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MadamKatherineV

No vocal Chinese contact, and bad memory.

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Shi Tong
I'm sorry but this is just nonsense. Questions of orthography are not relevant to whether a given combination of characters is a word or not. From a linguistic p.o.v., Beijing and dianshi are words, as they fulfill several tests for wordhood...

This is what I was taught when taking my Chinese lessons in Taiwan.

Maybe you've learned differently from me, and that's fine.

I was taught that there are Zi and Ci, Zi is a single character, and Ci is a phrase or word made from more than one Zi.

I think the English translation of Ci is probably "word", which is why you would call it a word.

I always prefer to think of them as seperated words which make up short phrases which change the meaning- like Dian Shi- Electric vision- means TV, one word.

TBH, Tele Vision could also be contrued as one word deriving from two, just like tele phone.

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chrix

Your teachers taught you wrong. Unfortunately, cí and zì are often confused, but it's also not true that zì make up a word. Zì are just characters, and orthography should play no role in linguistic analysis. The linguistic term for this would be císù 詞素, called "morpheme" in English. Morphemes make up words.

You can't call dianshi a phrase because it fails the simplest syntactic tests for phrasehood, same goes for "television" and "telephone" in English.

NOTE: you can follow any system you like, I'm just writing this so that other people do not get misled into thinking that your system is an academically accepted alternative.

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Shi Tong

Helloo :D

I guess it's because that's the way it's arranged in my head, and I do think that Chinese characters which make up "words" are quite different from English or other European language rules because they're made up of Zi.

I suppose Chinese is extremely logical, which is pretty useful, and that's the way I think about it to make sense to me! :)

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renzhe

Well, there's Zi and Ci, Zi is a single character and Ci are characters which are put together to make another meaning word, as you well know- so, Bei (north), and Jing (capital), are two seperate words, but everyone knows that Beijing is a city, the capital of China.

It's presented in the Chinese language as two seperate words, they're not drawn together as a single word with a joined up bit, so, I personally know it's a Ci, but I also know it's two seperated Zi to mean one thing.

A better example is probably something like Dian Shi, where "electric vision" doesn't necessarily mean that you would assume this means TV. However, they are still written as two seperate words.

Like Chrix said, this is not correct.

北 and 京 can stand on their own as words, but when used together here, they are one word, 北京, romanised as Beijing.

Same with 电 and 视. When used together, they are a word, 电视, romanised as dianshi.

Same with television. Tele and vision are two words, but they form one word here. Frei and Burg are two German words, but the city of Freiburg is one word.

No, they dont "not want" to learn Zhuyin, they just dont know about it because it's the Taiwanese system, which is drowned by pinyin.

Zhuyin is not a Taiwanese system.

It's used in Taiwan today, but it was also used on the Mainland. I don't think that the fact that it is used in Taiwan today plays any role for language learners. What plays a role is that it is not widely used for anything in everyday life, even in Taiwan. So there's little incentive to learn it.

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jbradfor
I guess it's because that's the way it's arranged in my head, and I do think that Chinese characters which make up "words" are quite different from English or other European language rules because they're made up of Zi.

The are different. But you're being waaaaaay too rigid to say that because they are different, therefore they are not words.

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Shi Tong

I said:

Ci are characters which are put together to make another meaning word

Am I incorrect in thinking that you add two or more Zi together to make a longer word made up of single characters?

I'm just arguing a little over the definition of "word", and I think the answer is in the Chinese language- they call them Zi and Ci- Ci are single characters (zi) which are put together to make another word.

Zhuyin is not a Taiwanese system.

You know what I mean. It wasn't invented in Taiwan, but it's now used exclusively (almost), in Taiwan.

I don't think that the fact that it is used in Taiwan today plays any role for language learners.

If I told you there was a really good new method of teaching children in England how to read English, and that was through a system of phonics, would you say "I dont think it plays any role for language learners" or would you be interested?

What plays a role is that it is not widely used for anything in everyday life, even in Taiwan.

Neither does phonics, but it plays a role in making language learning easier for children.

So there's little incentive to learn it.

You only create incentive by backing a system.

The are different. But you're being waaaaaay too rigid to say that because they are different, therefore they are not words.

I just dont like the idea of them being words on their own, I like to think of them as being two seperate words to create a new word with a (potentially) different meaning. It helps me to understand the origin of the "word" or "phrase" or whatever you want to call it by it's seperated Zi.

What's wrong with that? Should I get my head examined?

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chrix

Look, whatever helps you learn Chinese is fine, nothing wrong with that. But don't claim that this has any kind of meaning in terms of linguistic analysis. These two are different things.

Am I incorrect in thinking that you add two or more Zi together to make a longer word made up of single characters?

I'm just arguing a little over the definition of "word", and I think the answer is in the Chinese language- they call them Zi and Ci- Ci are single characters (zi) which are put together to make another word.

This is just an age-old canard: zì relate to the writing-system, and cí to the vocabulary. These two are different things, you shouldn't mix them up. You should read John DeFrancis' book, "Chinese language: fact and fantasy".

Of course you can break down cí further, but not into zì, but into císù (aka morphemes). Your position that cí consists of zì and hence Chinese is something special is just a continuation of a long history of misunderstandings of the Chinese language by Westerners (and you're in good company, as luminaries such as Leibniz did it too).

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