[quote=“Brianjones, post:47, topic:160816”]
I would like to see the proof that this is really a change of old-new Mandarin usage and not something that Wade-Giles and friends came up with.[/quote]
The palatalisation of Mandarin velars (and other Chinese languages) is well-documented, akin to the Great Vowel Shift in English. For a paper discussing just one piece of the evidence, see this, on an eighteenth century Manchu–Mandarin phrasebook:
For most of the period of contact with Europeans, Nanjing Mandarin was the prestige version. Nanjing Mandarin underwent the palatalisation process later than northern Mandarin, as reflected in the phonetic research of missionaries, and the transfer of words into surrounding languages. For older examples of k versus j, think about how words from Tang-era China were adopted into Japanese. The same 京 that we’re discussing here became “kyō”. The Japanese didn’t change all the j sounds to k sounds. They kept the k sounds from the source language, and then Chinese changed after the borrowing had taken place.
Cute, but not borne out by the historical/phonetic record. Peking (or Pekin) was written thus for at least a couple of centuries before Mr Wade first put pen to paper. Also, saying that Wade–Giles Beijing was “originally” Peiching implies that this later changed. It didn’t. In WG Beijing has always been written Peiching. Ditto for Keelung, which was always Chilung in WG.
If you want a lot more on the origins of Peking/Beijing, then try this paper (though I’m not sure I buy the conclusions about Sino–PIE relations between some phonemes).
[quote]Around the middle of the seventeenth century, a whole series of extraordinary phonological
and grammatical changes that were taking place in the northern Chinese topolects began to surface. One of these was the so-called palatalization of the velars whereby g, k, and h before the high front vowels i and u became j, q, and x. This transformation must have started to occur already in the northeast by about the middle of the seventeenth century, for we find confirmation of it in the Manchu translation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (1644?). But it did not happen everywhere at the same instant. Indeed, there are still numerous speakers in the north who continue to say Peking instead of Beijing.[/quote]
Edit to add: “Palatalization of the Velars” sounds like a Star Wars prequel that never got made.