An Interactive Application to Explore the Shījīng

The evidence one can draw from the rhyming behaviour of Old Chinese words, especially as it is reflected in the Shījīng 詩經 (ca. 1050–600 BC), plays a crucial role for the reconstruction of Old Chinese. When looking at sequences of Chinese characters and being less experienced in both reading ancient Chinese and deciphering the pronunciation of older stages of the language, it is useful to see which words actually rhymed and how they were pronounced. This helps to get a better understanding of the different rhyme patterns one can observe in the Shījīng, but also of how the pronunciation of a language like Old Chinese, which is not reflected in alphabetical form, was reconstructed in the end. I started to work on a small interactive application that I call the "Shījīng Rhyme Browser". In this application, I follow the rhyme assignments by Baxter (1992) and display them in an interactive way, so that one can immediately see which characters rhyme and how they were pronounced.

The application is still flawed and needs further improvement, but those who are interested can give it a first look at this link.