I know this question isn’t strictly about the Chinese language, but I thought since there are so many experts on Chinese linguistics here, I might get a good answer! Please do let me know if there’s somewhere better to post!
First off, I want to say that the assertion that Vietnamese is especially different from Chinese, Japanese and Korean is a completely unsubstantiated statement on my part. I’ve been trying to explore Vietnamese phonology recently and not yet covered much ground, but so far have been surprised at the difference. I suspect the difference may be more pronounced in the Southern Vietnamese pronunciation, but I look forward to being corrected if it’s not the case!
Looking at examples of Chinese-derived vocabulary in Vietnamese, I do see a lot of very similar words (as expected). However, a lot of my exposure to such vocabulary has been based on spelling alone (so perhaps Vietnamese used to sound more similar to the others?), from which I presumed a higher degree of similarity. For example:
|PRONUNCIATION OF 國家|LANGUAGE|
I assumed that, like Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and Korean, the initial consonant in 國 would be pronounced in Vietnamese with a velar plosive. From a Google search, it seems that this is the case in Northern Vietnamese, but actually a /w/ in Southern Vietnamese. What was the process that resulted in this pronunciation?
Similarly, in 家, the initial consonant is a velar plosive in all but the Mandarin pronunciation, where it was palatalised. In S. Vietnamese, ‘gi’ is pronounced /j/, which I assume was just one step further from palatalising the /k/. However, N. Vietnamese pronounces this as /z/ – where did this come from?
Another example is 實習:
|PRONUNCIATION OF 實習|LANGUAGE|
|Sil Seup |Korean|
The initial consonants of both 實 and 習 are affricates/fricatives for all except Vietnamese.
Is Vietnamese an outlier among CJKV languages? Have sound changes affected it more than the others? Did timing of borrowings impact pronunciation? Or have I just inadvertently cherry-picked examples in unconscious bias?
Any information would be super appreciated!