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In Chinese language, the possible sounds, and the sounds in use which are currently associated with concepts, are not the same set. The set for the former is larger than that for the latter. And the latter is a subset of the former. Relationship between these two sets can be illustrated in Figure I:
In the phonetic writing system, all possible sounds, both in use and not, have written forms, which are their letter spellings. In the Chinese ideographic writing system, however, only the sounds in use have written forms. The others don't. This essay is to investigate the possible but unwritten sounds.
Analytically, a Chinese syllable consists of an initial, a final and a tone. In standard Chinese there are 22 initials, with the zero initial included, 40 finals, and 4 tones. Therefore, there are theoretically 22 × 40 × 4 = 3,520 tonal syllables. All these syllables have written forms in the phonetic writing, but only around 1,300 of them have ideographic written forms. Chinese syllables can phonetically be divided into four groups by different presence of a glide, that is: those with no glide, with the /i/ glide, with the /u/ glide, or with the /y/ glide. Syllables in each group are tabulated separately for systematic presentation. Therefore, a total of four tables are associated with this essay. Sounds in the tables are transcribed with PinYin, and also IPA if ambiguity may occur.
In another page  listed in my web site, I argue that three initials, [v], [z] and [ŋ], and two finals, [ar] and [iə], can be revived from the earlier stages of standard language. These five sounds and syllables involving them are included in the tables, too.
There are quite a few blank cells in the tables. A cell is left blank for one of three reasons. The first is homonymy, or approximate homonymy. For instance, the sound represented by PinYin spelling 'be' seems not different from that of 'bo'. As 'bo' is the conventional spelling , the cell for 'be' is left blank.
Another situation also belongs to this category for practical purpose. A possible sound is not homophonic to, but nor distinctive sufficiently from, another. For example, the sound [syan], spelt as 'süan' in standard PinYin, is a possible sound, but not quite different from [suan], spelt as 'suan'. So the cell for 'süan' is left blank for the time being.
The second reason for blank cell is phonotactic constraints, which refer to the conditions governing the possible sequences of phonemes of a language [5:135]. Though both initial and final are legitimate, their combination can be a forbidden sequence in Chinese. For instance, the [w] is a legitimate initial, and [y] a legitimate final, but the sequence [wy], spelt as 'wü' in PinYin, sounds not possible to occur in standard Chinese. Another example for phonotactic constraints is [iuŋ], 'iong' in PinYin, can only be preceded by zero initial. Preceded by any other initial would make the articulation impossible.
The third reason is difficult articulation. Some sequences consisting of a legitimate initial and a legitimate final is possible to occur, but hard to pronounce. For instance, the sound [muan], 'muan' in PinYin, is possible, but difficult to articulate. This sound was present in the Late Middle Chinese [3:207], but disappeared in later stages of standard Chinese.
At this moment, I can only make judgment on the approximate homonymy, insufficient distinction, phonotactic constraints and difficult articulation from the instinct of an ordinary native speaker of Chinese. Speakers of a community share basic instinct, but that of each individual is different from others due to his/her unique experience with the language, dialects and even foreign languages. Therefore, what sounds possible to one person may not be so to another. Their judgment about the above-mentioned situations may not be same, either. It is necessary to conduct more research on the sounds that are possible but have no ideographic written forms. Some of the blank cells may be filled up as my own investigation advances.
In the tables, sound files are created as the test for some allegedly possible syllables that have no written forms in HanZi. Purpose of this essay, the associated tables and sound files is to look at the extent of possible language change when an alphabetic writing becomes available.
It is also necessary to point out that language change in Chinese definitely does not stop with the sounds listed in the tables attached to this essay. Chinese has ample synchronic (dialectal) and diachronic phonological resources. There still are enormous potentials to expand those tables with new elements. In other word, those tables are not static, but dynamic.
In 1958, the Chinese government promulgated the Scheme for the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet (HanYu PinYin FangAn), or PinYin for short, literally spelling sound. The Latin letters are adopted for the PinYin. The Scheme is concerning only representing phonemes and tonemes with letters, letter combinations or diacritics, thus exclusively concentrates on phonology, but not morphology and syntax of the language.
The PinYin is so far the optimal system in representing the phonemes and tonemes of Chinese. Unfortunately, after its adoption, a disastrous grammatical misconception, so-called the Basic Rules of Pinyin Orthography (Spelling Rules in short, or ZhengCiFa in Chinese), became dominant, and eventually was made the official policy in 1988 . The Spelling Rules are discussed in detail in another page listed in my web site , but I would like to iterate a point in it here.
The most fundamental mistake of the spelling rules is that Chinese language, a tonal language, is treated prosodically and grammatically as a non-tonal language. The automatic and independent tonal syllables are forcibly concocted into words following style of word formation of the Western non-tonal languages. As the result, the flexibility and autonomy of individual tonal syllables in phrase construction are substantially expropriated. Language change in connection with the transition from ideographic writing to phonetic writing warrants conscious language planning. No plan in this respect has ever been made. Since the adoption of PinYin in 1958, China's language planning towards a phonetic writing has made no progress, but been stumbling back and forth in a dead lane for nearly half a century. The top culprit for the stagnation is the westernized Spelling Rules.
The Spelling Rules are another major orthographic absurdity in Chinese romanization after the GR (6]. In fact, the GR and Spelling Rules of PinYin share the same grammatical misconception. The GR is the predecessor, and Spelling Rules are the successor. This essay, together with the others listed in my web site, represents an effort to dislodge this misconception. Without efforts as such, Chinese romanization will be left stranded for good.) [
 Pulleyblank, Edwin G. 1991. Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese and Early Mandarin. Vancouver: UBC Press.
 guo2 jia1 jiao4 yu4 wei3 yuan2 hui4, guo2 jia1 yu3 yan2 wen2 zi4 gong1 zuo4 wei3 yuan2 hui4. 1988. han4 yu3 pin1 yin1 zheng4 ci2 fa3 ji1 ben3 gui1 ze2. In «han4 yu3 pin1 yin1 ci2 hui4» bian1 xie3 zu3. 1989. han4 yu3 pin1 yin1 ci2 hui4. bei3 jing1: yu3 wen2 chu1 ban3 she4.
 Akmajian, Adrian; Richard A. Demers, Robert M. Harnish. 1984. Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication. The MIT Press.
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