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An experiment: 倭慧哾衣典仆侗化

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anonymoose
i think that is a llama.

I think that is an alpaca.

Original here.

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trien27
can anyone understand this?: 倭慧哾衣典仆侗化

In this first post, you didn't mention that it was based on Mandarin pronunciation. And even if you did, it won't make sense. Each character has its own individual meaning, so you can't just use it randomly. These characters would have differing pronunciations depending on the dialect you speak besides Mandarin [this is an assumption that you're Chinese but haven't learned the language very well]. Since this is probably your first post, I had no idea whether you are Chinese nor not. In other dialects, these characters might all be pronounce differently than they do in Mandarin/Putonghua. In Minnanyu or Cantonese, they would be very different from Mandarin, just to raise an example. There's many other minority languages and other Chinese dialects, like Shanghainese, where 'you' = "儂", nong2. In some dialects, such as in Shandong, et al., "俺", an3 = the same meaning as 我, wo3. In Cantonese, 我, wo3, would be "ngo5" according to my Cantonese dictionary.

My point is: You can't just randomly use any characters just because they are similar in tones or pronunciation, and bet that the world would understand what you've typed out, it doesn't make sense because as I've said before, each character has a distinct meaning.

Using only Pinyin might confuse the other person if you don't know or if you've typed the wrong pinyin by mistake. Most of the time, the person might be able guess what the wrong word is supposed to be, if you had given a context of some sort, where there can only be a specific meaning to that phrase or saying. Otherwise, it's just a guessing game, and you'd be spending your time with the other person possibly arguing about what it is that you are trying to get across.

倭 = ancient Chinese way of calling Japanese people. Pronounced "wa" in Japanese which later became 和, and used by Japanese to mean "Japanese people".

慧 = wise; wisdom = hui in Pinyin, but in Cantonese, it's "wai", so to me, "wai" is totally different than "hui".

哾 = You cannot take all words with a 言 radical and replace it with a 口 radical and assume that they are the same and with the same meaning, example: 咏 is the simplification of 詠. 説 can also be pronounced "yue" but 哾 is in no way the same pronounciation as "説", shuo! To speak in Chinese = shuo, not yue!!!

衣 = clothes, which is the same tone as 一, but depending on how 一 is used, it might not be yi1, but might be yi4!!!

典 = classic; work of reference, which is the same pronunciation as 點, which is dian3. I would most likely read this in Cantonese before Mandarin, so therefore 典 would have a different pronunciation than 點.

仆 = simplification of 僕. But I'd read this in Cantonese first which is something like "book", before I go to Mandarin and read it as "pu".

侗 = I would pronounce this according to the phonetic, which is dong4, but the character which is the phonetic is pronounced as 同, tong2.

化 = hua in Mandarin, but it's either "wa", "fa", etc... depending on other dialectal pronunciation. So I'd read it as "fa" in Cantonese and then it would not occur to me that 仆侗化 = "book tong fa" and therefore would never = "pu tong hua"?!

Edited by trien27
grammatical correction and additional information

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renzhe

I think his point was that although it is incorrect, we could all understand it anyway. And it was interesting to see that, in general, learners of Mandarin seemed to pick it up faster, as we tend to sound characters out in our minds. When it doesn't make sense, sound it out.

I found it interesting that someone like skylee found it trickier than some of the learners who are nowehere near her level when it comes to reading. That's why it was an experiment. I do agree that writing like this as a general rule is a terrible idea.

Knid of lkie wiritng Enligsh weher olny the frist and last chacarters of a wrod are corerct.

Only in this case, it's basically reversed.

Edited by renzhe

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skylee
I think his point was that although it is incorrect, we could all understand it anyway.

Not everyone. Not me.

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Hofmann

Not me either.

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renzhe

OK, not everybody.

If I'm not mistaken, you are both native Cantonese speakers, so you will both either read without voicing the characters in your head (like skylee said), or maybe voice them in Cantonese. It seems like people learning Mandaring picked up on this relatively quickly.

I wonder how native speakers of Mandarin did with this?

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HashiriKata
I wonder how native speakers of Mandarin did with this?
Let's pretend I'm a Mandarin native speaker: On the first read I probably wouldn't have any clue either, but I don't think it'd be difficult for native speakers to figure it out if they're alerted that this may be a kind of word play, just like most of us have been, on reading this thread. Ok, now let's wait for the real, genuine native speakers to have their say :)

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Hofmann

Because most things written in Chinese on this site are in Vernacular Chinese, I usually read while thinking in Mandarin, but not very attentively. I focus on the meaning first (as the purpose of reading is usually to get meaning) and so when reading that, I thought it might have something to do with the intelligence of Japanese people or becoming stupid or something, although I was aware that the writer probably meant it to be pronounced "wo1 hui4...." Because the pronunciation usually doesn't matter, and also because some of the characters have different tones, and different tones differentiate syllables just as potently as different initials or finals, it didn't look or sound anything like 我會說一點普通話 at first. Of course, given another 10 seconds or so, I could have figured it out, but I read Don Horhe's post by then.

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