.
  • Chen Yuanlong. The Xiaojing writing system of the Dongxiang ethnicity in China's Dongxiang ethnicity. People's Publishing House of Gansu. 1999.


External links




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