A Sinitic language mostly spoken in China consisting of many dialects, the most prominent of which, and the standard form, is Mandarin

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What are examples of Haudricourt's tonogenesis in Chinese?

As far as I know, tonogenesis occurs when consonants merge. The merging of initial consonants results in register tones and the merging of final consonants results in contour tones. What are concrete ...
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91 views

Pronunciation in languages from East Asia of words that are Japanese loanwords in English

In English, most loanwords from Japanese are pronounced similarly to the Japanese word. It isn't an exact match, for example with "karaoke" the pronunciation of the second "a" differs between English ...
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148 views

Are there any words, morphemes, or particles in any Chinese / Sinitic languages or dialects which don't have a set Hanzi character?

I am pretty sure that some of the spoken varieties of modern Sinitic languages include words, morphemes, and/or particles which don't have a set written form. Now I'm aware that some words or ...
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350 views

Why are there inflections?

I'm from a Chinese background. I wonder why there are inflections in many languages, as compared with no inflections in Chinese. I personally suppose that a language should originate simple and easy ...
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Differences between Hong Kong Mandarin and southern Mandarin generally?

With Mandarin making more and more in-roads into Cantonese speaking Hong Kong, I'm wondering what characteristics set it apart from Standard Mandarin or other regional Mandarin dialects and/or accents ...
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Besides lexicon and phonology, what are the biggest differences in Mandarin that are hard for Westerners to learn?

I'm dabbling in Chinese lately and of course most of the vocabulary is new and the phonology is difficult, including tones, tone sandhi, unstressed syllables, and even some aspects of the vowels and ...
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Mandarin Chinese syllable and tone frequency (not character frequency)

There's plenty of good resources on Chinese character frequency available. But I'm wondering about syllable frequency independent of characters, and also tone frequency both separate and in ...
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280 views

Can the Chinese script be used to record non-Chinese languages?

I know of at least 3 countries in the Sinosphere that have historically used the Chinese script (or scripts derived from it) - Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. So how did it work? Did they use it to read ...
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242 views

Is Mongolian “шинэ” / “ᠰᠢᠨ᠎ᠠ”, meaning “new”, a borrowing of Chinese “新”?

I've noticed that the Mongolian word for "new" is "шинэ" (or in traditional script, "ᠰᠢᠨ᠎ᠠ"). Since final vowels are not pronouned it's spoken as "shin". The Han character for "new", "新" is also ...
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How did a logographic orthography like Chinese organize its word-stock before any type of phonetic notation?

Let's say you were to to pick up a dictionary and look up a word in Chinese before the advent of any type of phonetic notation system such as Pinyin or Bopomofo. How would words in that dictionary be ...
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101 views

Could certain adjectives or adverbs be analysed to function as a type of copula in Mandarin Chinese?

Chinese (I've only had experience with Mandarin so far) has at least one or two equivalents to English to be, such as "在" (zài) and "是" (shì). Now I know that Chinese adjectives are actually verbs so ...
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317 views

Does Mandarin Chinese have phonetically voiced plosives, fricatives, or affricates (besides “r” = [ʐ] / [ɻ])?

The various Wikipedia articles covering Standard Chinese all seem to agree that Mandarin does not have voiced plosives, fricatives, or affricates except for [ʐ] / [ɻ], written in Pinyin as "r". But ...
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165 views

What feature(s) of Chinese language lead(s) to the city written in pinyin as “Kunming” to sound more like “kuiming / kweeming / kwəming”?

I'm currently hitchhiking through Yunnan, China and I've noticed that the city Kunming usually sounds more like "Kuiming" or "Kweeming" or "kwəming". Even Google Translate produces the last when you ...
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Do we know of any influences on Tibetan from Chinese (other than lexical borrowing)?

With China asserting its influence on Tibet, including the standard Chinese language, what changes if any have taken place in the Tibetan language due to influence from the Chinese language? ...
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272 views

What is the etymological relationship between French “feu”, Lao “ເຝີ” (feu), and Vietnamese “phở”?

In both Lao cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine there exists a noodle dish with a similar name. Lao ເຝີ (feu) and Vietnamese phở. Each Wikipedia article discusses the possibility of the dish/word being ...
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Difficulty in learning names of people in second language

The area I live in has a very large population of Chinese people. I also speak fluent Chinese as a second language (10+ years learning and also speak at home). For various reasons I regularly meet new ...
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273 views

Could the Mandarin word “要” (yāo) and the Thai word “เอา” (ao), both meaning “to want” be related?

After a couple of weeks in Thailand and learning how to say "I don't want it" I've just realized the word for "want" is very similar to the word for "want" in Mandarin Chinese. I know the coincidence ...
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On the idea that Classical Chinese may *not* be direct ancestor of modern Chinese languages

It's known that Literary Chinese (or Classical; wényán ), the language of historical Chinese texts, differs completely from modern Mandarin as well as from other spoken Chinese languages, not only in ...
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105 views

Where can I find references for how to build interlinear gloss for Chinese?

I find building interlinear gloss for Chinese to be difficult without any sort of reference material for what to call different grammatical particles etc. Is there such a reference available online?
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Do languages with high use of grammatical aspect generally lack grammatical tense?

From my understanding of Chinese, the language lacks any sort of grammatical tense but is instead very aspect driven when describing actions. Is this a reoccurring pattern among languages with a high ...
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If two syllables in Mandarin have the same vowels but different tones, can the syllables be said to rhyme?

If two syllables in Mandarin have the same vowels but different tones, can the syllables be said to rhyme according to native speakers? I was tempted to ask this question about all tone languages, ...
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403 views

Mandarine Phonemes: Which ones are not shared by English AND the most likely to be used?

There are 214 (by one count) Mandarin phonemes. How can I learn Which of those are not shared by English? Which of the remaining number are in the most common use (assuming they follow the Pareto ...
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561 views

How did Chinese recursion evolve?

The modern Chinese linguistic recursion system is essentially the same as English. If you have a highly embedded sentence, you can translate it word for word, the embedding is very much the same. In ...
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Does Chinese have proper nouns and are they distinguished morphosyntactically or only lexically and or semantically?

In an earlier question I wanted to learn about the nature of proper nouns in a language-neutral way, but the comments and answers to that question so far state that this is not possible, that only ...
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Are there some analyses or linguists with the view that Chinese does not have lexical word class?

I'm not a linguist but a language enthusiast and I read lots of stuff about all languages mostly on the internet in blogs but also in accessible books and sometimes attempt to read some things not ...
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616 views

What are the most commonly used Chinese syllables?

There are about 1200 or so unique (includes all tones) Mandarin Chinese syllables, according to some source I read a while back based off the Unihan database. For my applications I'm limited to using ...