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shibo77

Chinese in purely phonetic script

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Dennis

The Daodejing is not a Shang dynasty composition but a Zhou dynasty composition, but still you are using words before 1922 when Putonghua became the standard language of China

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atitarev

An interesting article on how a Chinese (related to Mandarin) dialect - Dungan (东干语) was saved thanks to writing it phonetically - Cyrillic + 5 extra characters. No tone marks are used. I don't mean to spark a new discussion but you'll find this interesting. The article is long. It addresses all issues - what's possible and what's not - especially the homophone problems. The Dungan language has borrowings from multiple languages but the core is Chinese Mandarin. They don't use tone marks in Dungan, which I consider a disadvantage but they obviously manage without them.

Implications of the Soviet Dungan Script for Chinese Language Reform:

http://www.pinyin.info/readings/texts/dungan.html

Dungan language in Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungan_language

Another link on Dungan:

http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=dng

Not sure if these links were used in this forum but it seems appropriate in this thread, anyway.

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ala

Planning on opening a romanized Shanghainese Wikipedia (Vicipaedi) sometime next year. No tonal marks will be used (this is not a major problem for Shanghainese as there are only 2 tonal contrast, similar to situation in Japanese).

Here's the logo:

vicipaedi2.gif

The Mandarin Wikipedia is called 维基百科, 维基 in Shanghainese is pronounced Vici (ci is similar to Japanese chi).

The problems occur when you just want to write one word. e.g. If I wrote 猪 everyone would think pig. If I wrote zhu1, no one would know what I meant. But then again if I just said zhu1 no one would be sure what I meant either.

pig in Shanghainese is 猪猡 tsulou; absolutely no ambiguity.

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ala
Quest, this illustrates another issue. As many Chinese do not differentiate between zh/z and ng/n, it would be a problem to introduce pinyin. Misspellings would be very frequent indeed.

How ironic is this coming from an English speaker..... Do English speakers still differentiate the pronunciations of "meet" and "meat" in the US?

Pinyin may seem difficult ("difficult to skim") because we are not trained to read Pinyin as a standalone script (except maybe for one semester during our first grade). It's difficult to compare your ease in reading characters with reading Pinyin simply because the amount of effort spent on the two is soooooo off-balanced.

Lots of Chinese people have forgotten how much time they had spent writing and re-writing each damn character in rows of a 1cm-squared boxes when they were in grade school. :wall All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

In other words, Chinese students get a good education at school. That is what school is for. In the past 1% were literate. Now hundreds of millions can express themselves in chengyu etc. Brilliant. It is natural that teachers encourage an educated and elegant writing style. They are doing their job!

Common Chengyu phrases are often used colloquially too, it's not that special, hardly brilliant.

Chinese literacy rate is around 85%, and the literacy bar is set very low (just a couple thousand of characters, without many complex/abstract words "ci"). This means that hundreds of millions of people do not have functional literacy in China. They can barely get by with the 3000 characters, their vocabulary size is limited to daily circumstances.

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ala
To me, kanji is always better, then hiragana, then romaji.

I think romaji is a lot easier to read than 100% hiragana because there is word spacing and proper noun capitalization. Word spacing is probably the greatest written invention after the alphabet.

If Japanese romaji/romazi also used pitch accent accent marks and also the Kunrei romanization system (as in some Kodansha dictionary entries, for example: hási = chopsticks; hasi = bridge), then romazi would be FAR superior to the kana system.

For example, Kunrei system can do this:

verb stem = mat (to wait)

mat-u まつ

mat-imasu まちます

mat-i まち 

mat-eru まてる 

mat-anai またない

etc.

This is far more systematic and useful than the syllabic nature of kana.

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nipponman
I think romaji is a lot easier to read than 100% hiragana because there is word spacing and proper noun capitalization. Word spacing is probably the greatest written invention after the alphabet.

If it is 100% hiragana, then the words will already be spaced. Otherwise, there is no way to read it. Justlikeifyouhadanallromajisystemandyoutookoutthespacesitwouldbehardtoread. Also, do you find proper nouns difficult to distinguish? I think the benefit of these things would be lost because, again, you won't have the meaning-memory connection anymore.

then romazi would be FAR superior to the kana system.

Why? Because you can see the marks? if you memorized the words you wouldn't need the marks, just like putting tone markers on every hanzi would be a bad idea.

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ala
Why? Because you can see the marks? if you memorized the words you wouldn't need the marks, just like putting tone markers on every hanzi would be a bad idea.

I don't understand what you are trying to say.

はしが あかい です。

Hási-ga akai desu. = The chopsticks are red.

Hasi-ga akai desu. = The bridge is red.

はし hási = chopsticks はし(箸)

はし hasi = bridge 橋

Tell me how hiragana-only is a better phonetic writing system than Kunrei+Accent.

High/Low pitch accent in Standard Japanese is phonological. You will be misunderstood if you pronounced the two sentences in the example above incorrectly. They aren't homophones.

Also, I don't have to read the accent out, I can just memorize the spelling with the accent.

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nipponman
High/Low pitch accent in Standard Japanese is phonological. You will be misunderstood if you pronounced the two sentences in the example above incorrectly. They aren't homophones.

In japanese this is not the case. It will sound awkward, but you should be understood, unless you randomly blurt out はしが あかい です。 Which seems unlikely. Furthermore, if you aren't concerned with it, you can eliminate the accent in Japanese and everyone will be just fine.

I don't understand what you are trying to say.

Really?-that makes two of us. I don't understand the basis for this:

This is far more systematic and useful than the syllabic nature of kana.
Pinyin may seem difficult ("difficult to skim") because we are not trained to read Pinyin as a standalone script (except maybe for one semester during our first grade). It's difficult to compare your ease in reading characters with reading Pinyin simply because the amount of effort spent on the two is soooooo off-balanced.

This is true if you are a native. I spent just about the same time reading pinyin as I did reading characters, and I still read pinyin when I don't know a character.

Tell me how hiragana-only is a better phonetic writing system than Kunrei+Accent.

sure.

1. It's not an english script

2. The only benefit to your accent thing is that you can see the accents, but these aren't necessary in Japanese.

3. No one wants a hiragana only system, that's why we have kanji.

Its amazing how people think that just because english is the most popular language in the world (even though not the most spoken language) everything we use is better. Phonetic alphabets such as english solve the same problem differently than hiragana and kanji do, that's why they exist. Believe me, they tried a hiragana only system and it didn't work. What makes you think that a system such as "kunrei+accent" will fare any better?

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ala

I think before WWII, Kunrei-only writings were often published. WWII militarism and nationalism later killed this development.

Really?-that makes two of us. I don't understand the basis for this:

ala: "This is far more systematic and useful than the syllabic nature of kana."

This is obvious' date=' it is why Japanese linguists to this day still use Kunrei the most often.

verb stem = [b']mat-[/b] (to wait)

matu まつ

matimasu まちます

mati まち 

materu まてる 

matanai またない

matô まとう

The point of this was to show that kana is a syllabary, not an alphabet. An alphabetic system like Kunrei is able to reveal UNDERLYING linguistic and grammatical functions WITHIN and BEYOND a syllable; hence it is more powerful than kana (the kana must expand the entire syllable).

Since you've taken Japanese, you are probably familiar with systematic grammatical patterns like: 連体形 (u), 連用形 (i), 未然形 (a), 仮定形 (e), 命令形 (e). From the Kunrei, we can see that the verbal stem for "to wait" in the Japanese example above is "mat-", not "ma" as the kana would suggest.

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nipponman
This is obvious, it is why Japanese linguists to this day still use Kunrei the most often.

verb stem = mat- (to wait)

matu まつ

matimasu まちます

mati まち 

materu まてる 

matanai またない

matô まとう

The point of this was to show that kana is a syllabary, not an alphabet. An alphabetic system like Kunrei is able to reveal UNDERLYING linguistic and grammatical functions WITHIN and BEYOND a syllable; hence it is more powerful than kana (the kana must expand the entire syllable).

Since you've taken Japanese, you are probably familiar with systematic grammatical patterns like: 連体形 (u), 連用形 (i), 未然形 (a), 仮定形 (e), 命令形 (e). From the Kunrei, we can see that the verbal stem for "to wait" in the Japanese example above is "mat-", not "ma" as the kana would suggest.

Ok, I see your point. kunrei accent is better for showing the underlying grammatical functions of words etc. However, can we agree that these grammatical underpinnings are rarely necessary (except, maybe, for beginners) and therefore the benefit afforded by this system is minimal?

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