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Weldon South Coblin, Jr. (born February 26, 1944) is an American Sinologist, linguist, and educator, best known for his studies of Chinese linguistics and Tibetan.
Life and career
Coblin attended the University of Washington as an undergraduate student, graduating with a B.A. in Chinese in 1967. He then continued on at Washington as a graduate student under the Belgian Sinologist and clergyman Paul Serruys, earning a Ph.D. in Chinese language and literature in 1972 with a dissertation entitled "An Introductory Study of Textual and Linguistic Problems in Erh-ya". After completing his Ph.D., Coblin stayed at Washington for one year as a teaching associate, then in 1973 joined the faculty of the University of Iowa, where he spent his entire career.
Early in his career he made many important contributions to Tibetan and Sino-Tibetan linguistics, but since the mid-1990s has worked primarily on alphabetic representations of Chinese. Starting around that time along with Jerry Norman he promoted a new direction in Chinese historical phonology making less use of the Qieyun and other rhyme books, and more use of the traditional comparative method. Coblin is an emeritus professor at the University of Iowa.
Coblin, W. South (1972). "An Introductory Study of Textual and Linguistic Problems in Erh-ya", Ph.D. dissertation (University of Washington).
"Notes on Tibetan Verbal Morphology," T'oung Pao 52 (1976), pp. 45-70.
——— (1983). A Handbook of Eastern Han Sound Glosses. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press. ISBN962-201-258-2.
——— (1986). A Sinologist's Handlist of Sino-Tibetan Lexical Correspondences. Monumenta Serica Monograph Series. 18. Nettetal: Steyler.
——— (1991). Studies in Old Northwest Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics Monograph Series. 4. Berkeley: Project on Linguistic Analysis, University of California.
———; Norman, Jerry (1995). "A New Approach to Chinese Historical Linguistics". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 115 (4): 576-84.
——— (1997). "Notes on the Sound System of Late Ming Guanhua". Monumenta Serica. 45: 261-307.
——— (2000). "A Brief History of Mandarin". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 120 (4): 537-52. doi:10.2307/606615.
——— (2000). "A Diachronic Study of Míng Gu?nhuà Phonology". Monumenta Serica. 48: 267-335.
——— (2005). Comparative Phonology of the Huáng-Xiào Dialects. Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Linguistics. ISBN986-00-3149-5.
——— (2007). A Handbook of 'Phags-pa Chinese. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN978-0-8248-3000-7.