Looking at the character『俘』

  • In Soutwestern Mandarin it takes 阴平:

《现代汉语方言音库 • 成都话音档》


  • In Cantonese it looks to also take 阴平:

(Jyutping): fu1

  • Hokkien, also, maybe 阴平: /hu⁴⁴/.

I'm seeing some transcriptions of Middle Chinese & Old Chinese:

  • phju
  • /pʰɨo/
  • /*pʰuw/

But I'm struggling to make much sense of how the 阴平 pk. 阳平 split came about in topolects vs. MSM.

Any ideas on the tonal evolution of 俘?

2 Answers 2


That is a good question. I searched a bit and here is what I found:

In 1922, 趙元任's 國音新詩韻 listed 俘 as 阴平: enter image description here

Note that 孚 was also 阴平 there.

1922 中華民國發音字典 also listed them as 阴平: enter image description here

In 1932, 國音常用字彙 listed both 俘 and 孚 as 阳平:

enter image description here

Something probably happened during the 10 years. (It was a time of change and turmoil).

I would say these two characters have undergone some irregular changes in Mandarin.

  • Very interesting. Quite funny to see the pronunciation suddenly change over ten years.
    – Mou某
    Dec 3, 2021 at 18:37

There is no one definitive answer to this question. It is possible that the tonal evolution of 俘 differed depending on the dialect or topolect in question.

Here is one possible scenario: In proto-Mandarin, 俘 was pronounced with a 3rd tone. However, over time, the 3rd tone gradually shifted to a 2nd tone in some dialects but remained a 3rd tone in other dialects. This is why we see two different tones (2nd and 3rd) in modern Mandarin dialects for this word.

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