An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Zhongzhou yinyun 中州音韻

Jan 9, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhongzhou yinyun 中州音韻 "Rhymes of the central provinces" is a dictionary compiled around 1500 by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Wang Wenbi 王文璧 (fl. 1601). The short dictionary lists 3,072 characters more than in the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) rhyme dictionary Zhongyuan yinyun 中原音韻, upon whose structure it is based. The Zhongzhou yinyun was written because the Zhongyuan yinyun had left out a lot of words and was only a rhyme dictionary, not a real word dictionary. The characters in the Zhongzhou yinyun are arranged according to the rhyme system as in the Zhongyuan yinyun, but with some differences, expecially in the treatment of voiced and voiceless initials. Wang did not make a difference between voiced and voiceless initials in the level tone (pingsheng 平聲) rhymes. A difference is also the indication of the particular character's pronunciation according to the fanqie system 反切, which is not indicated in the Zhongyuan yinyun. The entering tone (rusheng 入聲) rhymes are totally integrated into the level tone rhymes, which makes clear that during the Ming period, the entering tone had disappeared in northern China.
The Zhongzhou yinyun included in the collection Xiaoyupu 嘯余譜 by Cheng Mingshan 程明善 from 1619. The reprint by Zhang Hanxiao 張漢校 from 1626 is based on a version stored in the library of the cabinet in Japan 日本內閣文庫, based upon which Ishida Fukuji 石山福治 has made his research to the Zhongzhou yinyun.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 1, p. 773. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.