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25

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 Chinese (it was designed to) and when used with tone marks and correct word division and punctuation, it indicates some of the suprasegmental and intonational ...


13

@prash is right, that is Malayalam, and the text is upside down, it reads "mādhavi", മാധവി, which is most likely a female name.


10

This is a question that probably has a quite straightforward answer: historical development. Various European languages adopted the Latin alphabet through different routes and mapped it differently onto their phonological systems. j is a bit of a special case (similarly to 'u' and some others) since in Latin, it did not represent a separate phoneme but ...


9

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 feel very awkward in many circumstances. With Pinyin it wouldn't be possible to write everything the way it is written now. Some examples of clearly distinct ...


8

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, being used almost exclusively for poetry and for “women’s literature” (basically translations - or imitations - of Chinese novels by and for women). The main ...


7

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). These example show that it is linguistically possible to use a phonetic script to write Chinese; of course, doing so would be a major revolutionary change, ...


6

It is the sacred syllable “om” in a rather stylised Devanagari script. In plain unicode text: आँ


6

This may or may not be true, depending on what is meant by "ultimate source": are we talking about specific letter shapes, or just the abstract principle of an alphabet? If the former, no; if the latter, probably yes. Most alphabets in existence (I'm using the term in its broadest sense to include abjads and abugidas) do straightforwardly descend from the ...


4

This question is really old, but I guess I'll still answer. One main counterpoint against the commonality of polymorphemic words in, say, Old Chinese, is the fact that Old Chinese monosyllables are actually reconstructed to be quite complicated. "施氏食狮史" (shi shi shi shi shi in Modern Chinese) was pronounced something similar to [ɕia dʲi̯ěɡ dʲi̯ək ʂi̯ər ...


4

The idea of pinyin or any other phonetic script replacing Chinese character writing is already more than a hundred years old. At the beginning of 20th century, when the Qing empire was collapsing, a lot of scholars came to the conclusion that it is because of China’s backwardness. They kept comparing China to the West and realized that in terms of technology,...


4

The essential reason is that writing systems historically tend to not be modified, until there is a frenzy of orthography reform, and some languages have had more phonological change than others. English and French are noteworthy because their spelling was fixed a long time ago and there has not been a massive reform; and then there substantial phonological ...


4

The "uh" here is meant to represent the phoneme /ə/. Nobody can really agree on how to transcribe Ge'ez-script vowels, but I've most often seen it written ä, and this is what Wikipedia uses. Thus, the word is dädäb, ደደብ.


3

The journal you are looking for can be easily read online on JSTOR. Here is the link to the page of your interest: http://www.jstor.org/stable/594233?seq=22#page_scan_tab_contents However, it's really just 4 lines abstract of Harris' paper. I don't think it's more useful than Wikipedia.


3

It would be possible to use pinyin even without the tone marks to write down Chinese and it will be correctly understood. Actually, a similar thing has been done in the Dungan language for decades already, the only difference is they use not the Latin, but Cyrillic alphabet, and absolutely no tone marks although thera are tones in the language. Dungan is a ...


3

It sounds like you're looking for a statistical stylistic analysis. In linguistics, students frequently haven't learned the subtle stylistic rules that professionals have inductively formed from reading numerous articles. Our prescription for students is usually to read journal articles (in the hope that they will pick up the rules). At a simple level, you ...


3

They're regular lowercase bs, just like the ones in "Gail Kubik" and "Herb Klynn" and "John Hubley." Why would anyone think they're an uppercase form? Plenty of "Mc" names can be written with the second part lowercased - you'll find "Mcdonald" alongside "McDonald."


3

Reading widely can certain support your writing but it seems you already read quite a lot. However, from your example it seems that your reading predisposes you to more complex and formal sentence structure than is appropriate in all contexts. So including some fiction and informal correspondence in your reading may help. Listening to conversations would ...


2

Dominik Lukes' answer is quite right. I wanted to elaborate on the specific development: all of the sounds associated with the letter "j" in present-day languages are ultimately based on the front high semivowel sound that "j" is currently used for in German. (This is probably in part why the letter "j" is used in IPA for the semivowel sound). The letter "...


2

Absolutely, most of the official government documents before 1894 were written in classical chinese, whose system is not much different from that of pre-modernized china.


2

You are not looking for "comparative method" (this one belongs to historical linguistics) but for corpus linguistics. The mathematical writings of your more or less experienced students and of professionals constitute a corpus. You can annotate it with all kinds of information (e.g., human judgements of the quality of writing, stylistic errors, linguistic ...


2

Pinyin tosses out a lot of semantic information. Once Chinese characters are removed from the language, it becomes harder for Mandarin to coexist with different Chinese languages under the same umbrella. If I learned history right, the French used the Latin script to do that very thing: cut off the Vietnamese from the Chinese sphere of influence. Nowadays, ...


1

1933 Acrophony and vowellessness in the creation of the alphabet. J. Am. Orient. Soc. 53:387. This is the sum total of the notice in the JAOS. He does not seem to have published it as an article: Mr. ZELLIG S. HARRIS, of the University of Pennsylvania: Acrophony and Vowellessness in the creation of the Alphabet. Remarks by Professor Albright. The ...


1

In old manuscripts the v-shaped signs indicate that a letter is not pointed (muhmal), but in modern practice they are used merely for decoration, or rather space-filling.


1

As far as I know ,This kind of writings are not the ones used in daily language These are a kind of art that specialists draw in mosques, palaces..etc And changing the places of words is just part of making the calligraphy beautiful and artistic, It has nothing to do with semantics or syntax. Native speakers of Arabic read the phrase above normally : ما شاء ...


1

If we are speaking of current official spelling systems, I believe that Vietnamese wins the prize. Potential competitors would most likely be a language with a rich vowel system than included independent tone, phonation and nasalization contrast, which points to Ju|'hoansi and !Xóõ, which would have a higher maximum and probably a higher text frequency – if ...


1

What you or other present as evidence to support "On the idea that Classical Chinese may not be direct ancestor of modern Chinese languages" may happen in other language too, it is just the difference between literary and the vernacular (spoken). By the comparative historical method, one can construct systemic correspondence between dialects and Mandarin, ...


1

There are several facts speaking against this theory: Phonetic corresponences between Tibetan and Chinese words which are not borrowings from either of the related languages. The way the Chinese loan words are pronounced in neighbouring languages of the area which are not related to Chinese (e.g. Korean, Japanese or Vietnamese). They demonstrate regular ...


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