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realmayo

How many sounds in pinyin (for example, a ai an ang ao = 5)?

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Altair

I have been following this discussion with interest and have a question. How would this method, or similar methods, handle characters such as [POP="[yuè] short name for Guangdong/Guangxi"]粤[/POP], [POP="[gé] kudzu vine; grass-cloth and [Gě] (surname)"]葛 [/POP] and [POP=cáo (surname); (bound form) 〈trad.〉 plaintiff and defendant;group (of about 50 people); division; office; official; people of a certain kind]曹[/POP]. Right now, one of my biggest struggles with characters is with remembering surnames and proper nouns, since I do not live in a Chinese speaking environment. The ones I encounter frequently are easy to recognize; but seeing a name once leaves almost no impression on my mind, and I only rarely remember how to write a name.

I have trouble both in remembering the pronunication of name characters and in remembering how to write them, but particularly the latter. For instance, how do you remember how to write the names of [POP=曹魏]Cáo Wèi[/POP], [POP=诸葛亮]Zhūgě/Zhūgé Liàng[/POP](I am not sure which tones are correct), and [POP=康熙]Kāngxī[/POP]? If the names have unique and common meanings, there is no problem, but often the meanings seem obscure or little used outside of names. I guess I could try latching on to mnemonics like Mr. Bright All-Vines or Mr. Bright Health, but what do I do with a name like 曹魏? Mr. Plaintiff from Wei? Has anybody had success with such a method or any other method? Do you use it as you read along?

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skylee
but what do I do with a name like 曹魏? Mr. Plaintiff from Wei?

Is 曹魏 a name? As far as I know it refers to the 曹 family (and/or their Dynasty) (Cao Cao, Cao Pi, Cao Zhi etc) of the 魏 Kingdom of the three-kingdom period.

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Altair
Is 曹魏 a name? As far as I know it refers to the 曹 family (and/or their Dynasty) (Cao Cao, Cao Pi, Cao Zhi etc) of the 魏 Kingdom of the three-kingdom period.

I wrote too fast and was thinking of [POP=Cáo Pī, Emperor Wén of Cáo Wèi]曹魏文帝曹丕[/POP] and just skipped to that page in Wikipedia to get the characters to copy.:oops:

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braveb

I did a phonetic memory mansion a while back for a though experiment on the limits of mnemonics; it wasn't not so much for the actual use of learning Mandarin, although I do plan on studying it in the near future. I had an image for every initial and final sound, thus making it easy to create the 411 distinct syllables.

Example: K=King Kong and ENG=Shakespeare, thus KENG would give an image of a monkey composing Shakespeare plays(I was able to find a picture of a monkey at a typewriter!)

F=Frankenstein and ENG=Shakespeare, thus FENG is an image of Frankenstein trying to play one of the characters in a Shakespeare play.

K=King Kong and E=Eel that give an image of a monkey gorging on an eel, and to make this vivid you see him slurping the eel; then fervently grabbing another from a bucket full right next to him. KE=King Kong eating eels.

I covered all 411, but didn't go far enough to actually put them into the memory palace, as I didn't really have an immediate use. Furthermore, I'm waiting for Heisig's book to come out so I can connect the syllables to the characters before I assign places in the memory mansion.

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roddy

New discovery (for me) and made like all the best discoveries, by accident. A typo introduced me to a Taiwan pronunciation of yái for 崖. See second answer here (ignore the first, which denies its existence and therefore does not suit my purposes.)

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889

Pleco has it. Wenlin does not. ("Yai" gives "Invalid Pinyin" message.)

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roddy

Sort of. From what I can see (and it might depend what dictionaries I have and if they're up to date, not sure) it's in CC-CEDICT and the LAC, but not Pleco's own dictionary (which I thought was based on CC-CEDICT) or any of the others I have. 

 

That was actually how I came across it - hit i instead of o when looking at the 要 query this morning.

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889

I just entered yai into Pleco and it brought it up. Don't know anything about what dictionaries are installed: I have the plain-vanilla free Android version.

 

EDIT: I see. Those letter marks in the NE corner tell you from which dictionary Pleco is drawing the definition. Never paid attention to that before. To my mind, "Pleco has it" simply means it somehow shows when you use the Pleco app.

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Demonic_Duck

Whoah "yai" is super interesting as it doesn't fit with any existing initial/final pairs. Usually, non-standard syllables do:

  • biang = b + yang
  • pia = p + ya

..Etc.

 

Whereas yai = [zero initial] + yai. I suppose it's Taiwanese Minnan influence?

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Lu
1 hour ago, Demonic_Duck said:

Whereas yai = [zero initial] + yai.

But y- is an initial, no? y-ang, y-ou...

 

And I wouldn't be so fast to assume Minnanese influence. Tai-oan Go-yi certainly exists, but Official Mandarin as Officially Spoken in Taiwan (by Chinese teachers and not many other people) doesn't do such influences. It can be hyper-correct to the point that you're supposed to pronounce 牛仔裤 as niúzǐkù.

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Demonic_Duck
55 minutes ago, Lu said:

But y- is an initial, no? y-ang, y-ou...

 

yang = ∅ + -iang (or ∅ + -i- + -ang)

you = ∅ + -iu (or  ∅ + -i- + -ou)

 

Sometimes the glide sounds (y-/-i-, w-/-u-, yu-/-ü-) are analyzed as medials, but I don't think they're ever analyzed as initials.

 

59 minutes ago, Lu said:

And I wouldn't be so fast to assume Minnanese influence

 

I know very little about Minnanese, so you're probably right. Which means yai (-iai) really is a valid Mandarin final (or valid medial + final combination).

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imron
2 hours ago, Lu said:

But y- is an initial, no?

No!

 

It's part of the final `iang`, but the pinyin creators decided it looked nicer to write it as yang.  See for example this pinyin table.  y does not appear anywhere in the list of initials.

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Lu
12 hours ago, imron said:

No!

 

14 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

yang = ∅ + -iang (or ∅ + -i- + -ang)

you = ∅ + -iu (or  ∅ + -i- + -ou)

 

I stand corrected!

 

14 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

Which means yai (-iai) really is a valid Mandarin final (or valid medial + final combination).

 

Well, obviously it's a valid Mandarin syllable, since it's part of Mandarin and included in official dictionaries. As to the make-up, I'd go with medial + final, but I'll leave that to people who know more about linguistics than I.

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Demonic_Duck
1 hour ago, Lu said:

Well, obviously it's a valid Mandarin syllable, since it's part of Mandarin and included in official dictionaries.

 

Yeah to be honest I'm not sure what I'm trying to get at here. I guess what I mean is that you could reasonably produce a pinyin table that had a "-iai" column thanks to 涯 (whereas you wouldn't produce one with an "-old" column due to the phrase "hold 不住").

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889

"Well, obviously it's a valid Mandarin syllable, since it's part of Mandarin and included in official dictionaries."

 

My largest dictionary is the two-volume 汉英大辞典 (Shanghai, 1993) and it shows no listing for yai.

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Lu

Here's the entry in the MOE dictionary (I hope that link works). 崖 is also yái in my Far East dictionary.

I'm not surprised it's not included in a dictionary published in Shanghai, since the syllable seems only to exist in Mandarin as spoken in Taiwan.

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889

No doubt it's in Taiwanese dictionaries. I thought by "official" you were referring to official Mainland resources.

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