THE SO-CALLED "THIRD"-PERSON POSSESSIVE PRONOUN Jue [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] IN CLASSICAL CHINESE

Article excerpt

Jue [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] in Classical Chinese is commonly understood as an anaphoric, possessive pronoun in the third person. An examination of bronze inscriptions from the Eastern Zhou to the Zhanguo period (ca. eigthth to fourth centuries B.C.) leads to a new understanding of jue and its morphological, prosodic, and syntactic characteristics: jue also functions as a first-and second-person pronoun, denotes a specific deictic range, as zhi [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] also does, and, in terms of stress, is stronger than qi [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] and nai [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT]. As a result of the latter two functions, we may conclude that jue is imbued with certain metaphorical extensions lacking in the latter two pronouns, such as a sense of dignity/solemnity and intimacy/affectiveness. Furthermore, grammaticalization is seen to have played an important role in the prosodic feature of stress which is separate from rhyming. This suggests the existence of a more precise distinction within unstressed pronouns and leads to a better understanding of bronze inscriptions, as well as the Shangshu.

1. INTRODUCTION

THERE IS A CONSENSUS AMONG the commonly used dictionaries and reference works for Classical Chinese that the word jue [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] functions as a third-person possessive pronoun meaning "his, her, its, their." [1] He Leshi, Ao Jinghao et al. (1985) have also recognized an anaphoric function in this word, mentioning that jue refers to antecedents such as a person, thing, event (real or imagined), condition, and so on. In this sense, jue may be interpreted as meaning "that," "the aforementioned," or "that sort of," When jue is placed between two clauses, they also assign a conjunctive function to the word, giving it the meaning "then" or "thus," At first sight, these definitions all seem to adhere to the examples they quote from transmitted Classical Chinese texts of comparatively early periods, such as the Shangshu [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] Shijing [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] [2] Zuozhuan [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCI BLE IN ASCII TEXT], and Yi Zhoushu [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT].

Turning our attention to bronze inscriptions (jinwen [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT]) from the Eastern Zhou (770-403 B.C.) and Warring States periods (403-221 B.C.), we find some differences (to be discussed) in the use of what we may presume to be the word jue in its inscribed form [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] and transcribed form [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT]. According to the Shuowen (SW), [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] is pronounced like jue/[kjuat.sup.*] (?)[CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] [3] Although this reading of [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] cannot be wholly verified, there would be no recourse left for us if we do not accept this phonetic identity. It should, however, be noted that for reasons difficult to reconstruct the graphic substitution of [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] with [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] had already taken p lace by Han times.

Past studies by Karlgren (1933), Schindler (1935), Bodman (1948), Zhou Fagao (1959), Ono (1968), Tang Yuming (1990), and Suzuki (1991 and 1994) have contributed in different ways to our understanding of the word jue. This is particularly true in the case of its use in early transmitted texts. These studies mainly discuss jue in relation to the word qi [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT], which performs a similar function and has roughly the same meaning. This paper concentrates instead on examples culled from several archaeologically excavated texts, of which the most significant are the three long bronze inscriptions found in the tomb of King Cuo [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] who ruled over the State of Zhongshan [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII TEXT] during the Warring States period (r. …