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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Over the millennia after the Eastern Han Dynasty, the introduction of Buddhism into China and the translation of Buddhist scriptures resulted in intense language contact between Sanskrit and Chinese, which have greatly influenced the Chinese language in three ways. First, an unprecedentedly large number of loanwords derived from Sanskrit were borrowed into the Chinese language. They were employed not only in religious contexts but also in the daily language of the common people. Second, new linguistic structures emerged in the course of translating Sanskrit texts into Chinese. This produced a long-lasting effect on the evolution of the Chinese grammar and the formation of Early Modern Chinese. Third, the study of Sanskrit promoted the study of Chinese phonology; most prominently, siddham led to the emergence of dengyunxue等韵学, and the systematic research of Chinese initials, finals and tones.

Keywords: Buddhist scriptures, dengyunxue, loanwords, Sanskrit, Chinese phonology, siddham

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