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"Shooting Characters": A Phonological Game and Its Uses in Late Imperial China.

The phonological communication method that originated as the game of "shooting [or 'guessing'] characters" (shezi [phrase omitted]), which used numbers to communicate elements of language according to their pronunciation, was widespread in late imperial China and known under several names. Its ubiquity inspired writers to generalize it as the paradigmatic instance of communicating without speaking or writing. Neo-Confucian philosopher, administrator, and student of Western astronomy Lu Longqi [phrase omitted] (1630-1693, or He Yufeng [phrase omitted], creator of the extant manuscript ascribed to Lu and dating from after 1716), (1) called it the "method of knocking syllables" (qiaoyin fa [phrase omitted]) and inferred its presence in a story of communication through music related in the Confucian Analects:
This [method] is what Confucius, the sage, employed when he was playing
the stone chimes in Wei and a man with a straw basket heard it and
understood his frustrated purpose.
[phrase omitted]. (2)

It was not just Confucius who allegedly communicated in this way. Hu Yin [phrase omitted] (fl. 1906), who called the method by a different, common name (that I will discuss presently), saw in it the principles of the telegraph:
Westerners use wires carrying electrical current to manipulate the
movement of a compass needle and then observe what letters (mu) the
needle indicates, and merge them to form words (zi). Communication is
thereby possible instantly, even across mountains or the vast expanses
of the oceans. What they are using is precisely this method [of
"shooting characters"].

What apparently originated as a game had, by the turn of the twentieth century, become identified with the communications technology of nineteenth-century industrialism. During its documented history of almost a millennium, the game of "shooting characters" was used in several different contexts and discussed in several more. In this paper, I will discuss the game from its earliest mentions in the thirteenth century to the first years of the twentieth, with a focus on the last centuries of imperial rule, from which most of my sources date. I will treat the game's relationship to the discipline of phonology, situate it within Chinese literati culture, survey its proposed usage as a cipher for secret letters or military communications, and finally consider its role as the indirect inspiration for a phonological writing aid for the less educated. Taken together, these actual and proposed applications of one phonological game show that Chinese phonology did not just exist in books, but encompassed distinct non-written practices that were essential to its proliferation. Widely applied in a variety of ludic, pedagogical, scholarly, and esoteric contexts, the study of Chinese phonology is of interest not only for the development of the language itself, but also for the history of cultural and intellectual life.


The game of "shooting characters," which commuted syllables to numbers, was comparable to some forms of language play in the European Renaissance. (4) It coexisted in China with games and riddles based on the structure of the script, which, like "shooting characters," were used to write encoded messages. (5) Its closest relatives, however, were arguably the drinking games so common in the late imperial period, as they, like "shooting characters," contained an element of competition and were based on "guessing" (another meaning of she). (6)

The game relied on a series of inventions in Chinese poetics and phonological lexicography. The basis of "shooting characters" was the segmentation of the Chinese syllable into a number of phonological properties and their subsequent arrangement in serial sequences according to those properties. These two related inventions appeared centuries before the earliest documented appearance of the game.

The segmentation of the syllable happened through a series of discoveries. In the fourth century CE, theoreticians of poetry identified a number of pitch tones (see figure 1) among Chinese syllables. (7) At some point, the Chinese syllable was further divided into the two parts of initial (traditionally [zi]mu [phrase omitted], "[syllabic] productive elements," (8) now called shengmu [phrase omitted]) and final (now called yunmu [phrase omitted]). It has been proposed that the analysis of the syllable into two parts might have originated in popular language games, only later making its way into books. (9) Whatever the case, the division of the syllable dates to before the seventh century CE, as dictionaries, "rhyme books" (yunshu [phrase omitted]), from that period make use of it. The segmentation of the syllable was carried out by spelling it using two other syllables. The first of the two spelling syllables shared an initial consonant (sometimes accompanied by a glide) or zero onset with the spelled syllable, and the second shared the rhyme, which included the main vowel, possibly a stop or nasal consonant, an off-glide, or, functionally speaking, a zero final if there was no consonant, and one of the morphemic pitch tones. Using the method, called fanqie [phrase omitted], for the modern standard language, we can spell xian [phrase omitted] as x(u) [phrase omitted] plus (q)ian [phrase omitted].

In rhyme books, syllables were arranged in sequences on the basis of these segmentations. The influential Guangyun [phrase omitted] (The expanded rhymes; eleventh century), (10) following earlier precedents not generally available to later scholars, separated tone from rhyme in a two-layered arrangement consisting first of a sequence of tones that, in turn, organized sequences of rhymes. The sequence of rhymes naturally had a relationship to the phonology of the spoken language. As Chinese speech varied over time and between places, the sequence of rhymes that scholars included in rhyme books varied as well. However, since the literary genre of regularized verse (lushi [phrase omitted]) became, as it name indicates, a fixed form, many rhyme books reproduced roughly the same sequence of organizing rhymes, allowing readers to use it as a reference work for writing poetry. Common rhyme books in this tradition used a sequence of around one to more than two hundred rhymes.

The initials, the existence of which was implied in the fanqie operation, were also used to arrange syllables in sequences. At least by the eighth century CE, scholars had identified a detailed repertoire of initials occurring in Chinese syllables. (11) In the most widespread version, they numbered thirty-six, but writers of later periods often reduced this number to better reflect some variant of the language as spoken in their own day.

When the game of "shooting characters" was recorded in the thirteenth century, a new tool of analysis, the graded rhyme table (dengyun tu [phrase omitted]), had been integrated to the mainstream of Chinese phonology for two hundred years. "Shooting characters" was related to the memorization of sequences from phonological dictionaries in order to facilitate the writing of regularized verse. The graded rhyme tables were probably largely used as a tool to navigate those same dictionaries. By the time of the tables' rise to popularity in the twelfth century, the dictionaries were several hundred years old and represented Chinese pronunciations that were no longer current in the spoken language, making them difficult to use. (12)1 will use Edwin G. Pulley blank's (1922-2013) Late Middle Chinese (LMC) reconstructions to represent the language of the twelfth-century rhyme tables. (13)

The most basic feature of a graded rhyme table was its use of two dimensions. Rather than listing syllables with similar phonological properties in sequences that followed one after the other in a series, the tables used two sequences as the axes of a grid, in which each cell represented a syllable that obtained one property from each axis. The axes commonly contained sequences of initials, rhymes, tones, and the like. It is not obvious that the game of "shooting characters" in its earliest attested incarnation was inspired by the graded rhyme tables, but the use of the sequence of initials suggests it was.

The whole sound system represented in a rhyme book could not easily be made to fit into a single table. Rather, books of tables often contained a number of them, each one listing a smaller set of similar-sounding syllables such as, for example, those included in one of the rhymes of the Guangyun. If the tables had the same layout, syllables belonging to different rhymes but sharing other phonological properties would appear in the same position in their respective table. Zhang Linzhi [phrase omitted] (fl. c. 1130-1203), in the introduction to the table Yunjing [phrase omitted] (Mirror of rhymes; extant version dating from 1197-98 with a preface dated 1161), described the advantages that this table structure had for resolving fanqie spellings: the actual comparing of pronounced syllables could be partially circumvented by moving between corresponding positions in the tables. (14) Later scholars saw in this aspect a similarity to "shooting characters."


The earliest evidence of "shooting characters" dates from long after the isolation of initial, rhyme, and tone in lexicography and poetics. The game's earliest mention is found in a collection of jottings dating from 1219-24. Its author, Zhao Yushi [phrase omitted] (conventionally 1175-1232), (15) described it as "a stunt, found among the popular practices, called 'striking the drum to shoot [guess] characters'" [phrase omitted], adding that it was of unknown origin. (16)

The game used two stanzas of regularized heptasyllabic verse (qiyan [phrase omitted]), (17) transcribed in LMC in table 1. (18) The two stanzas of the poem contained syllables that represented the initials and finals of the current language, in six and seven lines respectively, totaling ninety-one syllables and representing thirty-two initials (of which ten could have either a palatalized or an unpalatalized pronunciation) and fifty-three non-stop finals. The poem did not list the stop (or entering tone) finals, even though they existed in the language of the time.

To accentuate the differences between the syllables in the first stanza, which represented the initials, the finals of those syllables were very similar, having unrounded vowels (kaikou [phrase omitted]). (19) It is possible that the vowel was -i or, after certain initials, -l (LMC: z) in all of the syllables. If so, they would have sounded more alike than what appears from the LMC transcriptions in table 1. (20) This characteristic also made the stanza "easy to recite and practice" (bian yu songxi [phrase omitted]), which was further facilitated by the poem's tendency to group initials according to whether they were accompanied by voiced aspiration (zhud [phrase omitted]; marked in the LMC transcription with h), seen in the third and fourth lines of the first stanza in the poem as recorded by Zhao. (21) Similarly, the syllables were all in the level tone, a similarity that foregrounded the differences. Furthermore, some characters seem to have been placed where we find them in order to make the list of initials appear more like a regular poem, so as to be easier to memorize. All characters appear to have been lifted from Guangyun. (22)

The second stanza is reproduced in table 2. Three fourths of its syllables have the initials k- [phrase omitted] or [phrase omitted]. It appears that only when there was no appropriate character with an l- initial did the author of the poem choose one with k-, perhaps because l- initial syllables were euphonic and often represented frequently used words.

As shown in table 1, the poem was perhaps originally ordered differently from what we see in Zhao Yushi's collection of jottings. It makes little sense to try to translate it; its purpose was only ever to display phonological features.

In addition to the poem, the game also made use of a four-syllable sequence representing the tones of Middle Chinese.

The game that Zhao described demanded two players. Player A produced a series of drum rolls. The number of beats in the rolls represented, in turn, (1) a line in the poem's first stanza (one to six beats); (2) one syllable within that line (one to seven beats); (3) a line in the second stanza (one to seven beats); (4) one syllable within that line (one to seven beats); (5) one syllable in the sequence representing tones (one to four beats). Rolls 1 and 2 indicated the initial, rolls 3 and 4 the rhyme, and roll 5 the tone of a Chinese syllable. Player B had to piece together the syllable from that information. It is possible that the creator of the game followed Guangyun in assuming an association of the entering-tone syllables, which had stop finals, with homorganic nasal-final syllables of the level tone; if the number of the fifth roll was four, player B was probably expected to substitute the syllable indicated through third and fourth rolls for one with the appropriate stop final. Success in the game depended on player B having mastered the fanqie method for spelling syllables and having memorized the two stanzas of the poem and the sequence of the four tones.

To communicate the spelling of tew[n.sub.1] [phrase omitted] (dong; the subscripted numeral represents the first of the four tones, the level tone) using the rules described by Zhao, player A would first beat the drum once, and then pause. Player B would thereby know that the first fanqie speller, indicating the initial of the spelled syllable, was to be found in the first line of the poem's first stanza. Second, player A would beat the drum three times. Player B would then know that the first speller was tiaj [phrase omitted] (di). Third, player A would give five beats, leading player B to the fifth line in the second stanza, where the second speller would be found. Fourth, player A would beat the drum twice, indicating that the second speller was lewn [phrase omitted] (long). Fifth and finally, player A would give one beat to indicate the first tone out of four. Player B could then put t(iaj) + (l)ewn + 1 together and form tewn. Big cheers from the audience, one might imagine, would ensue. Had the number of the fifth roll been four, indicating an entering-tone syllable, player B would probably have been expected to exchange the third and fourth rolls' tewn for ?ewk [phrase omitted], (23) which would yield the entering-tone syllable tewk [phrase omitted].

Following the description of "shooting characters," Zhao mentioned a drinking game involving lines of poetry and a technique used by professional fortunetellers (maibu [phrase omitted]) that featured an individual's birth date expressed using the sexagenary cycle and the beating of a drum. Zhao found these activities similar to "shooting characters," perhaps because they involved the memorization of series of monosyllables. (24)


Presumably, mostly classically literate individuals, who engaged in the highbrow activity of writing regular verse, would compete successfully in the "popular" game that Zhao Yushi described. However, the use of a such a loud instrument as a drum in Zhao's account suggests that the game was played in front of an audience, perhaps in a marketplace, at a temple fair-both places where a mixed crowd would gather--or at least at a large dinner party. Yet Zhao wrote that the flipping of a fan (huishan [phrase omitted]) could replace the drum rolls, (25) which allowed for a more intimate setting for the game and more polite company. Tao Zongyi [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted], writing in the fourteenth century, described the game in such a setting: "If one uses hand claps instead of drum rolls, one can avoid the popular ambiance of the market place and [city] well" [phrase omitted]. In times of leisure, one could play the game "for a moment's laughter and merriment" [phrase omitted]. (26)

Other descriptions similarly departed from urban entertainment, with one early nineteenth-century source adding "tapping on the table or knocking on a cup" [phrase omitted] as character-shooting methods. (27) Knocking was a popular method. Lu Longqi, quoted at the opening of this paper, used "knocking syllables" to refer to the game as a whole, and he was not the only one. (28) Hu Yuan [phrase omitted] (fl. 1846-1888) in the late nineteenth century described a method that combined handclaps ([shou]pai [[phrase omitted]) and finger taps ([zhi]dian [phrase omitted]). By clapping his hands, player A, in Hu's version, moved through the lines (ju [phrase omitted]). Once arrived at the right line, he indicated the syllable within that line through finger taps. (29)

The poet Yuan Mei [phrase omitted] (1716-1798) promoted a kind of stunt in some respects similar to the phonological game in its literati inception. He recommended the stunt to one of his correspondents using the example of poet and calligrapher Zhou Ju [phrase omitted] (literary name Manting [phrase omitted]; 1712-1779): (30)
What was even more marvelous was [Zhou's] stunt of transmitting sounds.
When someone arrived at his house, guest and host would sit down facing
each other without making a sound. If the guest wanted something, Zhou
would just use the shaft of his writing brush to tap a few, or a dozen,
times against a bowl, and hot tea and rice cakes would be brought from
inside the house [by a servant who knew the stunt and heard the taps].
Zhou used a bowl instead of his mouth, and he never got it wrong!...
When he went outdoors, he would bring the servant with him, and
wherever they went, they would demonstrate the stunt. Why don't you try
it out and then teach it to the members of your household?

The phonologist Xu Jian [phrase omitted] (fl. 1817) believed that Mei was describing the "game" (xi [phrase omitted]) of "shooting characters," (32) but what was going on between Zhou and his servant might just as well have been a simpler arrangement that was not, properly speaking, phonological. Zhou could have taught his servant a list of monosyllabic words, among which "tea" (cha) and "cake" (er) figured, perhaps arranged in way that made them easy to remember. Success in the endeavor would have depended on the servant's ability to memorize the sequence and follow along in pace with the taps. Hu Yuan described a practice associated with "shooting characters" that functioned similarly. A speaker would pronounce syllables from a sequence that the listener had memorized, stopping before the intended syllable. The listener, who knew what syllable would have followed, thereby also knew what the speaker meant to say without the word being pronounced. (33) Zhou's version as related by Yuan, however, was even less of a game than this means of secret communication; the merriment it aroused in Zhou's guests and neighbors seems to have been largely at the expense of the poor servant, whom Zhou ordered around with the simple tap of a brush shaft.

Zhou Ju's stunt has an unclear relationship to the game of "shooting characters" proper. Yet even among the more closely related variants that were based on representing syllables using numbers for their phonological properties there was great variation. The basic principle remained the same, but the number of sequences used, their order, and their contents differed substantially. One undated pedagogical manuscript, for instance, presented a variant in which the tone was given after the rhyme and before the initial. (34) In other versions, rhyme preceded initial. (35) An aspiring player had to be aware of such variation: "Whenever a number of people play the game of shooting characters together, it occurs that some know one [variant] but not another, while others know only the other [variant]" [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted], [phrase omitted]. (36)

The "phonological game" [phrase omitted] became so well known that one book expressly written toward the mid-nineteenth century to facilitate it could forego actually explaining how it was played. (37) The game was widespread throughout the late imperial period. Indeed, according to Ma Ziyuan [phrase omitted] (courtesy name Panshi [phrase omitted]; fl. mid-to-late seventeenth century), (38) in order to play it, "the student only has to commit to learning a hundred and some dozen characters by rote, which can be done in a couple of days" [phrase omitted], [phrase omitted]. (39) This would have been a small task for anyone having undergone a Chinese curriculum.


In the late imperial period and into the twentieth century, the spelling of syllables in fanqie-like. fashion was widespread in many communities (including among school children, blind fortunetellers, the urban underworld, and, evidently, writers of literature), where it was used as a game or secret language, sometimes without recourse to writing. (40) At least some of these games descended from written predecessors, as they still involved memorizing alliterating or rhyming lines of text that represented the language's initials and finals. (41) Elementary phonological knowledge of a more bookish kind was probably also relatively common throughout the period, as it was useful for writing and reading poetry, acquiring prestigious pronunciations, or making sense of old or obscure texts. The devil, however, was in the detail: Ma Ziyuan claimed that "not even the most intelligent person will have mastered all the difficulties [of phonology] after a whole year [of study]" [phrase omitted]. (42)

Memorizing sequences of syllables chosen for their phonological properties was a cornerstone of phonological training. The basics of phonology, the idea that a syllable could be described as a cluster of a finite number of characteristics, were instilled in the students by osmosis. Repeatedly reading, reciting, and recalling the sequences of syllables that represented initials and rhymes, and thus actually constituted the final product of the phonological analysis, were thought to eventually cause an epiphany in the students, by which they would understand how the analysis had been effectuated. Whether the students always experienced such an epiphany, or managed to carry out phonological operations anyway, is an open question. Indeed, the understanding of phonological analysis among late imperial practitioners was one of the issues brought up during the review of this paper. I will return to it presently.

When learning phonology, students were asked to memorize sequences of syllables exhibiting differences in one property (e.g., initial, final, or tone). When faced with a syllable that they wanted to subject to phonological analysis, they would run through the sequences until they found the matching sounds. (43) The phonological properties did not all receive the same amount of attention during training. Knowledge of the rhymes was essential for writing and appreciating regularized verse; accordingly, phonologists spent much time on them. LT Ruzhen [phrase omitted] (fl. 1763-1830) stated in his encyclopedic and didactic phonological treatise Lishi yinjian [phrase omitted] (Mr. LT's mirror of phonology; 1805) that in his day, there were "many books that distinguish rhymes, and many practice them" [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted]. By contrast, "everybody has difficulties understanding" [phrase omitted] that two characters have the same initial, because there were "few books that distinguish initials, and few people practice them" [phrase omitted] "For this reason," Li wrote elsewhere as he reiterated the same point, "whenever a student encounters a syllabic spelling pair, he only knows to which rhyme the character belongs, and does not understand under which initial he should arrange it" [phrase omitted]. (45) In the case of rhymes, there were "books that one can refer to" [phrase omitted]; not so with initials. (46) The difficulty of identifying initials, which provided a raison d'etre for Lishi yinjian, did not in LT's mind stem from discrepancies between Middle Chinese pronunciation and character readings current in his day. Li recognized that the Chinese language had undergone sound change since the Middle Chinese (in Li's terminology: Tang [phrase omitted]) period, but argued that it would be foolish to consider Middle Chinese correct and current usage vulgar or incorrect. Rhyme books of past and present were different, and they had to be. (47) Li was interested in the contemporary language (shiyin [phrase omitted]) (48) and its dialects. He taught them with the help of "shooting characters."

Li illustrated the identification of initials in his novel [The Fates of the] Flowers in the Mirror, (49) published in 1827, when he had a group of characters study a graded rhyme table. (50) During the course of their voyage to various outlandish places, the characters visit the "land of forked tongues" [phrase omitted], where the inhabitants "are not only expert in the laws of human speech sounds, but are also capable of learning the language of birds" [phrase omitted], [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted]. (51) Once on forked-tongue territory, the travelers take up the study of a rhyme chart acquired from that strange land (see table 3). The chart lists rhymes along the horizontal axis and initials on the vertical axis, but the group does not know that. The king of forked tongues was unwilling to share more than the absolute minimum with the strangers, so the chart is unfilled; there are no syllables in the cells of the grid, but only empty circles (*). Seeking a way to understand the chart, the travelers, including the characters Wanru and Lanyin, decide to heed the proverbial advice to "read a book a thousand times / and the meaning will appear" [phrase omitted] (unambiguously an argument for rote learning):
Wanru also twice read through zhang, zhen, zhong, zhu [on the grid's
horizontal axis]. Holding the sheet of character genera, she looked
them over a number of times with Lanyin. Suddenly, Lanyin said:
"Adoptive father, look at the character shang on the sixth row [of the
vertical axis]. What if we would read it in the manner of zhang, zhen,
zhang, zhu? Is it not shang, shen, [sho] ng, shu'?"
[phrase omitted]

The technique that Lanyin had identified was similar to the recitation of series of alliterative "auxiliary syllable initial specifiers" (zhuniu zi [phrase omitted]), in use at least since the twelfth century within rhyme table studies, (53) but clearly unfamiliar to the characters in the novel. Li presented Lanyin as having mastered the principles of fanqie spelling by osmosis, thereby enabling the group to fill out the cells of the grid. Following Lanyin's epiphany, the group proceeded to use handclaps to shoot some characters, here under the name of "transmitting sound like echoes in an empty valley" [phrase omitted], (54) a phrase from a primer known to all literates (Qian zi wen [phrase omitted] [The thousand character essay]) (55) and the common name for "shooting characters" used by Hu Yin, cited above. Li Ruzhen, furthermore, recommended the use of the game for learning basic phonological principles in his aforementioned compendium. The practice was evidently widespread; it was thanks to "the game of shooting characters" (shezi zhi xi [phrase omitted]) that Lao Naixuan '[phrase omitted] (1843-1921) got hooked on phonology as a child. (56)

The pedagogical practice of memorizing the sequences that formed graded rhyme tables explains why the game of "shooting characters" was re-appropriated as a phonological teaching tool. Introductions to phonological learning often used this name, or "shooting for the mark" (bidoshe [phrase omitted]) (57)--terms that, unlike "striking the drum," were entirely figurative--to describe the use of the grid to learn fanqie spellings.


Figurative or extended usage of terms from the game in books on rhyme table phonology indicates that the practical, non-written character of "shooting characters" appealed to writers who wanted to make phonology easier to learn. Pedagogues used the tables, either as represented on the learner's hands, or as printed grids in reference works, to replace some of the analytical operations of phonology with movements of thumb and fingers.

Already some of the earliest extant graded rhyme tables, including Yunjing, were used to obtain readings from fanqie spellings by matching characters according to their placement in grids and columns. By the early seventeenth century at the latest, this practice had become associated with the game of "shooting characters." The very influential rhyme chart ascribed to one Li Shize [phrase omitted] (n.d.), which relied on a technique similar to the one described by Zhang Linzhi in the twelfth century, made the association between the tables and the game. Indeed, Li's table might originally have been titled "Biaoshe qieyun fa" [phrase omitted] (Rhymes spelled by shooting targets) or "Qieyun shebiao" [phrase omitted] (Shooting targets and spelling rhymes). (58) It circulated most widely, however, as the second of two graded rhyme tables appended to Mei Yingzuo's [phrase omitted] (fl. 1615) influential graphological dictionary Zihui [phrase omitted] (The characters collected; 1615), where it carries the title "Yunfa hengtu" [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted] (Horizontal chart for the phonological method). Perhaps Mei changed the title to match it to "Yunfa zhitu" [phrase omitted] (Vertical chart for the phonological method), which preceded it in the dictionary's appendix.

Books influenced by the "horizontal chart" include Jia Cunren's [phrase omitted] (fl. 1775) phonological primer. Jia instructed the student to rely on the "shooting-the-target spelling method" (biaoshe qiefa [phrase omitted]) to decode fanqie spellings using the tables. He explained that the method "is similar to hitting a target with an arrow" [phrase omitted]. The actual shooting referred to the final operation of pairing a rhyme with an initial, each of which was represented on one of the table's axes. If I understand Jia's and other similar texts correctly, the method advocated involved drawing the finger along the columns and rows of the table to find the cell containing the desired character. (59) Li Shize's table called it "pointing and shooting [toward the targets]" (zhi er she yan [phrase omitted]). (60)

The method that LI, Jia, and other rhyme-table authors described was similar to the game of shooting characters in that it consisted in identifying phonological properties in series of syllables (the axes of initials, finals, etc.). However, the element of memorization, essential in the original game, had here been made obsolete by the use of printed tables. The student did not necessarily have to count, but rather move his fingers along the rows and columns of the graded rhyme tables to find corresponding locations. In Jia's book and Li Shize's graded rhyme table, "shooting characters" was primarily a metaphor for the manipulation of two-dimensional grids.

A learner could, however, proceed to playing the game after having learned the method from grids, rather than through memorizing jingles or other sequences of syllables. Wu Lang [phrase omitted] (fl. 1751) (61) remarked that "the method of shooting characters requires that two individuals either be versed in fanqie, in sounds in columns [of the graded rhyme tables], or that they have someone show them using versified text" [Phrase Omitted], [phrase omitted]. Wu was of the opinion that the use of graded rhyme tables was a "much easier method" [phrase omitted]. than fanqie. (62)

The terminology of "shooting characters" also entered a different product of rhyme table studies: the phonological hand diagram. A kind of kinesthetic mnemonics, such diagrams used other techniques than the two-dimensional table to relieve the practitioner's memory and reduce the reliance on a printed text. Hand diagrams were--and here I am borrowing a description originating in an entirely different context--"cognitive schema for organising, remembering and manipulating... information." As with other such schemata, nothing had to be written for a Chinese phonological hand diagram to be used; practitioners would have the names for the diagram's positions "in their heads." (63)

Originating outside phonology, the initially Buddhist hand mnemonics of "circular or square diagram[s] transferred onto the palm side of the fingers" (64) were notably used in divination and medicine. Their use in phonology is attested since at least the thirteenth century. (65) A link existed between hand diagrams and charts or tables (tu), of which the graded rhyme tables were one example, in that both relied on two dimensions. Yet the appearance of phonological hand diagrams also reflected the study of speech sound's strong association to numerical cosmologies, which were also at the basis of divination practices. (66) It is suggestive that Zhao Yushi" s description of the "shooting characters" game (the earliest one that we have) juxtaposed it precisely with divinatory practices.

The hand diagrams and the mnemonics they represented were particularly useful for recalling lists, items in a specific order, that could be accessed both backwards and forwards. (67) In phonology, they served to facilitate learning the sequences of initials and rhymes and then using them to produce spellings.

The origin of one tradition of phonological hand mnemonics was the anonymous chart "Yunfa zhitu," already mentioned, which Mei Yingzuo acquired in 1612 and published three years later. The chart's author was Sun Zhen [phrase omitted] (n.d.), who had originally titled it "Jing wei tu" [phrase omitted] (Warp and weft chart) and published it in his Qiezi jieyao [phrase omitted] (Quick summaries of character spelling; probably dating from 1576-80). (68) The simplification of the sound system carried out in Sun's chart according to current Northern literary pronunciation, which was also reflected in Mei's reworking of it, made it appealing to many phonologists. In Mei's version, the "vertical" element of the chart lay in its listing of the initials on the vertical axis, so that syllables with the same initial appeared in the same row. Each table contained one out of forty-four rhyme groups and listed the four Middle Chinese tones on the horizontal axis. (69)

Mei's "vertical" chart operated with a set of thirty-two initials. This was a number that could be made to fit on the human hand (see figure 2): "Each finger contains four positions [viz. the finger tips and the the three joints], so four fingers together contain sixteen positions; double that [by creating two columns on each finger], and you get thirty-two, which accommodates the thirty-two initials" [phrase omitted], [phrase omitted]. The practitioner was instructed, when looking for a syllable, to imagine the series of thirty-two syllables within the relevant rhyme projected onto the hand, thereby recalling their order more easily. (70)

The method of fanqie spelling in "Yunfa zhitu" had one important similarity with the game of "shooting characters": it involved the commutation of phonological properties to numbers. As we saw, Li Ruzhen, in a later work, noted, through the words of an imaginary interlocutor, that "everybody" had difficulties identifying syllables with the same initial, whereas an understanding of the functioning of rhymes was much more widespread. Probably reflecting this situation, "Yunfa zhitu" assumed that the reader could easily identify a syllable's rhyme. It was the difficult identification of the initial that the commutation to numbers sought to facilitate.

According to the instructions that accompanied the chart, the reader should, when faced with a pair of fanqie spellers, first go to the rhyme to which the first fanqie speller belonged, find the speller within that rhyme, and note its position. "The first speller determines the position," the instructions read, "according to which the second speller obtains the pronunciation" [phrase omitted]. (71) Sun's original chart already functioned in this way. (72)

If we assume, as did Sun and Mei, that a reader upon encountering a syllable would be able to identify to which rhyme it belonged--perhaps by "reading through [the rhymes] quickly aloud" [phrase omitted], (73) as the instructions accompanying the "vertical chart" described it--the reader would then go to the appropriate rhyme and read through the syllables it contained until he hit upon one that was homophonous with the first speller of the fanqie pair. If the syllables were homophonous, they eo ipso shared the same initial, and these tables were structured so that syllables with the same initial occurred in the same position in each of the rhymes. The reader would therefore remember the position of the syllable (homophonous with the first speller) within its rhyme, go to the rhyme to which the second fanqie speller belonged, and find the syllable that occupied the corresponding position in that rhyme. This second syllable, which by being in the rhyme of second fanqie speller shared its final and tone, was the syllable spelled by the fanqie pair, as it, thanks to its position within the rhyme, had the same initial as the first speller.

The reader never had to isolate the initial of any of the syllables involved. All he had to do was to find a homophone in one rhyme, note its position in the series, and retrieve a syllable from the same position in the series of a different rhyme. The reader could, as in Li Shize's "horizontal" chart or in Jia Cunren's primer, perform this operation using the printed tables. He could also, however, use the hand diagram, successively imagining the rhymes of the first and second spellers projected onto his hand.

The "vertical" chart influenced several works in the Qing period. One of them was the primer Qieyin jiejue [phrase omitted] (Quick mnemonics for phonological spelling) from 1880 by the scholar Li Heng [phrase omitted] (c. 1841-1888) from Zhuji [phrase omitted]. (74) Li followed "Yunfa zhitu" closely, and included both the hand diagram and some of the explanations from the original chart in his book. (75) Li changed the number of both rhymes and initials to thirty-six, (76) but relegated ten of them to be read separately at the end of the tables. (77)

Li's book inspired another work that allows us to see in more detail how hand diagrams related to the character-shooting method: the phonological primer Qieyin mengyin [phrase omitted] (Syllabic spelling primer; 1883), by the seasoned teacher Chen Jin [phrase omitted] (literary name Buqin [phrase omitted]; fl. 1821-1884). Chen was from Shaoxing [phrase omitted], a town in relative proximity to Li's native Zhuji. In addition to Li, Chen was influenced by another contemporary, Wang Liu [phrase omitted] (n.d.) from Anhui. The book from which Chen appears to have learned of Wang's ideas appeared in 1881 under the title Konggu chudnsheng, but, according to Li Xinkui [phrase omitted] (1935-1997), Wang had written it several decades earlier. Wang's book, in turn, was based on a work by Wu Lang and one Jiang Yunqiao [phrase omitted] (n.d.) known as Jinling chuansheng pu [phrase omitted] [Phrase Omitted] (The Jinling [Nanjing] sound-transmitting chart). According to Li Xinkui, Wang's book was used to play the game of shooting characters and represented current prestigious reading pronunciation, (78) which it presumably sought to impart. Under Wang's influence, Chen's book strengthened the association between hand mnemonics and "shooting characters."

As an introduction to the study of phonology, Chen's book served to familiarize students with key phonological categories. It suited the pedagogical purposes of his book to explain the areas where students were most likely to run into difficulties, while keeping the overall presentation as simple as possible. The pronunciation indicated by Chen's fanqie spellings is close to the dialect currently spoken in Chen's hometown of Shaoxing. (79) It appears that Chen, to the greatest extent possible, tried to provide fanqie spellings that when read aloud accorded with how the characters in question were read in Shaoxing, while remaining valid also when treated as spellings for Middle Chinese.

Chen's book used fifty-four finals, (80) of which eighteen were entering-tone finals. The latter included, the book contained 125 rhymes defined as final plus tone. Chen was well aware that his division of rhymes did not match up exactly to the "official rhymes" (guanyun [phrase omitted]) prescribed in official examination poetry. However, Chen believed that "the reader will be able to guess" which rhymes corresponded, adding that he hoped the reader would not "bring up the contradictions" [phrase omitted]. (81)

All of the twelve examples that Chen gave to illustrate the functioning of the hand diagram worked when read in Shaoxing dialect. The student never had to accept pronunciations as nominally correct even though they did not correspond to usage in his own dialect. When Middle and Shaoxing Chinese did not entirely correspond, Chen preferred accuracy in the student's vernacular over accuracy in Middle Chinese. In the instructions to the hand diagram, departures from Middle Chinese concerned only the rhyme (tables 4 and 5, both minor departures), confirming that Chen's focus was indeed on the initials.

In some places in the tables, however, Chen was compelled to depart from spellings seen in EMC sources in order to maintain accuracy in Shaoxing dialect also in the case of the initials, as seen in table 6. Yet even LMC sources like Qieyun zhizhang tu (see n. 20), (82) almost seven hundred years old by Chen's time, made adjustments to these kinds of spellings, which no longer accorded with the pronunciation of its time. Furthermore, Chen's new fanqie would probably have yielded a correct pronunciation even in EMC, so it was a minor departure indeed.

Chen's tables listed the traditional thirty-six initials on one of its axes, but in the hand diagram, only twenty-four initials were used, corresponding to twenty-three pronunciations. (83) Chen excluded the remaining eight Middle Chinese initials, which were not distinguishable in Shaoxing Chinese, from his hand diagram (table 7).

Chen's book simplified the phonological framework so as not to make irreconcilable differences apparent between Middle Chinese and the variety of Shaoxing dialect that he and his students used. The purpose of the simplification was pedagogical, and the key phonological tool was the hand diagram.

Chen's "target-and-arrow hand diagram" (biao jian zhangtu [phrase omitted]) taught students to decode fanqie spellings. Chen, a teacher, knew that fanqie appeared abstract to his students. Chen used a terminology derived from the character-shooting game to describe how the diagram--and, by extension, fanqie--worked. Chen had learned phonology (qieyin [phrase omitted]) as a child and then taught it for half a century. He explained that "senior scholars, in all the discussions I listened to, always brought up 'transmitting sound like echoes in an empty valley' (Konggu chudnsheng) as their secret teaching [method]" [phrase omitted], [phrase omitted]. (84) Chen's source for this teaching method was Wang's eponymous book, whose structure ([phrase omitted]) Chen thought similar to that in Li's primer, by which he was also much inspired. Chen wrote that Li "made the reader count [my emphasis] horizontally to obtain the initial within the rhyme, and count vertically to obtain the rhyme within the initial" [phrase omitted]. (85) This congruence inspired Chen to base his book on Li's primer, on "the methods of tapping on the seat and recording numbers [used in] Transmitting sound like echoes in an empty valley" [phrase omitted], as well as on character-shooting hand diagrams that he had consulted. (86) These influences explain the terminology that Chen used to explicate his diagram.

Chen called the initial the target (biao [phrase omitted]), the rhyme the arrow (jian [phrase omitted]), and the spelled syllable the mark, or bull's-eye (di [phrase omitted]). (87) After having chosen the target, the student would find the right arrow, shoot, and hit the mark. (88) "The concepts of 'target', 'arrow', and 'mark' are the main ideas of this book" [phrase omitted], [phrase omitted],Chen asserted. (89) Following his predecessors, Chen instructed the reader to project a grid onto the palms of his hands. Fluent usage of the hand diagram throughout all of the rhymes demanded that the reader imagine characters written on the palms, which varied with the rhyme, but while learning, one might conceivably write out one rhyme there (Chen did not specify).

Chen's diagram required the use of both hands. As mentioned, his hand diagram operated with a reduced set of twenty-four initials, which, being smaller than the repertoire in "Yunfa zhitu," easily fit onto only one hand. He needed both hands, however, to let the practitioner count within two rhymes simultaneously in order to decipher a fanqie spelling pair. "The method," Chen specified, "proceeds by counting through the rhyme to which the target [sc. the first fanqie speller] belongs using the right hand's thumb" [phrase omitted] (90) The reader should, on the right hand, count from the right: "Once you know the position of the target, press down and do not move" [phrase omitted] The reader should now turn his attention to the left hand: "Then count through the rhyme to which the arrow [sc. the second fanqie speller] belongs using the left hand's thumb; when you reach the position marked by the right hand's thumb, you have found the mark [sc. the spelled syllable]" [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted] (91) This process is illustrated in figures 3 and 4.

One of the anonymous reviewers of this paper remarked, in reference to Chen's hand diagram, that a reader will wonder why so many complicated maneuvers were needed when one need only put the fanqie together to arrive at the correct result of the spelling operation. I agree that we today find Chen's method roundabout, preferring instead the linear, alphabetic formula R([u.sub.1]) + (dz')[uon.sub.1] to understand the spelling of [huon.sub.1] illustrated in figure 4. I further agree that some Chinese scholars, especially by the late nineteenth century, understood fanqie in this way. Yet even if Chen thought about fanqie as the manipulation of linearly arranged subsyllabic sounds--I have found no evidence that he did--he decidedly did not, after several decades of pedagogical experience, think that it was the best way to teach the method to students.

The avoidance of Middle Chinese spellings that did not yield correct readings in Shaoxing Chinese, and the reliance on the local vernacular generally, were reasonable in a book for beginners. It precluded difficulties that would have distracted from Qieyin mengyin's main purpose: the teaching of the fanqie operation, with a focus on the notoriously difficult identification of initials. In the hand diagram, the centerpiece of Chen's pedagogy, it was precisely the initial (of the second speller) that was commuted to a number, which enabled the reader to find the initial of the first speller, and thereby also of the spelled syllable, without analyzing its pronunciation.

The history of cognition has shown that different conceptualizations of the same operation--in this case, fanqie--are historically contingent, differing over time or between individuals with different educational background. (92) Even though some late imperial Chinese scholars probably thought of fanqie as a linear, alphabetic process, students who, having never learned to use an alphabet, needed phonology only as a tool to find appropriate readings for unknown characters encountered in dictionaries or other books might have found the mechanics of the hand diagram much more intuitive and appealing.

Chen's own explanations show how he thought that the fanqie process, with its main difficulty of identifying initials, was most easily taught. Nothing in the explanations leads me to think that he thought of teaching it as the linear, alphabetic formula we use to explain it today. Rather, Chen made use of numbers and the first calculator known to humans: the hand. (93)

By means of the spellings in table 8, Chen wanted to show that only the initial of the first speller determined the pronunciation of the spelled syllable. The first of the two fanqie pairs seen there spelled different syllables. Chen called this phenomenon "identical arrows [second spellers] and different targets [first spellers] yielding different marks [spelled syllables]" [phrase omitted]. This phenomenon contrasted with one called "different arrows and identical targets yielding identical marks" [phrase omitted], illustrated through the second spelling pair in table 8. In these pairs, the spelled syllables were identical, even though the characters used to spell them were not. Chen explained how to ascertain that these spellings yielded the same result: "The student must count backward to find the rhyme and then count forward to learn the pronunciation of the mark" [phrase omitted] The decipherment of these spellings was a matter of manipulating numbers. The numerical values of the second spelling pair, corresponding to the position of the characters within the list of their respective rhymes, are also seen in table 8.

In the case of the first spelling pair, Chen was asking the student to "count backward" from 8 to 1 (and find the heading of the rhyme, [kuon.sub.1] [phrase omitted]), and then "count forward" from there until he reached 5. To do the same with the second spelling pair, the student would count backward from 11 to 1 and then from there back up to 5. In both cases, he would end up with the syllable[tuon.sub.1], which occupied position 5 in the [kuonj.sub.1] rhyme. In case the student had not memorized the sequences of characters inside the rhymes well enough to go backward and forward through them using the palms of his hands, he could refer to the printed tables in the book, where he could count back through the characters in the relevant row and then back up again. In sum, Chen did not imagine fanqie to be an intuitive operation to his students. Commuting phonological properties to numbers, he believed, made it easier.

Hand diagrams, like the game of "shooting characters," involved commuting phonological properties to numbers or positions in a sequence. They also made memorization of initial and rhyme sequences easier by adding a tactile and visual dimension to the learning process. The diagrams could also relieve the practitioner's memory, relying on the positioning of the thumbs to mark phonological properties. Conceivably, the hand diagram's ability to ease the burden on memory could be useful in a game of "shooting characters," yet the focus in Chen's primers was not on playing the game, but teaching the fanqie method. The character grid that he instructed his readers to project onto their hand did not, as far as I am aware, correspond to the sequences of an actual version of the game.

From the first mentions of "shooting characters" by beating a drum, to the introduction of knocks on cups and finger taps, and finally to the derived usage of the term in rhymetable primers, we have seen the phonological operation behind the game move, as it were, first from the marketplace to the literary salon, and then to the solitude of the study. In pedagogical presentations, "shooting characters" became a study technique or a way to describe the basics of Chinese phonological analysis. It was never entirely reduced to reading and writing, however: both in the case of using hand diagrams and of moving the fingers along the axes of a grid, "shooting characters" referred to a practical operation that did not belong entirely to the process of reading narrowly defined.


Transporting the game to paper opened new possibilities beside phonological training. Xu Jian noted that the method "can transmit any speech sound, which is truly marvelous. However, it can only transmit sounds, not their written forms" [phrase omitted] Xu presented this as a limitation, but he also made productive use of it. Since Chinese characters represented meaning in addition to sound, the ascription of a character to a syllable transmitted orally by means of the game was always conjectural; several homophonous characters could represent the same syllable. As Xu explained it, if one transmits the sound gong, "one only learns the sound of gong, and not which one of the [many characters pronounced gong] that it represents" [phrase omitted]. This problem was specific to the Chinese writing system; medieval Europeans, who communicated messages by substituting numbers for Roman letters according to their position in the alphabet, and then representing them either on their fingers or in writing, encountered nothing like it. (94) In late imperial China, in order to avoid conjectures with regards to the written representation of the shot syllable, a notational system was needed that could not be confused with ordinary Chinese writing, in which meaning was encoded alongside sound.

Xu presented several notations. For example, a syllable could be written using the "modern popular numerals" (shisu haoma [phrase omitted]) commonly used in Chinese markets and by other phonologists before Xu. According to the sequences and their order as used in Xu's book, the syllable tian could be written 12-5-1 + 11.8.8 * I , where the first number indicated the final (jian tit), the second the initial (tian), and the last the tone (level tone). Xu did not stop there. He also proposed that "Western [numerical] characters, which can nowadays be seen on many clocks and foreign coins" [phrase omitted] could be used instead. (95) Other writers suggested additional notations. Lin Benyu noted that the shorthand characters used in musical notation for the zither could represent both numbers and names of phonological categories. (96) Lu Longqf presented a notation based on the "trigrams and lines of the Change classic" (Yijing gua ydo [phrase omitted]). The number oflines indicated how the reader should move through the book's tables to locate a character. (97) Hu Yuan, who, as mentioned, used a system of claps and taps, presented a notation that was closer to the game's origins: "When used in correspondence, a clap is marked by a circle, a tap by a dot, and a pause by a blank space" [phrase omitted]. (98)

Using numerical notations to represent a syllable's location in a sequence or chart was an excellent cipher. Phonological knowledge was in itself arcane. A character in Li Ruzhen's novel, for instance, managed to insult an unknowing person merely by couching the insult in fanqie spelling pairs. (99) Lu Longqi, furthermore, described a "fanqie letter cipher" [phrase omitted], called hao ting after the two characters used to set off the encoded message from the rest of the text: "Beneath hao, write the text of the letter in fanqie, and close it using ting. This makes it easy for the reader to grasp the structure"[phrase omitted], [[phrase omitted].sup.100] If the text was not encoded using regular fanqie, but a numerical notation, even better. Ordinary numerals were one option, (101) the "modern popular numerals" another. But these were commonly known. Indeed, the market numerals were the opposite of secret; the numbers were explained in standard mathematical textbooks. (102) Before the publication of Xu Jian's book, LT Ruzhen had used them as to create a numerical phonological notation simply "to make reading easier" ([[phrase omitted].sup.100] (103) Indeed, as Xu wrote, "if the [Western-style Arabic numerals] are used in letters, they are even harder than the cipher [of the market numerals] for people to figure out"? [[phrase omitted].sup.100]. (104)

It was not only the notation used that prevented decipherment. To reconstruct a syllable on the basis of numbers, the reader of an encoded message had to match the numbers to the same sequences or tables that were used to encode it. The tables in printed books were available for anyone to see, but if an idiosyncratic set of tables or way of encoding were devised and shared between confidants, the secrecy would be greater. "In case the number of people familiar with [a given method] grows too large," Lin Benyu wrote, "two individuals who want to exchange secret messages must establish another method to prevent a third party from divining their meaning" [phrase omitted]. There were several ways that one might go about changing the method. Most obviously, perhaps, "one can make changes to the system of shorthand" [phrase omitted]. Another method was to write the numbers in a way that obfuscated the order in which they were to be read. Instead of writing them linearly, one could write them as if carved on a seal or copper coin. In this system, the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the face of the metaphorical coin each contained a number to be read in an order known only to the recipient of the message (see figure 5). (105) The order of the characters engraved on coins had not remained constant throughout history, and it was not always obvious, when faced with a new type of coin, in which order one should read them. (106)

In addition to new levels of secrecy, the game of "shooting characters" enabled new kinds of communication. The principles of the game could be relied on for non-written communication in situations where regular speech was not convenient. I already mentioned Zhou Ju's knocking on a bowl to communicate orders to his servant. An anonymous and undated manuscript, cited previously, similarly noted that the method could be used to "transmit messages next door by knocking on the wall" [phrase omitted] (107) Mei Jian reported Ma Ziyuan as saying:
The reason that I wrote [my book] was not only to facilitate the
spelling of characters. It was more generally with regards to the many
[types of] secret messages, which, when transmitted using sounds that
the listener records while counting their number, can all be deciphered
if one knows how to shoot characters.
[phrase omitted] (108)


Transmitting messages by numbers of sounds allowed not just for secrecy, but also for communicating rapidly across great distances. Naturally, "sending a letter" with a written encoded message "using only numbers" could cover potentially unlimited distances of "a thousand IX." In Ma's opinion, it was a safe way of communicating: "Other people will not be able to divine the contents from looking at it" [phrase omitted] There were also other methods: "If one uses a drum to transmit the sounds, then communication is possible across several li; if one uses cannon shots, then it is possible across several hundreds of li [phrase omitted] The latter method presented the rare possibility of communication across enemy lines in battle: "If [our forces] are separated by the enemy, then cannon shot can be used to transmit military information" [phrase omitted] (109) More generally, according to Hu Yin, "secret matters of military strategy cannot easily be discussed face to face, they necessitate the method of 'transmitting sound like echoes in an empty valley'" [phrase omitted] (110)

It has, indeed, been proposed that the Chinese military made use of a variant of the game. The most ambitious assertion, that the military used it to communicate along the lines of Ma Ziyuan's suggestion, cannot be sustained by the evidence currently available. However, some circumstances lend support to the more modest assertion that the game was used to facilitate the acquisition of local languages by extraprovincial troops.

The site for the purported military use of the game is Fujian, a strategically important southeastern province with a strongly divergent local language. Several writers have suggested that the game of shooting characters was used to transmit coded messages in the army there. Their reference is usually the book Qi cdnjun bayln ziyi bianldn [phrase omitted] (Adjutant Qi's convenient reader for character meanings distributed according to the eight tones; c. 1600). (111) This phonological dictionary was named after Qi Jiguang [phrase omitted] (1528-1588), (112) a military commander from the north who achieved hero status in Fujian following his success in fighting pirates. Qi had nothing to do with the book, yet it has been proposed, based only on the possibly eighteenth-century ascription of Qi's name, that the military man and phonologist Chen Di [phrase omitted] (1541-1617), who worked for Qi in Fujian, (113) or someone in his entourage, wrote it. (114) The book contains a description of the character-shooting method, as well as an early mention of a fanqie game (literally sbuyu [phrase omitted], "coughed words," but reportedly with the meaning "secret words") (115) of the type later attested in oral use and mentioned above. However, there is no indication in the text that it should be used as code, nor are there any references to the military. A connection between the character-shooting method and the military might still have existed. Rather than being used to communicate by cannon shot, Qi cdnjun bayin zlyl bianlan would have been compiled to teach the troops a local language. (116) This more modest claim is plausible, if not for any reason connected to the title ascribing it to Qi. Rather, it is suggested by the booklet Paizhang zhisheng qieyin dido pi'ngze tu [phrase omitted] (Chart for learning the initial, spelling the rhyme, and circling through the even and oblique tones by clapping; c. 1680s). (117) This graded rhyme table, which described a local dialect, was written Liao Lunji [phrase omitted] (fl. 1670-80s [?]), of Guangdong, who probably came to Fujian as an education officer for the Manchu army in the late seventeenth century. (118) Liao was a dedicated teacher, and the purpose of his booklet clearly educational. The paizhang, "clapping," of the title suggests that its charts were to be studied, presumably by the newly arrived troops, using character-shooting techniques.


Using the phonological game to teach students to use a graded rhyme table, discussed previously, taught them first and foremost the principles on which the game itself was based. By contrast, teaching soldiers a new language by pairing syllables from phonological jingles, if ever actually practiced, was an example of using a derivative of the game to an educational end that lay outside phonology proper. There is evidence that the game also inspired a much more radical educational program.

Fujian native Huang Qian's [phrase omitted] (fl. mid-1790s) (119) phonological dictionary, like several others, used a numerical notation to represent syllables as aggregates of the phonological properties of initial, final, and tone. Scholars have, with good reason, considered Huang's book a continuation of the Fujianese tradition of phonological works that promulgated the character-shooting method under the names of "clapping" or "learning the pronunciation by striking a piece of wood" (ji mu zhi yin [phrase omitted]). (120) Whereas a numerical notation for some writers represented either a way to transport the phonological game to paper, or a cipher intended to make reading more difficult, Huang, like LT Ruzhen, saw in it a tool for making reading and writing easier for the less educated. Before the book's completion, Huang reported that a guest had suggested that it might
guide [the reader] to the characters by following the sound and enable
the peasants, workers, and merchants to further their knowledge only by
using the book, sparing them the burden of "providing [food] and drink
in return for writing instruction" [i.e., paying tuition for classes].
[phrase omitted]

Huang agreed, and compiled a book that "contained both vernacular characters and local pronunciations" [phrase omitted]. (121)'

Huang's book proposed a new notational system. He did not mention the game of "shooting characters," but he followed its principles. His system was similar to the market-numeral notations and the zither-notation cipher that the shezi theorists Li Ruzhen, Xu Jian, and Lin Benyu described. Huang's spelled one syllable using three numbers, representing, respectively, the rhyme, the initial, and the tone, in that order. The numbers, as usual, referred to positions in series that each listed one of these three phonological properties. The numbers were written using a system of shorthand ("new numerals" [xinshic [phrase omitted]]) of, as far as I am aware, Huang's own invention, that used one or a few strokes taken from Chinese characters. Any syllable could thereby be represented using a few strokes of the brush.

The radical character of Huang's book lay in the educational use that he suggested for the new system, which he called "quickly acquired three-step notation" [phrase omitted]:
In shops, this book might be placed on the bench, for the benefit of
apprentices and others who, while writing, might forget how to trace a
character. If they consult the book, they can avoid mistakes arising
from the writing of a [homophonous] character [in the place of the one
of which they forgot the tracing], as well as save themselves the
trouble of asking about it.
[phrase omitted] (122)

Huang proposed that individuals primarily interested in the functional literacy needed in the trades could use his three-step notation to represent the sound of words for which they had forgotten the characters. He believed that this method was better than writing a different character in its place and having the reader infer which word was meant. Merchants and clerks could thereby avoid confusion and save time, perhaps also by learning only a smaller number of characters.

Huang's educational program was highly original for proposing a supposedly simple notation and encouraging its use among individuals with sub-elite literacy. It makes him stand out both among theorizers of the game of "shooting characters" and among phonologists overall. His system was not, however, an alphabet in the sense of a script representing subsyllabic sounds by using graphs whose order on the page tends toward imitation of the order of their articulation in speech. (123) In Huang's notation, the final (confusingly, for us today, called zimu) preceded the initial. He stated it explicitly: "First, begin with the final on top, the spelled sound [i.e., the initial] receives it on the [lower] left" [phrase omitted], where top and left refers to the position of the respective numbers in the triangle that constituted a written syllable. (124) Furthermore, the characters that Huang used to represent initials and rhymes did not, as in the better-known spelling reform proposals of his day, to the greatest extent possible represent syllables that were, respectively, open (for initials) or had a zero initial (for finals). (125)

The users of Huang's notation system could, then, not read the numbers in succession and approximate the intended syllable, but had to abstract first the rhyme from the top number, then the initial from the one at the lower left, and finally the tone from the number on the lower right, before they could reconstruct the intended syllable. This procedure required as much phonological training as the other versions of "shooting characters." Its application in practice might thus have been restricted, but many communities included individuals who would easily have grasped these principles. Several of the popular, fanqie-like secret languages that flourished in parts of China used a similar method, whereby the rhyme was put before the initial. The folklorist and historian Gu Jiegang [phrase omitted] (1893-1980) as a child overheard blind Daoist practitioners, invited to the family home for a religious ceremony, use such a language between themselves, and young Gu later taught it to his classmates. (126)


This paper has treated the phonological game of "shooting characters" and its various uses as attested in late imperial sources. The game appears to have originated as a way to show off phonological proficiency in a festive setting, if not also for learning phonology. At some point, its development intersected with other learning aids, such as hand mnemonics and arguably even the graded rhyme tables themselves, and became a description of pairing things other than words (numbers; axes of a grid; characters written on the palm-side of the fingers) to form syllables. Scholars theorized, and perhaps also used, the principles behind the game to transmit encoded messages either in writing or acoustically, by using drums or cannon. Yet encoding messages was not necessarily intended to make them harder to read; at least one writer believed that the code could make reading and writing easier.

During the centuries following its earliest mentions, the game acquired many uses in a variety of contexts. It was not, of course, ever used by Confucius, as Lu Longqi claimed, nor did it have anything to do with the telegraph. Yet the principle of converting speech sounds to numbers in order to transmit them over great distances was indeed common to these two otherwise so different linguistic technologies. Even if the proposals to communicate across dozens of kilometers by "shooting characters" through a cannon remained unrealized, Hu Yin's reference to the telegraph has merit. The story of the phonological game related in these pages suggests that Chinese phonology involved more than books, and might have relevance far beyond the history of the Chinese language.



I presented a draft of this paper at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference (Seattle, March 31-April 3, 2016), where I talked about it with fellow panelists Emi Foulk, Si Nae Park, Nathan Vedal, our discussant David Lurie, and members of the audience. Vedal, Wolfgang Behr (who also shared unpublished material with me), Richard VanNess Simmons, Stephanie Homola, and Michael Stanley-Baker read and commented on different versions. Marta Hanson and Han Zhang provided references, La Zi'ng-Kiet (Lo Sheng-gi) shared inaccessible scholarship from Taiwan, and one of the anonymous reviewers offered detailed remarks. I am grateful to all of them for their help, which led to substantial improvement of the paper.

(1.) Chaoying Fang, "Lu Lung-chi [sic, read: ch'i]," in Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912), ed. Arthur W. Hummel, vol. 1 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1944), 547-48; John B. Henderson, "Ch'ing Scholars' Views of Western Astronomy," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 46 (1986): 122.

(2.) Lu Longqi and He Yufeng, "Dengyun biandu" [phrase omitted], in Hanjian yunshu congbian, vol. 1, facsimile of undated chirograph referencing (on p. 731) a work that appeared in 1716 (Kangxi zidian [phrase omitted]) (Hong Kong: Changcheng wenhua chuban gongsi, 1995), 732. The reference is to Confucius, The Analects, tr. D. C. Lau (London: Penguin, 1979), 14:39.

(3.) Hu Yin [phrase omitted], Qieyin qimeng [phrase omitted], facsimile of xylograph, in Congshu jicheng xubidn, vol. 75, written before 1906 (1940; Taibei: Xin feng chubangongsi, 1989), 7b.

(4.) Claude-Gilbert Dubois, "L'invention litteraire et les jeux du langage: Jeux de nombres, jeux de sons, jeux de sens," in Les jeux a la Renaissance, ed. Philippe Aries and Jean-Claude Margolin (Paris: J. Vrin, 1982), 245-69.

(5.) Wolfgang Behr, "In the Interstices of Representation: Ludic Writing and the Locus of Polysemy in the Chinese Sign," in The Idea of Writing: Play and Complexity, ed. Alex de Voogt and Irving Finkel (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 281-314.

(6.) On drinking games, see Yuming He, Home and the World: Editing the "Glorious Ming" in Woodblock-Printed Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard-Yenching Institute, 2013), 48 and 184-85; Andrea Breard, "Knowledge and Practice of Mathematics in Late Ming Daily Life Encyclopedias," in Looking at It from Asia: The Processes that Shaped the Sources of History of Science, ed. Florence Bretelle-Establet (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), 322; Andrea Breard, "Usages et destins des savoirs mathematiques dans les Encyclopedies aux dix mille tresors des Ming," in "Pratiques lettrees au Japon et en Chine: XVIIe-XIXe siecle," ed. Annick Horiuchi and Daniel Struve, Etudes Japonaises 5 (2010): 108-10. On the meaning of the verb she "to shoot" in the sense of "to guess" in such games, see Chen Xin [phrase omitted], "Yuedu Hdnglou hua 'shefu'" [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted], Yuedu yu xiezub, no. 5 (1999): 38-39; Cao Xueqin [phrase omitted], Honglou meng: Bashi hui shitdu ji [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted] : [phrase omitted], typeset edition, ed. Zhou Ruchang, 2 vols., written in the eighteenth century (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe. 2006), vol. 2, ch. 62, 638; Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone, tr. David Hawkes, vol. 3 (1980; London: Penguin, 1987), 196 (where the name of the game in question is translated as "cover-ups").

(7.) Victor H. Mair and Tsu-lin Mei, "The Sanskrit Origins of Recent Style Prosody," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 51 (1991): 375-470.

(8.) W. South Coblin, "Zhang Linzhi on the Yunjing," in The Chinese Rime Tables: Linguistic Philosophy and Historical-Comparative Phonology, ed. David Prager Branner (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006), 128.

(9.) Yuen-ren Chao [Zhao Yuanren [phrase omitted], "Fanqie yu ba zhong" [phrase omitted], Zhongyang yanjiu yuan lishi yuyan yanjiusuo jikan 2, no. 3 (1931): 318.

(10.) Yu Naiyong [phrase omitted], ed., Xin jiao huzhu Song-ben "Guangyum" [phrase omitted] (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1993).

(11.) David Prager Branner, "The Establishment of the Chinese Linguistic Tradition," in History of the Language Sciences / Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaften / Histoire des sciences du langage, ed. Sylvain Auroux et al., vol. 1 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000), 50; W. South Coblin, "Reflections on the Shouwen Fragments," in Branner, The Chinese Rime Tables, 99-122.

(12.) Coblin, "Reflections on the Shouwen Fragments," 121-22.

(13.) I am aware of the controversy surrounding Pulleyblank's approach to Chinese historical linguistics. See Pulleyblank. "Qieyun and Yunjing: The Essential Foundation for Chinese Historical Linguistics," J AOS 118 (1998): 200-216; Branner, "Introduction," in The Chinese Rime Tables, 13-14.

(14.) Yunjing jiaozheng [phrase omitted], facsimile of xylograph, ed. LI Xinkui, preface dated 1161 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982), 5b (20); Coblin, "Zhang Linzhi on the Yunjing," 135 (para. 3.5) and 143-44.

(15.) Cf. Chen Weiwen [phrase omitted], "Bin tui lu zuozhe Zhao Yushi kao" << [phrase omitted] >> [phrase omitted], Wenxian, no. 4 (2011): 188-92.

(16.) Zhao Yushf, Bintui lu [phrase omitted], critical edition, ed. Jiang Hanchun, in Quan Song biji 6, vol. 10, written during 1219-24 (Zhengzhou: Daxiang chubanshe, 2013), ch. 1, 12.

(17.) This kind of verse is described in Wang Li [phrase omitted], Hanyu shilu xue [phrase omitted], vol. 14, bk. 1 of Wang Li wenji, finished in manuscript in 1947 (1957; Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe, 1984-1991), ch. 1, sec. 19.

(18.) My discussion of the poem is a summary of the findings in Masamura Kenpei [phrase omitted] and Hirayama Hisao [phrase omitted], "Bintui lu shezi shi de yinyun fenxi" << [phrase omitted] >> [phrase omitted], Zhongguo yuwen, no. 4 (1999): 295-303. If there is no indication otherwise, their paper is the source of all statements relating to the poem in the following paragraphs.

(19.) Branner, "Introduction," 18 for the term kaikdu.

(20.) The sound system represented in the poem is close to that in the graded rhyme table Qieyun zhizhang tu [Phrase Omitted] (Hand diagram for spelling rhymes; extant edition printed in 1230), which probably represents a later form of Chinese than the LMC transcription that I give here. On this rhyme table and its language, see Songben Qieyun zhizhang tu [phrase omitted], facsimile of xylograph (1230; Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986); Coblin, "Zhang Linzhi on the Yunjing," 124-25; Branner, "Introduction," 15.

(21.) Edwin G. Pulleyblank, "Late Middle Chinese," Asia Major 15.2 (1970): 211-12.

(22.) Zhou Zumo [phrase omitted], "Shezi fa yu yinyun" [phrase omitted], in Wenxue ji, vol. 2 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1966), 665.

(23.) Ding Shengshu [phrase omitted] and Li Rong [phrase omitted], "Hanyu yinyun jiangyi" [Phrase Omitted], Fangydn, no. 4 (1981): 251 (table 4) shows that ?ewk (wu) [phrase omitted] represented the entering-tone rhyme corresponding to the level-tone rhyme tewn (dong) [phrase omitted] in the Guangyun tradition.

(24.) Zhao, Bintui lu, ch. 1, 12.

(25.) Ibid.

(26.) Tao Zongyi, Nancun chuogeng lu [phrase omitted], in Sibu congkan 3, vol. 56, facsimile of xylograph (1366; Shanghai: Shanghai shudian, 1985), 19:10b-lla.

(27.) Xu Jian [phrase omitted], Yinfu [phrase omitted], Xuxiu "Siku quanshu"': jingbu, vol. 258, facsimile of xylograph (1817; Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1995), 3a.

(28.) E.g., "transmitting sound by striking or knocking" [Phrase Omitted], see Zhang Xubin [phrase omitted], Shengyun zhizhang [phrase omitted], in Hanjian yunshu congbian, vol. 2, facsimile of undated chirograph originating in the Qing Hanlin Academy, 1296.

(29.) Hu Yuan, Gu-jin, Zhong-wai yinyun tongli [phrase omitted], xylograph, 4 vols., preface dated 1886 (1888), held at Taiwan Normal Univ. Library (call number A 940 313), vol. 4, chudnsheng:4a.

(30.) Xu Yan [phrase omitted] and Wang Yuguang [phrase omitted], Zhongguo dushu da cidian [phrase omitted] (Nanjing: Nanjing Daxue chubanshe, 1999), 56.

(31.) Yuan Mei, "Xiaocang Shan fang chidu" [phrase omitted], in Yuan Mei quanji, typeset edition, ed. Wang Yingzhi, vol. 5, first printed before 1791 (Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1993), 26 (ch. 1).

(32.) Xu, Yinfu, [yulim:]21b.

(33.) Hu, Gu-jin, Zhong-wai yinyun tongli, vol. 4, chudnsheng:1b-2a.

(34.) Fanqie zhizhang, konggu chudnsheng [phrase omitted], in Hanjian yunshu congbian, vol. 2, facsimile of undated chirograph, 1520 and 1522.

(35.) E.g., Gao Wengying [phrase omitted], ed., "Dengyin," "Shengwei" hehui [phrase omitted], facsimile of xylograph, by Ma Ziyuan [phrase omitted] and Lin Benyu [phrase omitted], in Congshu jicheng xubian, vol. 75, undated, but originally printed in 1702-03 (1914), xia:81b-85a (488-90); Mei Jian [phrase omitted], reviser, Chongding Mashi dengyin [phrase omitted], by Ma Ziyuan, 2 vols., xylograph (1708), held at Harvard-Yenching Library (call number T 5127 4514), vol. 1, chudnxiang shezi fa:34a-b; Qu Wanjian [phrase omitted], ed., Dengyin xinji er bidn [phrase omitted], by Shusheng Zhai zhuren [phrase omitted], 2 vols., xylograph (1760), held at Taiwan Normal Univ. Library (call number A 940 856), vol. 2, houbian:33a-35. For a similar version of the game, see Yushi jieyun [phrase omitted], in Hanjian yunshu congbian, vol. 2, facsimile of undated chirograph, 1266.

(36.) Li Ruzhen [phrase omitted], Lishi yinjam [phrase omitted], 4 vols., xylograph (1805; Gulye shanfang, 1888), held at Taiwan Normal Univ. Library (call number a 940 161.1), 5:14a.

(37.) Xi-en [phrase omitted] (d. 1852) in Yu-en [phrase omitted], Yinyun fengyudn [phrase omitted], ed. Xi-en, in Xuxiu "Siku quanshu": jingbu, vol. 258, facsimile of xylograph (1840), 4a.

(38.) Chi Tingqin [phrase omitted], "Dengyin banben yanjiu: Jian xi Dengyin zhong de chongchu zl" <<[phrase omitted] >> [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted], Hubei Jingji Xueyuan xuebao (renwen shehui kexue ban) 4, no. 9 (2007): 146. Ma Ziyuan's book is extant in a re-edition by Gao Wengying [phrase omitted] (fl. 1702-1703), who combined it with the work of Li'n Benyu (fl. early eighteenth century). According to the aforementioned article for the dating of the editions of Ma's book, Gao, "Dengyin," "Shengwei" hehui is older than Mei, Chongding Mashi dengyin. See also Geng Zhensheng [phrase omitted], Ming-Qing dengyun xue tonglun [phrase omitted] (Beijing: Yuwen chubanshe, 1992), 251.

(39.) Gao, "Dengyin," "Shengwei" hehui, xia:84a (489).

(40.) Qian Zhaoji [phrase omitted], "'Sumi suyuan bu" '[phrase omitted], Geyao zhoukan, no. 97 (1925): 5-6; Tao Yumin [phrase omitted], Minyin yanjiu [phrase omitted] (1930; Beijing: Keju chubanshe, 1956), 26; Chao, "Fanqie yu ba zhong"; Zhang Tianbao [phrase omitted], "Qieyu chutan" [phrase omitted], Huaibei Meishiyuan xuebao (shehui kexue ban), no. 3 (1986): 131-37; Qu Yanbin [phrase omitted], Zhongguo minjian mimi yu [phrase omitted]; (Shanghai: Shanghai sanlian shudian, 1990), ch. 2, sec. 1; Fu Zengxiang [phrase omitted], "Fanqie yu zatan" [phrase omitted], Xun'gen, no. 2 (2005): 99-103; Li-yun Bauer-Hsieh, "Aspekte der chinesischen Geheimsprachen," in "Eroberungen aus dem Archiv": Beitrdge zu den Kulturen Ostasiens. Festschrift fur Lutz Bieg, ed. Birgit Hase and Carsten Storm (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2009), 84-86.

(41.) Liu Bencai [phrase omitted] and LI Chun [phrase omitted], "Shezl youxi jiqi yingyong" [phrase omitted], Wenhua xuekan, no. 3 (2010): 161-62.

(42.) Gao, "Dengyin," "Shengwei" hehui, xia:84a-b.

(43.) E.g., Fan Tengfeng [phrase omitted], Wufang yuanyin [phrase omitted], facsimile of the expanded second edition xylograph, cont. Nian Xiyao [phrase omitted], in "Siku quanshu" cunmu congshu: jingbu, vol. 219 (1710; Jinan: Qi'-Lu shushe, 1997), the first edition probably dated from 1654-73, yunshi:2b-3a; Xu, Yinfu, 1a-b.

(44.) Li, Lishi yinjian, 2:11a-b.

(45.) Ibid., fanli:11b.

(46.) Ibid., 3:21b.

(47.) Ibid., 1:21a-b.

(48.) Ibid., 5:30a.

(49.) Partial translation, unfortunately excluding the phonological passages, in Li Ruzhen [Li Ru-chen], Flowers in the Mirror, tr. Lin Tai-yi (London: Peter Owen, 1965).

(50.) Chen Guangzheng [phrase omitted], "Shuping Jughua yuan zhong de shengyun xue" [phrase omitted], in Shengyun luncong, ed. Zhonghua Minguo Shengyun xue Xuehui..., vol. 3 (Taibei: Taiwan xuesheng shuju. 1991), 125-48; Wang Songmu [phrase omitted], "Qishe guo de bu zhuan zhi mi: Cong Lishi yinjian, Jinghua yuan fansi dangqian Hanyu yinyun xue de chuanbo" [phrase omitted]: [phrase omitted] [phrase omitted], Hanxue yanjiu 26, no. 1 (2008): 231-60; Paize Keulemans, Sound Rising from the Paper: Nineteenth-Century Martial Arts Fiction and the Chinese Acoustic Imagination (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Asia Center, 2014), 226-28.

(51.) Li Ruzhen, Jinghua yuan [phrase omitted], typeset edition, ed. Wu Hao (1827; Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1996), 90 (ch. 19).

(52.) Ibid., 151 (ch. 31).

(53.) Coblin, "Zhang Linzhi on the Yunjing," 127-28.

(54.) Li, jinghua yuan, 153 (ch. 31).

(55.) Li Yian [phrase omitted], ed. and tr., "San zi jing," "Bai jia xing, " "Qian zi wen, " "Dizi gui"[phrase omitted] [phrase omitted] (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2010), 109.

(56.) Lao Naixuan, Dengyun yide [phrase omitted], 2 vols., xylograph (Wuqiao Guanxie, 1898), vol. 1, xw: 1b.

(57.) Yang Zhiti [phrase omitted], Yinyun huayi [phrase omitted], cont. Guo Yude [phrase omitted], xylograph (Weicai Tangg, 1884-1886), held at Taiwan Normal Univ. Library (call number A 940 633), 25a-b.

(58.) Li Shize, "Qieyun shebiao," chap. 32 in Shudfu xu, in Xuxiu "Sikh qudnshu": zibu, vol. 1191, facsimile of xylograph; LI Jun [phrase omitted], "Qiezi jieyao" ydnjiu <<[phrase omitted]>> (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2015), 17.

(59.) Jia Cunren [phrase omitted], "Dengyun jingyao" [phrase omitted], in Hanjian yunshu congbian, vol. 2, facsimile of xylograph (1775), tushuo:22a-b.

(60.) Mei Yingzuo [phrase omitted], Zihui [phrase omitted], xylograph (Mei Shiqian, Mei Shijie, 1615), appendix (juanmo [phrase omitted]), yunfa hengtu:16b. Wu Lang, Wu sheng fanqie zheng[yun] [phrase omitted], facsimile of xylograph, in Congshu jicheng xubian, vol. 75, undated, but printed in the mid to late eighteenth century, wu sheng fanqie zhengjun[=yun]:33a, quoted these words as Mei Yingzuo's.

(61.) Tu Lien-che, "Wu, Ching-tzu," in Hummel, Eminent Chinese, 2:867.

(62.) Wu, Wu sheng fanqie zheng[yun], wit sheng fanqie zhengjun[=yun]:36a-b.

(63.) Charles O. Frake, "Cognitive Maps of Time and Tide Among Medieval Seafarers," Man 20, no. 2 (1985): 264, where these statements unsurprisingly do not refer to Chinese phonological hand diagrams. I owe the realization that the study of cognition (as pursued in the history of navigation) is relevant to the phonological hand diagrams to Stephanie Homola. "Hand Mnemonics and Counting Skills: Reducing Uncertainty through Fate Computation" (paper presented at the "Accounting for Uncertainty" inaugural workshop, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, June 1, 2016).

(64.) Marta E. Hanson, "Hand Mnemonics in Classical Chinese Medicine: Texts, Earliest Images, and Arts of Memory," Asia Major 21.1 (2008): 334.

(65.) E.g., Songben Qieyan zhlzhang tu, 1b (22).

(66.) Hirata Shoji [Phrase Omitted], "Huangji jingshi shengyin changhe tu yu Qieyun zhizhang tu: Shi lun yuyan shenmi sixiang dui Song dai dengyun xue de yingxiang" [phrase omitted] : [phrase omitted] Toho gakuho 56 (1984): 179-215.

(67.) Stephanie Homola, "Les usages de la main dans les calculs divinatoires," Etudes chinoises 33.1 (2014): 126.

(68.) LI, "Qiezi jieydo" yanjiu, 21-22.

(69.) LI Xinkui [phrase omitted], Hanyu dengyun xue [phrase omitted] (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1983), 249-50.

(70.) Mei, Zihui, appendix, yunfa zhitu:39b.

(71.) Ibid., appendix, yunfa zhitu: 1 b.

(72.) Li, "Qiezi jieydo" yanjiu, 30-31.

(73.) Mei, Zihui, appendix, yunfa zhitu:39b. A similar description is found in Fanqie zhizhang, 1522.

(74.) Studied in Chen Danling [phrase omitted], "Qieyin jiejue yinxi yanjiu" [phrase omitted] is (master's thesis, Taiwan Shifan Daxue, 2009).

(75.) Li Heng, Qieyin jiejue, xylograph (Zhuji: Zhigu Tang, 1880), held at Sun Yat-sen Library, Guangzhou (call number 09345), 2a-3a.

(76.) Geng, Ming-Qing dengyum xue tonglun, 235.

(77.) [Chen Jin [phrase omitted]] (Buqin [phrase omitted]), Qieyin mengyin [phrase omitted], xylograph (1883), held at Taiwan Normal Univ. Library (call number A 940 505), 10a.

(78.) LI. Hanyit dengyun xue, 301-4.

(79.) Inferred from Su Zhiyi [phrase omitted], "Qieyin mengyin yinxi yanjiu" [phrase omitted] (master's thesis, Zhongguo Wenhua Daxue. 2012). For Shaoxing dialect, I follow Wang Futang [phrase omitted], "Shaoxing fangyan tongyin zihui" [phrase omitted], Fangyan, no. 1 (2008): 1-17.

(80.) Following the definition in William H. Baxter, A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1992), 6-7.

(81.) [Chen], Qieyin mengyin, 12a.

(82.) Songben Qieyun zhizhang tu, 10a-b (19-20).

(83.) Chen stated that the sound of two of the twenty-four initials, y [phrase omitted] (yu) and xy [phrase omitted] (xia), were similar in pronunciation, yet he kept both to maintain the symmetry of the system (four laryngeals [houyin [phrase omitted]] corresponding to four each of velars [yayin labials [chunyin [phrase omitted]], dental sibilants [chitou yin [phrase omitted]], and so on). Su Zhiyi concluded that proper reading pronunciation in Chen's understanding included only one sound h where Middle Chinese sources indicated either y or xy: Su, "Qieyin mengyin yinxi yanjiu," 124.

(84.) [Chen], Qieyin mengyin, 4b.

(85.) Ibid., 5a.

(86.) Ibid., 6a.

(87.) The distinction between the target and the mark/bull's-eye is not entirely clear from the point of view of the metaphor itself, nor from consideration of the reality represented; indeed, another account called the initial by the two-syllable name biaodi (Fanqie zhizhang, 1520). These terms are also discussed in reference to fanqie (but not graded rhyme tables) in Yuen-ren Chao, "The Problem of the Chinese Language," in Linguistic Essays by Yuenren Chao, ed. Zong-ji Wu and Xin-na Zhao (1916; Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2006), 20. It is unclear if Chao was aware of the use of these terms in the context of the game.

(88.) [Chen], Qieyin mengyin, 15a.

(89.) Ibid., 12a.

(90.) Chen did not use the word yunmu in the sense of final, which is the meaning that the term has in technical usage today.

(91.) Ibid., 15a.

(92.) Edwin Hutchins, Cognition in the Wild (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995), 66, 73-78, and 93-116 (examples from the history of navigation); Shigehisa Kuriyama, "Between Mind and Eye: Japanese Anatomy in the Eighteenth Century," in Paths to Asian Medical Knowledge, ed. Charles Leslie and Allan Young (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1992), 26-27 (examples from the history of medicine).

(93.) For examples from various cultures, see Georges Ifrah, Histoire universelle des chiffres: L'intelligence des homines racontee par les nombres et le calcul, second, expanded edition. 2 vols. (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1994), vol. 1,ch. 3.

(94.) Jean-Gabriel Lemoine, "Les anciens precedes de calcul sur les doigts en Orient et en Occident," Revue des etudes islamiques 6 (1932): 46-47; Ifrah, Histoire universelle des chiffres, vol. 1, 141.

(95.) Xu, Ylnfu, 3b-4a (shooting of tian), [y[much less than]7[much less than]n]:21b-23a (numbers). On the numeral system, see Qu, Zhdnggud mlnjian tmmi yu, 172-73.

(96.) Gao, "Dengyin," "Shengwei" hehui, xia:86b-87a. According to Gao, this section is from Lin's book (ibid., fanli:lb).

(97.) Lu and He, "Dengyun biandu," 744.

(98.) Hu, Gu-jin, Zhong-wai yinyun tongli, vol. 4, chudnsheng'3a.

(99.) Yang Naisi [phrase omitted], "Fanqie de miaoybng" [phrase omitted], Yuwen xue'xi, no. 6 (1979): 53; Yang Timing "Cong yinyun xue jiaodu kan Tmghua yuan de zhuzub quan" [phrase omitted], in Yang Yimi'ng zixuan ji (1994; Nanjing: Fenghuang chubanshe, 2010), 45.

(100.) Lu and He, "Dengyun biandu," 743.

(101.) Mei, Chongding Mashi dengyin, vol. 1, chudnxiang shezi /u:34b.

(102.) One numerical system was explained in the textbook studied in Jiri Hudecek, "Mathematical Practice in the Sixteenth-Century Chinese Compilation Suan fa tong zong," European Offroads of Social Science 1 (2010): 4-17.

(103.) Li Iishi yinjum, 5:llb.

(104.) Xu, Yinfu, [yulun:] 22b.

(105.) Gao, "Dengyin," "Shengwei" hehui, xia:87b-88a (491).

(106.) Lyce Jankowski, "Era Name and Power Regalia in Song Coinage" (paper presented at the 21st Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies, Saint Petersburg, August 27, 2016). Scholars in the Qing period occasionally came across old coins with indecipherable foreign writing (Imre Galambos. Translating Chinese Tradition and Teaching Tangut Culture: Manuscripts and Printed Books from Khara-khoto [Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015], 56-57), but there is no evidence of such discoveries playing a part in this case.

(107.) Fanqie zhizhang, 1522.

(108.) Mei, Chdngding Mashi dengyin, vol. 1, chudnxiang shezi fa:32a.

(109.) Gao, "Dengyin," "Shengwei" hehui, jr;a:82a. Cf. Me"i, Chdngding Mashi dengyin, vol. 1, chudnxiang shezi fa: 5:32a, which does not contain this latter statement.

(110.) Hu, Qieyin qimeng, 7b.

(111.) Yang, "Fanqie de miaoyong," 52; Liu and LI, "Shezi yduxi jiqi yingyong," 160.

(112.) Chaoying Fang and J. F. Millinger, "Ch'i Chi-kuang," in Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368-1644, ed. L. Carrington Goodrich and Chaoying Fang, vol. 1 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1976), 220-24.

(113.) Chaoying Fang, "Ch'en Ti," in Goodrich and Fang, Dictionary of Ming Biography, vol. 1, 108-84.

(114.) Lud Changpei "Xiamen yinxi" [phrase omitted], in Luo Chdngpei wenji, vol. 1 (1956; Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe, 2008), 67; editors' preface in Li Ruldng [phrase omitted] and Wang Shengkui [phrase omitted], eds., """Qi, Lin ba yin" jiao zhu [phrase omitted], typeset, critical edition (Fuzhou: Fujian renmi'n chubanshe, 2001), 1-3.

(115.) Li and Wang, "Qi, Lin ba yin" jiao zhu, no continuous pagination; Huang Wei [phrase omitted], "Ming-Qing wu zhong yunshu zhong de shezi fa" [phrase omitted], Daqlng Shifan Xueyuan xuebao 33, no. 1 (2013): 110.

(116.) LI, Hanyu dengyun xue, 349.

(117.) Liao Lunji [phrase omitted], "Liao Lunji Paizhang zhiyin yingyin ben" [phrase omitted] ed. Fangyan Bianji Bu, probably written sometime between 1670 and 1700, Fangyan, no. 2 (1979): 143-54.

(118.) Furuya Akihiro [phrase omitted] [Guwu Zhaohdng], "Guanyu Paizhang zhiyin de chengshu shijian wentf" [phrase omitted], Zhonggud yuwen, no. 6 (1994): 452-53.

(119.) Zhou Changji [phrase omitted], "Lue tan difang yunshu Huiyln miaowu" [phrase omitted], Cishu yanjiu, no. 6 (1982): 111; Huing DiSncheng [phrase omitted], "Quanzhou Huiyln miaowu shuping" [phrase omitted]'rn )) , in Huang Diancheng yuydn xue lunwen ji (1980; Xikme"n: Xikmen Daxue" chubanshe, 2003), 250 (incl. note 2 [place of origin]).

(120.) Hong Weiren [phrase omitted], Qudnzhou fangyan yunshu san zhong ;[phrase omitted] (Taibei: Wuh'ng chubanshe, 1993), 31.

(121.) Huang Qian, "Xiang zhu Huiyin miaowu" [phrase omitted], in Hong. Qudnzhbu fangydn yunshu sdn zhdng (1903), facsimile of a xylograph with a preface dated 1800, xu:2b. I am quoting from the only complete edition available to me. A survey of the other editions is found in Wang Jianshe [phrase omitted] "Xin faxian de Huiyin miaowu banben jieshao" [phrase omitted], Zhdnggud yuwen, no. 3 (2001): 263-66. See also Huang, "Quanzhou Huiyin miaowu shupihg," 261 (incl. note 1).

(122.) Huang, "Xiang zhu Huiyin miaowu," sdn tui yishf ziyang:3b.

(123.) In other words, it did not "pair sounds" [phrase omitted], pace Huang Diancheng [phrase omitted], "Huang Qian de 'san tui chengz) fa'" [phrase omitted]: 42; [Huang Diancheng [phrase omitted]]"MTnnan diqu de fangyan yunshu" [phrase omitted], in Xiamen huawen. ed. Xu Chang'an and Li Xltai (Fuzhou: Lujiang chubanshe, 1993), 19.

(124.) The tone followed, lastly, on the lower right: Huang, "Xiang zhij Huiyin miaowu," sdn tui xin shufa:5a.

(125.) Marten Soderblom Saarela, "Alphabets avant la lettre: Phonographic Experiments in Late Imperial China." Twentieth-Century China 41.3 (2016): 234-57.

(126.) Gu in Rong Zhaozu SUA, "Fanqie de mimi yu" [phrase omitted], Geydo zhdukan, no. 52 (1924): 2.
Table 1. The first stanza of the "shooting-characters" poem in Bintui

                                     The poem's first stanza: (a)

[phrase omitted]       [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
siaj                   xi                            tiaj
xi                     xi                            di
[phrase omitted]       [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
fji                    pji                           [pts.sup.h]iaj
fei                    bei                           qi
[phrase omitted]       [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
[p.sup.h]i             phi                           fhji
pi                     pi                            fei
[phrase omitted]       [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
xhjyaj                 trhi                          tshiaj
xie                    chi                           qi
[phrase omitted]       [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
li                     yj                            ri
li                     wei                           er
[phrase omitted]       [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
xjiaj                  kjiaj                         pjiaj
xi                     ji                            bi

                                The poem's first stanza: (a)

[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]                [phrase omitted]
siaj                 tsi                             ki
xi                   zhi                             ji
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]                [phrase omitted]
fji                  [k.sup.h]i                      [tr.sup.h]i
fei                  qi                              chi
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]                [phrase omitted]
[p.sup.h]i           khi                             shz
pi                   qi                              ci
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]                [phrase omitted]
xhjyaj               Shi                             [phrase omitted]
xie                  shi                             yi
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]                [phrase omitted]
li                   ni                              [phrase omitted]
li                   yi                              yi
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]                [phrase omitted]
xjiaj                [k.sup.h]jiaj                   [p.sup.h]jiaj
xi                   xi                              pi

                      Initials in the first stanza (rearranged

see note a]):
phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
iaj                  si                             tsz
i                    shi                            zi
phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
ji                   [tr.sup.h]iaj                  kyj
ei                   ti                             gui
phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
p.sup.h]i            ji                             thiaj
i                    yi                             ti
phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
hjyaj                mi                             vij
ie                   mei                            wei
phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
i                    [phrase omitted]               nri
i                    chu                            ni
phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
jiaj                 phji                           mjiaj
i                    pi                             mi

                      Initials in the first stanza (rearranged
                                 [see note a]):

[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
siaj                 S- [phrase omitted]            x-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
fji                  [x.sup.j]-[phrase omitted]     [k.sup.j]-[phrase
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
[p.sup.h]i           f-[phrase omitted]             p-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
xhjyaj               [kh.sup.j]-[phrase omitted]    ph-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
li                   [xh.sup.j]- [phrase omitted]   trh-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
xjiaj                l-[phrase omitted]             y-[phrase omitted]

                              Initials in the first stanza (rearranged
                                     [see note a]):

[phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
siaj                  t-[phrase omitted]            ts-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
fji                   [p.sup.j]-[phrase omitted]    [k.sup.hj]-[phrase
[phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
[p.sup.h]i            [ts.sup.h]-[phrase omitted]   [k.sup.h]-[phrase
[phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
xhjyaj                fh-[phrase omitted]           kh-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
li                    tsh-[phrase omitted]          sh-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]      [phrase omitted]              [phrase omitted]
xjiaj                 r- [phrase omitted]           n-[phrase omitted]

                       Initials in the first stanza (rearranged
                                    [see note a]):

[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
siaj                 k-[phrase omitted]             k-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
fji                  [p.sup.hj]- [phrase omitted]   [p.sup.hj]- [phrase
                                                    omitted]   [m.sup.j]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
[p.sup.h]i           [tr.sup.[phrase omitted]]      [t.sup.h]-[phrase
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
xhjyaj               Sh-[phrase omitted]            j-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
li                   [phrase omitted]               m-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]     [phrase omitted]               [phrase omitted]
xjiaj                [phrase omitted]               [n.sup.j]-[phrase

                     Initials in the first stanza (rearranged
                                  [see note a]):

[phrase omitted]                            [phrase omitted]
siaj                                        ts-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]                            [phrase omitted]
fji                                          [phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]                            [phrase omitted]
[p.sup.h]i                                  [P.sup.h]-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]                            [phrase omitted]
xhjyaj                                      th-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]                            [phrase omitted]
li                                          v-[phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]                            [phrase omitted]
xjiaj                                       nr-[phrase omitted]

(a.) For the rationale behind the rearrangement and the transcription,
see Masamura and Hirayama, "Bin tui lu shezi."

Table 2. The second stanza of the "shooting-characters" poem in Bintui

[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
la                kja:               kwa:               lam
luo               Jia                gua                lan
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
sz                kua                kja:w              law
si                ge                 jiao               Iao
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
liw               lian               yan                lay
[phrase omitted]  lian               wang               lang
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
lue               kam                lim                luan
lu                gan                lin                luan
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [Phrase Omitted]   [phrase omitted]
liam              lawn               [phrase omitted]   law
lian              long               ying               lou
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]  ken                [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
leng              gen                wan                chu
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
xhwa:j            xhwa:jn            yajn               xhja:j
huai              heng               rong               xie

[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
la                shia              [phrase omitted]   lyn
luo               xie               ling               lun
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [Phrase Omitted]
sz                kja:j             laj                lun
si                jie               lai                lun
[phrase omitted]  [Phrase Omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
liw               lywn              nam                kwa:n
[phrase omitted]  long              nan                guan
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
lue               luaj              liaw               lin
lu                lei               liao               lin
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
liam              [ts.sup.h]am      shin               lan
lian              can               chen               lan
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  xhan               xhja:n
leng              lu                han                xian
[phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
xhwa:j            kja:jn            kuan               nja:n
huai              geng              guang              yan

Table 3. Rhyme tables in Flowers in the Mirror

Simplified representation of the          Lanyin's realization: (b)
grid acquired by the characters
in LI Ruzhen's novel:
zhang    zhen   zhong    zhu       zhang     zhen     zhong       zhu

...        *      *        *         ...       *        *          *
...        *      *        *         ...       *        *          *
...        *      *        *         ...       *        *          *
...        *      *        *         ...       *        *          *
...        *      *        *         ...       *        *          *
shang      *      *        *       shang     shen     [sho]ng     shu

Lanyin realizes that the syllables on the sixth line have the same
relationship among them as those on the first line do; the circles on
the sixth row obtain one phonological property (the initial) from the
vertical axis, and another (the rhyme) from the horizontal axis.
(b.) Based on Li Jinghua yuan, 149-50 (ch. 19).

Table 4. d'(ian) + (n)i = d'i in Qieyin mengyin

                        First              Second
                        speller:           speller:

Chinese characters:     [phrase omitted]   + [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese (EMC:)   den                ni/ni
LMC:                    thian              ni

Qieyin mengyin:         [d'ian.sub.1]      [ni.sub.1]
Shaoxing dialect:       [die.sub.low 1]    [ni.sub.low1]
Standard Mandarin:      tian               yi
Rhyming standard:                          zhi [phrase omitted]
Rhyme in Chen's book:                      Ji [phrase omitted]

                       Spelled syl-         Remarks : (d)

Chinese characters:    = [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese (EMC:)  *di/*di              (Fails; the correct
                                            EMC-reading is
LMC:                   *thi                 dej and the correct
Qieyin mengyin:        [d'i.sub.1]          (Works)
Shaoxing dialect:      [DI.sub.LOW1]        (Works)
Standard Mandarin:     ti                   (Works)
Rhyming standard:      qi[phrase omitted]
Rhyme in Chen's book:  ji [phrase omitted]

d. Ti [phrase omitted] is not listed as mixing (tongyong [phrase
omitted]) with characters from zhi [phrase omitted]. in either Cai
Shenyuan [phrase omitted], ed., Peiwen shiyun [phrase omitted], vol.
505, Gugong zhenben congkan, facsimile of xylograph (Haikou: Hainan
chubanshe, 2001), undated, 1:27b (316), or Zhou Zhaoji [phrase
omitted], Peiwen shiyun shiyao [phrase omitted], facsimile of xylograph
(1886; Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1982). written before 1817, 1
lb. JI [phrase omitted], in the wei [phrase omitted] rhyme in the
official standard, is, however, there listed as interchangeable with ji
[phrase omitted], which belongs to the zhi [phrase omitted] rhyme. See
Cai Shenyuan, Peiwen shiyun, 1:19a (312).

Table 5. l(ian) + (?)i = li in Qieyin mengyin

                        First              Second
                        speller:           speller:

Chinese characters:     [phrase omitted]   + [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese (EMC:)   lian               ?ji
Qieyin mengyin:         [lian.sub.1]       [?i.sub.1]
Shaoxing dialect:       [lie.sub.low1]     [i.sub.high 1]
Standard Mandarin:      lian               yi

Rhyming standard:                          zhi [phrase omitted]
Rhyme in Chen's book:                      ji [phrase omitted]

                       Spelled syl-         Remarks: (e)

Chinese characters:    = [phrase omitted]   (Fails; the correct
                                            EMC-reading is
Middle Chinese (EMC:)  *li                  lej and the correct
LMC:                                        liaj)
Qieyin mengyin:        [li.sub.1]           (Works)
Shaoxing dialect:      [li.sub.low 1]       (Works)
Standard Mandarin:     *li                  (Technically fails, but see
                                            note e)
Rhyming standard:      qi [phrase omitted]
Rhyme in Chen's book:  ji [phrase omitted]

e. In Shaoxing dialect syllables are divided into registers. However,
the register is determined by whether the initial is voiced or not,
voiced initials meaning high (yin [phrase omitted]) register tones,
whereas the unvoiced (including zero) initial meaning low (yang [phrase
omitted]) register tones. See Qian Nairong [phrase omitted], Dangdai
Wuyu yanjiu "[phrase omitted] (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe,
1992), 20. Register is not determined by the final, and would have been
predictable by a native speaker using Chen's spellings. For the
position of zhi [phrase omitted] and qi [phrase omitted] in the rhyming
standard, see Cai Shenyuan. Peiwen shiyun, 12a (308) and 27b (316). As
for the spelling of *lilli in Standard Mandarin, a native speaker would
probably infer that the intended reading is li, as this is the unmarked
tone for syllables with an l- initial (as shown in the transcription
system described in Yuen Ren Chao, Mandarin Primer: An Intensive Course
in Spoken Chinese, electronic edition [1948; Harvard Univ. Press,
2013], 29).

Table 6. p(u) + (d')'n = p'n in Qieyin mengyin

                                        Old spelling: (f)

Chinese characters:   [phrase omitted]       + [phrase omitted] =
EMC:                  puan                   d'n (h)
Initial in EMC:       p-[phrase omitted]
LMC:                  fiyan/fan              th[??]'n'

Reading:              [fyan.sub.1]           [d'[??].sub.n]
Qieyin mengyin        f-[phrase omitted]
Shaoxing dialect:     [fan.sub.high 1]       [D'n.sub.LOW 3]

Standard Mandarin:    fang                   deng

Chinese characters:   [phrase omitted]
EMC:                  N/A                 (initial is bilabial)
Initial in EMC:
LMC:                  N/A                 (Would fail, as the initial is
Reading:              [*F'n.sub.3]     (Fails; the correct
Qieyin mengyin                            reading is bilabial)
Shaoxing dialect:                         (Fails; spelled syllable
                                          does not exist)
Standard Mandarin:    *feng               (Fails; the correct
                                          reading is beng
                                          [alternative form of
                                          [phrase omitted]

                                     Chen's new spelling:

Chinese characters:   [phrase omitted]       + [phrase omitted] =
EMC:                  [p[??].sup.h]          [d'n.sup.h]
Initial in EMC:       p-[phrase omitted]
LMC:                  pu[??]                  th[??]'n'
Reading:              [PU.sub.3]             [d'[??]n.sub.3]
Qieyin mengyin        P- [phrase omitted]
Shaoxing dialect:     [PU.sub.HIGH 3]        [den.sub.low3]
Standard Mandarin:    bu                     deng

Chinese characters:   [phrase omitted]
EMC:                  N/A                  (initial is bilabial)
Initial in EMC:
LMC:                  N/A                  (Initial is bilabial)
Reading:              [P[??]n.sub.3]       (Works)
Qieyin mengyin        p-[phrase omitted]
Shaoxing dialect:     N/A                  (initial is bilabial)
Standard Mandarin:    beng                 (Works)

f. For the old spelling see Yu, Xin jiao hitzhu Song-ben "Guangyun",
4:48b (434). It is discussed in [Chen Jin], Qieyin mengyin, 9b; Su
Zhiyi, "Qieyin mengyin yinxi yanjiu," 97. EMC characters that are
listed as N/A are not listed in Pulleyblank, Lexicon of Reconstructed
Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese, and Early
Mandarin. The character fang [phrase omitted] is not listed in [Chen],
Qieyin mengyin, but the pronunciation is inferred on the basis of the
spelling of fang [phrase omitted] on 32a.

Table 7. Initials excluded from Qieyin mengyin hand diagram

Excluded initials (rearranged for clarity):

Chinese            [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]  [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese     tr- t6-           dr-               [t6.sup.h]-
LMC:               ts-               trh-              [ts.sub.h]-
Shaoxing dialect:  ts-                                 [ts.sup.h]-
Homophones in      ts-                                 ts'-
Chen's book:
Chinese            [phrase omitted]                    [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese     ts-                                 ts'-

Chinese characters:  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese       dz                 dr-
LMC:                 tsh-               trh-
Shaoxing dialect:                       dz-
Homophones in                           dz-
Chen's book:
Chinese characters:                     [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese                          dz-
LMC:                                    tsh-

Chinese characters:  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese       nr-                e-
LMC:                                    [section]-
Shaoxing dialect:    n-                 s-
Homophones in        n-                 s-
Chen's book:
Chinese characters:  [phrase omitted]   [phrase omitted]
Middle Chinese       n-                 s-

g. Viz., [phrase omitted]

Table 8. Two kinds of fanqie spellings in Qieyin mengyin

"Identical arrows and different targets yielding different marks":
[hu.sub.1]  [phrase omitted]  +   [dz'uon.sub.1]   [phrase omitted]   =
[lu.sub.1]  [phrase omitted]  +   [dz'uon.sub.1]   [phrase omitted]   =

[hu.sub.1]  [huon.sub.1]  [phrase omitted]
[lu.sub.1]  [luon.sub.1]  [phrase omitted]

"Different arrows and identical targets
yielding identical marks":

[tu.sub.1]                  [phrase omitted]   +   [nuon.sub.1]
[tu.sub.1]                  [phrase omitted]       [b'uon.sub.1]
Transposed to numbers:
5                           [phrase omitted]   +   8 [phrase omitted]
5                           [phrase omitted]       11 [phrase omitted]

[tu.sub.1]                  [phrase omitted]   =   [tuon.sub.1]
[tu.sub.1]                  [phrase omitted]       [phrase omitted]
Transposed to numbers:
5                           = 5                    [phrase omitted]

[Please note: Some non-Latin characters were omitted from this article]
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Author:Saarela, Marten Soderblom
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Apr 1, 2018
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