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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
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23 votes

Was cuneiform ever drawn on a surface, as opposed to carved?

I wonder though, given that it remained in used for thousands of years, was this the only way it was ever utilized? As fdb mentions, it was also sometimes carved or hammered into other materials. ...
Draconis's user avatar
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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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9 votes

Where did the Greek consonant cluster "ps" come from

It's important to note that whilst Greek does spell /ps/ with a single letter, it does not represent a single phoneme, but a sequence of two. In native vocabulary, Greek /ps/ continues the Proto-Indo-...
Tristan's user avatar
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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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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

How do Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs differ?

The biggest difference, as you mention, is that the oldest forms of hieroglyphic writing don't indicate vowels at all and the oldest forms of cuneiform writing do. (By "oldest forms" here I ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes

Was cuneiform ever drawn on a surface, as opposed to carved?

“5000 years ago the old Sumerians wrote on fistfuls of mud, and we can still read what they wrote. 2000 years ago the Chinese were writing on worm excrement (also called silk) and on bamboo shoots, ...
fdb's user avatar
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7 votes
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Did the Phoenician letter 𐤄 have any meaning on its own or in earlier writing systems?

In Phoenician writing, the letters were named after words in the language, but didn't mean those words. ʔalp (or something like it) was the Phoenician word for "ox", but the glyph ʔalp didn'...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
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Beta vs eszett character difference

There are at least 2 features of eszett that differ it from beta: the short dash-like horizontal stroke protruding to the left from the vertical spine of eszett, which is never present in beta; the ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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6 votes
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What's the name of the principle that derives the sound of a symbol from the name of the thing that that the symbol depicts?

The rebus principle is a bit more general: it's when a logogram for something is extended to represent the phonemes making up the name of that thing in other contexts. For example, the Sumerian word ...
Draconis's user avatar
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5 votes

How is it that such varied sounds (in major European Languages) came to be represented by the same letter "j"?

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 ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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4 votes

Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

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 ...
Kevin Li's user avatar
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4 votes

Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

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 ...
kash's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why the writing and reading in English are different?

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. ...
user6726's user avatar
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4 votes
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How is "duhduhb" written properly in Amharic?

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, ...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes

Replacing Chinese characters with pinyin forever as Vietnamese did

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 ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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4 votes

What language is this character from?

This is the syllable "Om" (ॐ) written in Ranjana script from Nepal Images of different variations can be searched on Google
user17915's user avatar
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4 votes
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How do I draw the Vietnamese ơ and ư characters?

I'm not a language professional, but as a Vietnamese who was born and raised in Vietnam, I was taught to write the vowel letters (u, o, a, e, i, and sometimes, y) first and then following diacritics ...
Nick Vu's user avatar
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3 votes

What's the significance of correct grammar (as long as the information gets across)?

There are two senses of grammar. The popular sense is the prescriptive sense, which you may learn a bit about in school when they tell you that you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition, or you ...
user6726's user avatar
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3 votes

Zellig Harris and the alphabet

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 ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
3 votes

Comparative Methodology

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
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3 votes

Language with the highest ratio of diacritics to letters in typical text

Ozumacín Chinantec has ten vowels (a, ä, e, ë, i, ɨ, o, ø, u, ʉ), which may be nasalized (indicated by an underscore), and nine tones (indicated by ˈ, ˊ, ˉ, ꜗ, ꜘ, ꜙ, ꜚ, ˜, ˋ after the syllable). This ...
Uwe's user avatar
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2 votes
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Comparative Methodology

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
2 votes

How do Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs differ?

I don't think much is known about the early stages of Egyptian writing. We get either a few objects with Hieroglyphic labels in the first few centuries or full blown passages in the pyramid texts a ...
Vegawatcher's user avatar
2 votes

Could the at symbol '@' be considered a vocative marker?

Maybe, maybe not, you'll have to do the research on usage. You could consider the exclamation mark to be a vocative marker, in an extended sense of "vocative" (usually a marking of nouns). ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes
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Is there a list of endangered writing systems?

Something approximating such a list is this map. It includes traditional writing as well as modern inventions that don't have a long historical tradition. The Klingon alphabet (and various conlang ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

Why does text in Cyrillic or Japanese contain Latin characters for technical/scientific terms?

The things you give as examples are substantially different. I do not know about Bulgarian, but in Russian the measurement units would be denoted in Cyrillic. On the other hand, the dimensions and ...
Anixx's user avatar
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1 vote

What's the name of the principle that derives the sound of a symbol from the name of the thing that that the symbol depicts?

That's called acrophony or acrophonic principle.
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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1 vote

Zellig Harris and the alphabet

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: ...
fdb's user avatar
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