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Jan Finster

Who can understand this without reading the text

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Jan Finster
5 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

 

What does it have to do with pinyin? I did not ask if you guys understood it based on pinyin but by listening.

Speech came way before words in humanity. So there must have been thousand of years people spoke and understood without characters. So, they should have understood the audio in the video without corresponding characters (!?) 

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imron

Except people did not speak like this!
 

The poem is a contrived example, much like Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo 

 

2 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

What does it have to do with pinyin?

Because for all intents and purposes, reading pinyin gives you the same level of information as hearing the same thing spoken out loud. 

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Jim

As Imron says, it was an exclusively written language so no surprise you can't understand it by sound alone. Think bits of some ancient texts like the Huainanzi record snippets closer to reported speech but such examples are rare.

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Demonic_Duck
14 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

What does it have to do with pinyin? I did not ask if you guys understood it based on pinyin but by listening.

 

Because Pinyin is a near-lossless phonetic system for transcribing the sounds of Mandarin Chinese. The only phonetic information it fails to capture are some non-phonemic stuff, non-naturalized loanwords, and intonation. Intonation is the only relevant one in the context of this poem, and the speaker in the video doesn't seem to be using very natural intonation in any case, so it isn't much help.

 

In other words, if Pinyin can't render a piece of Chinese text intelligible, neither can reading it aloud in Mandarin Chinese. Spoken Cantonese, Min Nan, reconstructed Middle Chinese pronunciation, and so on might do a better job, depending on the specifics of the dialect and the text.

 

Not sure if you read the article linked to in my post, but here's the relevant part:

The point is that, if [《施氏食狮史》] were written in Hanyu Pinyin, everything would be shi … Even if it were written in characters, people still would not be able to understand it when it is read aloud.

 

5 hours ago, Jim said:

As Imron says, it was an exclusively written language so no surprise you can't understand it by sound alone. Think bits of some ancient texts like the Huainanzi record snippets closer to reported speech but such examples are rare.

 

I think this is part of the story. It seems there's some disagreement as to the extent that classical Chinese evolved from a specific form of the spoken language, which I couldn't comment on. But there's also the fact that Mandarin pronunciation is very different from that of Middle Chinese. Finally, Yuan Ren Chao wrote this in 民国 times, so it's kinda like a modern Italian person writing a contrived text in Latin.

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大块头

Slightly off topic, but reciting this poem is a great idea if the company you're working for is having a CNY talent show and you're not the type to take yourself too seriously. I had the tones down pat and projected the poem up on a screen behind me, but even then people had a hard time following it. The audience thought it was funny, especially when the person working the computer wasn't sure when to change the slides.

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Lu
On 9/19/2020 at 5:22 PM, Jan Finster said:

Is there any non-native speaker on this forum, who can understand it just from listening to it???

That is not the point of the Shi shi shi poem. It was never intended to be read aloud and understood, by neither native nor non-native speakers.

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