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Questions tagged [chinese]

A branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family which is mostly spoken in China and consists of many spoken varieties, including the standard and most prominent variety, Mandarin.

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I have some questions about deciphering an ancient language

I’m very fascinated in learning new languages. I want to know: It is possible to decipher and learn how to talk in a ancient language? How to decipher at home any ancient language? Such as Ancient ...
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1answer
41 views

How complex contour tones get in languages

So I have seen a few tonal languages, such as Thai, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese: I'm not too familiar with which other languages have tonal features. But I'm wondering if there are any ...
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52 views

Understanding 5-tone register systems

After reading through the Tone Wikipedia page, I get the gist of it. Basically there are register tone systems (like Bantu languages) and contour tone systems (like Mandarin Chinese). In contour tone ...
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80 views

If there is a pattern to Chinese characters

Many people say that written Chinese is a difficult language to learn because the characters don't have any relation to the sound of the word, like in English and other languages, even Japanese. But I'...
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51 views

If the Romanization of Logographic (and other) Languages is Fully Accurate

Wondering if the translation of languages such as Chinese and Japanese into Romanized versions is accurate. That is, it doesn't lose information. For example, in Romanization of Chinese, they say ...
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2answers
117 views

Why do some languages distinguish between “identical” and “indistinguishable”, and others don't?

In some languages, there's a very prevalent distinction between different meanings of the English word "same" as in "These two items are the same". For example German: dasselbe / das gleiche Greek: ...
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67 views

How do we identify “words” in Chinese?

Chinese, when written in Han characters, does not have "word boundaries". Because Han script is a morphosyllabic script where under most circumstances each character correspond to a morpheme, it is ...
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1answer
219 views

How different are Chinese dialects?

How different are Chinese dialects, on average, relative to the differences between European languages? Are the dialects spoken in Western and Eastern China as different as, say, Russian and Polish, ...
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42 views

Formal semantics explanation

Having linguistics and Chinese knowledge, I need some basic notions to understand an academic article. I add an example of the kind of language used a. liang zu xuesheng 'two teams/sections of ...
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1answer
42 views

Enumerating the possible Pinyin -> Hanzi transcriptions

Pinyin Chinese text contains less information than its Hanzi equivalent, so its transcription is ambiguous: to identify the correct characters for some given Pinyin requires context. For this reason ...
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2answers
91 views

Abbreviations for pinyin and hepburn transliterations?

Are there 2 letter ISO codes for the pinyin or hepburn transliterations? If not, are there non-ISO abbreviations in common use? Thanks.
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1answer
137 views

Phonemic similarities between “mother” and “father” in different language families

The words for "mother" and "father" in at least a few language families have a phonetic similarity which I find interesting. Compare the Latin and Greek words (μήτηρ/πατήρ mater/pater) with the (...
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1answer
93 views

Is Mandarin understandable by Taiwanese in written context if simplified characters are mapped to traditional ones?

According to Wikipedia entry on Taiwanese Mandarin: The official Guoyu is almost identical to the official language of the People's Republic of China, called Pǔtōnghuà, with the exception of their ...
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160 views

Is there free and open Chinese corpus?

The corpus in NLTK sinica can be used for research. There are two shortcomings for sinica to be used in research. too small it is a traditional Chinese corpus Can someone here introduce a big and ...
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0answers
130 views

Why is spoken Chinese so fast paced?

I'm fan of watching subbed Chinese movies and series and with them sometimes happens something that very rarely happens with movies or series from other languages that's the fact that I haven't been ...
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2answers
2k views

Are there any purely monosyllabic languages in use today?

All languages in the world that I know of use words with more than one syllable. Are there any where all words have strictly one syllable? That would mean that there is just one vocal cluster per word,...
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131 views

Why are Chinese punctuation marks 。and 、so similar to its western style equivalents?

I've been trying to understand what are the rules for using Chinese punctuation symbols and I stumbled upon this article, which states that: For instance, a Song Dynasty print of Chronicles of ...
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88 views

To what extent has Middle Chinese been reconstructed?

I'm currently studying Japanese and Korean for professional reasons and have become very interested in Middle Chinese as the hearth of substantial vocabulary in many East Asian languages. Recalling ...
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1answer
141 views

Which Chinese Romanisation system is most intelligible to English speakers?

This may be a difficult question, because I've heard that pronunciation can vary greatly even within Chinese-speaking countries. I'm also not really aware of when Mandarin or Cantonese would be used; ...
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2answers
966 views

Is use of sorting expected and used in East Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean)?

For an English speaker with 26 characters, the concept of sorting is ubiquitous. If I see a list, I inherently expect it to be sorted by one of the columns, and of course clicking a column to sort is ...
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2answers
128 views

Why are some words to express country names different between Chinese and Japanese?

In some countries, their principal chinese characters are represented differently between Chinese and Japanese. For example, 意 vs 伊 (Italy) 法 vs 仏 (France) 德 vs 独 (Germany) That being said, there ...
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1answer
226 views

Old Chinese romanization using a letter that looks like a “3”

I know something about both Chinese and philology, but not much, so please explain like I'm 20. :) I'm looking at a text on Wikisource dealing with "the Shû King". It refers to "Mo-3ze" (Mo-zi) and "...
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2answers
2k views

Why does Vietnamese language seem to be so similar to Mandarin Chinese

I experienced many times how relatively easy it is to learn Chinese (its writing system excluded) for Vietnamese, comparing to Koreans or Japanese whose countries belong to the same zone of Chinese ...
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2k views

Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

I know both languages to a certain extent. By no means I am fluent; reading is still a challenge, especially in Chinese, thus I am not allowed to firmly stand by my opinion. I often ponder on the big ...
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3answers
480 views

Which of 可爱/可愛い was exported to the other between Chinese and Japanese?

In Chinese (Mandarin), there exists a word 可爱 that means "pretty" or "cute" in English. In Japanese, there is also a word 可愛い (adjective) that means the same thing in English. Given that both words ...
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1answer
904 views

Do Chinese minorities speak Chinese as a native language?

I'm thinking about learning Chinese for the future possibilities of the terrain work of linguistic anthropologist now. Don't you anyone have any views on the potential possibility of usage Chinese in ...
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1answer
61 views

Transcriptions of Mandarin Chinese into writing systems other than Latin, Arabic and Cyrillic?

I was wondering if Standard Chinese has been transliterated (either officially or unofficially) into writing systems other than the Latin (Pinyin, Wade-Giles), Arabic (Xiao'erjing) or Cyrillic (Dungan ...
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1answer
140 views

In what tonal language is tone uncontroversially suprasegmental and not segmental?

So, it recently came to my attention that Chinese tone is not necessary a suprasegmental feature like I assumed. It seems that some claim it can be analyzed as being subsegmental. If I am interested ...
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1answer
41 views

Looking for an alternative non-tonal “wholistic” original Pinyin font

I am looking for an alternative to the classical "romaji" Pinyin with diacritics, that has the following features: each symbol can be rotated about the square representing its centre, and the ...
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2answers
73 views

Diacriticless Pinyin (for Chinese or other languages)

Is there an alternative system to writing Pinyin that resembles it but uses a single middle our final letter which incorporates information about the pronunciation tone. Coming up with enough letters ...
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0answers
124 views

Phonological development of Middle Chinese 學 /hæwk/ to Mandarin xue /ɕye/

學 was /hæwk/ according to Baxter-Sagart transcription of Qieyun, and according to this wikipedia page, -æwk became /Jye/ in modern Mandarin, where J is a palatalized initial consonant. What I'm ...
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2answers
399 views

zh sound with a flat tongue?

This is from the Wikipedia article on retroflex consonant, but isn't this wrong? I assume that Mandarin zh, ch, sh, and r sound should be pronounced with your tongue curled up, rather than "flat?" ...
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1answer
121 views

what language Chinese or Japanese? [closed]

Can't describe, label on a box, don't even know which way is up. Need language of this label, so I can get it translated, and translate image/language inside box, to figure out if contents are worth ...
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65 views

Where can I find auditory records of Chinese Mandarin within 1930-1970?

I am doing research on pure Chinese and I need a auditory recording made between 1930-1970. I searched for subject of anthropology in Hong Kong local library and found nothing material in auditory ...
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1answer
86 views

Analytic grammar and characters in Chinese

Is there any relationship (either one implies the other, for example) between the usage of characters and analytic grammar. By analytic grammar I mostly refer to the lack of conjugations, and hence ...
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4answers
518 views

Weekday Abbreviations in multiple languages [closed]

I am working on designing a piece of software that must support multiple languages. There is a design scheme in English at the moment that displays weekdays using a single character (ie: "S M T W T F ...
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1answer
91 views

How do we define foot in Mandarin Chinese?

As we known, foot is a stress-related unit. But in Mandarin, the existence of stress remains controversial, so I would like to know the formation of foot in Mandarin Chinese. Thanks.
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3answers
260 views

Is there re-syllabification in Chinese?

I'm reading prosodic phonology, and wondering if there is any re-syllabification process happening in Mandarin Chinese?
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1answer
124 views

What do [ ] mean in the middle of a reconstructed pronunciation?

While looking up Old Chinese reconstructions, I often find square brackets [] in the middle of an reconstruction. For example, Baxter-Sagart system says 寺's old Chinese pronunciation is /*s-[d]əʔ-s/. ...
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2answers
160 views

Chinese 3rd tone: cross-linguistic comparison

I'm wondering about the rate of occurence of complex tone contours like the Mandarin Chinese third tone, the falling-rising tone. By "complex" I mean that its contour isn't simply a rising, falling, ...
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0answers
107 views

How can we account for head-final PPs and VPs in Classical Chinese?

According to Koopman (1983), there is an explanation for why Chinese, despite being a head-final language, has SVO and prepositional features. She suggested that Chinese assigns Case to the right but ...
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1answer
774 views

Why is the misconception that “Chinese has no grammar” so widespread?

Of course, Chinese indeed has its own grammar. But I had heard the claim many times, even from some native Chinese speakers. How did this misconception arise? Why even some native Chinese speakers ...
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2answers
108 views

Are there languages, other than Mandarin, in which negation differs depending on the time interval at which a non-event fails to occur?

Assuming that languages do not create complexities in vain, the existence in Mandarin of two different propositional negation devices - via “bù”, an adverb, and “méi” or “méiyou” (verbs) - seems to ...
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428 views

What' s the hardest language to learn? [closed]

What's the hardest language to learn???
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326 views

How does one learn the meaning of a new symbol in Chinese?

We've all been there. Say you're reading an article about something, and you come across a new word you've never seen before; how do you find out what it means or what it sounds like? In most non-...
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1answer
2k views

Why is “Shanghai” pronounced the way it is in English?

Most English-language news sources and people in America pronounce the name of the city (上海) with a long a sound as in "way" within the "shang (上)" syllable, but it's not pronounced that way in ...
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1answer
479 views

Can Chinese speaking different languages understand newspapers from different cities equally as well?

I am wondering to what extent spoken language is important to the intelligibility of written Chinese. I read the Wikipedia article on Chinese grammar in which they have words in one particular ...
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392 views

Do we know how common it is for ethnic Chinese and Tamils in Malaysia to speak each others language?

Here in Malaysia there are three main ethnicities, Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and most people speak more than one language. There are four main language groupings: Malay - national language and language ...
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123 views

What is the IPA notation for Chinese zuo4cuo4 做错?

zuo4cuo4 is the pinyin-notation for 做错 = doing wrong. To my ear zuo4 and cuo4 sound very similar. I need the IPA notation to understand the difference in articulation.
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154 views

How polysemic on average were Chinese words around the time of the creation of Chinese characters?

If you look up a Chinese character and its meaning in classical Chinese, there is a good chance you get a long list with many different semantically unrelated meanings. Take 而 for instance, that bears ...