Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



This paper attempts to reconstruct the onset of the word for ‘egg’ in Old Chinese (OC). Based solely on Middle Chinese (MC), *rˤonʔ would be the default OC reconstruction. However, philological evidence such as a phonetic relationship (also called connections), annotations, and variant characters show the relationship between the word for ‘egg’ and words with the velar onset in MC. (Interestingly, most of them belong to the so-called Division-II rhyme in MC.) In addition, comparative data from Proto-Min (*lh-), Proto-Hmong-Mien (*qr-), and Proto-Tai (*qr-) indicate the possibility of reconstructing the consonant cluster *k.rˤ- for the onset of the word for ‘egg’. In § 4, I shall provide some additional evidence from the excavated documents, such as oracle bone inscriptions 甲骨文, Chǔ bamboo slips 楚簡, and Qín bamboo slips 秦簡. In Chǔ bamboo slips, the characters having as a phonetic element represent the words having onset *k-, such as , , and (seen in 安大簡, which is also categorized as Chǔ bamboo slips 楚簡). Furthermore, the character , which has as an additional phonetic element, represents the word for ‘egg’ on Qín bamboo slips 秦簡. As noted above, the character can represent the words having onset *k-. This all constitutes evidence supporting the reconstruction of the word for ‘egg’ with the initial consonant cluster *k.rˤ- in OC, confirming the reconstruction of T’ung-ho Tung (1944) and Baxter & Sagart (2014).

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Chǔ bamboo slips; excavated documents; Old Chinese (OC); Proto-Min
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