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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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280 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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Whispering in languages heavily dependent on pitch or phonation distinctions

When whispering in English all (segmental) phonological distinctions can – as far as I am aware – still be made, which may be due to redundancy (or simply because voicing is optional). I even ...
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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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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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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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Are any of the Old Chinese reconstructions for「能」plausible descendants of Proto-Sino-Tibetan /*dɣwjəm/?

(Apologies if this is off-topic.) The Chinese character「能」was originally a picture of a kind of bear. The character was once used to represent a word meaning bear, but this word doesn't appear to ...
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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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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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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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Did the removal of Chinese characters have an impact on Korean and Vietnamese?

Korean and Vietnamese used to have Chinese characters but no longer do; there has been talk (e.g. here) of doing the same in Japanese. Has there been an impact on the language? for instance changed ...
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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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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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175 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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700 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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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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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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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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Did the Portuguese influence how days of the week are named in Vietnamese and Chinese?

The Portuguese were some of the first colonizers / missionaries in the Far East. In the case of Vietnam, they created the first phonetic transcription of the language. Interestingly, nowadays the ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Rule-based or Statistics-based approach for generating plain language grammar rules from a text

Disclaimer: I am a software developer, not a computational linguist and I am not super familiar (though I am mildly familiar) with the field. Happy to learn and be corrected though! My use-case: I ...
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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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What language/script did Japan during the Yamato period and earlier have?

The Yamato period (300 - 710) had an organized ruler, civilozation, etc. However, only in Nara period (710 - 794), which existed along with the Tang dynasty of China, a Japanese script and language ...
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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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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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Chinese writing system as a universal writing system

As an extension to my question about the "phonetic languages" I'd like to open a topic about the writing systems. As far as I understand the Chinese writing system has literally no connection at all ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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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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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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1answer
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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'...