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25 votes
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Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

Yes, it is possible to read texts that are written only in pinyin. This is pretty trivial in one sense: pinyin spelling indicates all of the segmental phonemic distinctions of standard Putonghua ...
brass tacks's user avatar
21 votes

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

It must be remembered that in the Japanese language system, the lexeme's sound and the lexeme's spelling are much less correlated with each other than even in Chinese; the phenomenon of 訓読み kun'yomi ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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16 votes

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

Yes, all of these cultures expect and use sorting pretty much just like alphabet-using cultures do. Japanese has a set of some 46 phonetic characters called kana. They're arranged by phonetics in a ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

Besides prestige reasons, there is also the fact that the Old Japanese numeral systems can be seen as inconvenient, especially for higher numbers. Disadvantages compared to the Chinese system are: ...
Dodezv's user avatar
  • 401
12 votes

Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

It is possible only if you write in an informal way – the way you would say things out loud. The difference between formal and informal writing is quite large in Chinese, and the informal style may ...
michau's user avatar
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12 votes

Question about Chinese stress

(As Tristan notes in their comment, ‘Chinese’ is a great many things. This answer deals specifically with Mandarin, primarily as it’s spoken in the central-northern parts of Mainland China. Other ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
12 votes

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

The reason is similar to the reason why English has borrowed (French) words for beef, pork, mutton even though there are Germanic words for cows, swine and sheep. There is a tendency to borrow words ...
user6726's user avatar
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11 votes
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Old Chinese romanization using a letter that looks like a "3"

This is Legge Romanisation, as taken from the 1879 volume of Sacred Books of the East. It is a transcription of the "Mandarin" speech of 19th-century Beijing, which is slightly different to both later ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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11 votes
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Whispering in languages heavily dependent on pitch or phonation distinctions

Whispering excludes voicing from the linguistic inventory. Quite naturally, the decrease of the ability to comprehend a whispered speech depends on the language's original set of phonetic tools. Marc ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

If there is a pattern to Chinese characters

The Chinese characters have not only a pattern, but many, many patterns. But First to clear up some confusion. Radicals are not usually composed of eachother, but are unanalysable. By analogy, a ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
9 votes

Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

You have had some good answers to your question, but I would like to expand on what you say about Vietnamese writing traditions. The Chinese-based chữ nôm had a very marginal existence in Vietnam, ...
fdb's user avatar
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9 votes

Did the removal of Chinese characters have an impact on Korean and Vietnamese?

Native Korean speaker here. changed pronunciations so pairs of words are no longer homonyms: NO changed spellings so pairs of words are no longer homographs: NO Spelling of Sino-Korean words are ...
jick's user avatar
  • 1,111
9 votes

Similarities between Proto-Austronesian and Chinese?

First of all, Chinese is not an isolated language, but a member of the well-established Sino-Tibetan language family. Relationships beyond Sino-Tibetan aren't well established although the Tai-Kaddai ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
8 votes

Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

Beyond other answers, I will add some examples of actual use of phonetic writing systems actually used for Chinese (or any Sinitic language, what is traditionally called Chinese dialects/topolects). ...
Frédéric Grosshans's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Are there any purely monosyllabic languages in use today?

The official Chinese language isn't "supposed to" be monosyllabic, at all. That's a misconception. Chinese languages are polysyllabic and that's it, including the putonghua standard (the pīnyīn ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
8 votes
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How different are Chinese dialects?

Your question is an interesting one, in general how to compare the comparisons of languages and more specifically about the Chinese family. The usual qualitative measure of difference is mutual ...
Mitch's user avatar
  • 4,445
8 votes

If there is a pattern to Chinese characters

To understand how Chinese characters work, we need knowledge of the following concepts: Morphemes have properties of both meaning and sound Chinese morphemes are overwhelmingly composed of a single ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 459
8 votes
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Is there an aggregation of Oracle Bone Script glyphs?

The largest publication and seriously academically attempted transcription of oracle bones in modern script (using an umbrella method known by Chinese paleographers as 隸定, or clericalification), is ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 459
8 votes

Number of tones in Cantonese vs. Mandarin and final stops

We have several phenomena that contribute to tonogenesis and tone changes. The few below are by no means an exhaustive list: loss of final consonants devoicing of initial voiced consonants vowel ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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8 votes

Sociolinguistics of pre-handover Hong Kong cinema and dialogue in non-Cantonese Chinese “dialects”

Subtitles are an integral part of the film- and TV-viewing experience in the late 20th century in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China, multi-topolectal or not. They essentially became ubiquitous in ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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7 votes
Accepted

Differences between Hong Kong Mandarin and southern Mandarin generally?

Much of the following answer comes from this 1999 study, as well as Cheng (2009), and some of my own experiences. Let's first get the usual suspects that identify Cantonese-accented Mandarin as a ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,361
7 votes

I have some questions about deciphering an ancient language

Truly, you have a great ambition. Don't give up!! But you cannot learn to talk an ancient language just from the way it is written. Heck, you cannot learn how any language is spoken from the way it ...
Andrew Shanks's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

why does chinese have multi-symbol words and often seem to lack single-symbol word synonyms?

One part of the reason is that Chinese characters are not as language-independent as you think and do, in fact, represent Chinese pronunciation. That is why you have a "horse" 马 mǎ component in the ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 316
7 votes

Is the Greek ζ related to the Chinese 子?

The Chinese character 子 appears to derive from a drawing of a baby with arms spread, which has a corresponding word tsa in Sino-Tibetan, pronounced something like tsəʔ in Old Chinese. Greek zeta (Z), ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83k
7 votes

Why do Korean and Japanese share similar borrowed Chinese characters and is different from Chinese language?

TL;DR: language contact between Japanese and Korean has been particularly strong due to historical factors. There have been some papers that break down the different paths of divergence between them ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

Do Chinese minorities speak Chinese as a native language?

Note that China has fifty-something officially recognised ethnic minority groups and it's impossible to say anything about "Chinese minorities in general". Let me summarise my experiences from ...
michau's user avatar
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6 votes
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Phonemic similarities between "mother" and "father" in different language families

The basic explanation is based on a combination of infant anatomical development and parental expectation. Infants don't initially know how to control their velum, so everything is nasalized. Also, ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83k
6 votes

Are there heuristics to tell if a character is from Chinese, Kanji, or Chu Nom?

In general, you will need to look it up in a dictionary or in the Unicode standard, this is similar to the problem of guessing if a string of Latin letters represents an English or a German word. As ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
5 votes

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

It's an old question, but no one gave an answer that covers Korean. Korean is written in Hangul, which combines "initial", "middle", and (an optional) "final" letters in a single syllable block. For ...
Ignatius's user avatar
  • 357
5 votes

To what extent has Middle Chinese been reconstructed?

First off, 1000 CE would be the very early Song dynasty (the Northern Song 北宋) in China, with the Liao (遼朝) / Khitan state still holding sway in the northern regions. The capital of the Song in this ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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