Print

Print


On Wed, 21 Feb 2001 23:02:11 +0100, Jörg Rhiemeier
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I see quite a problem with using Chinese word roots in an IAL.
>
>The vast majority of Chinese roots is monosyllabic, extensively relying
>on tones to distinguish meaning.  But meaning-relevant tones (or
>meaning-relevant suprasegmentals in general) are something I wouldn't
>touch with a 10-feet pole when I was to design an IAL as language
>learners tend to have difficulties getting them right.

From what I've seen, Mandarin Chinese uses a lot of two-syllable words.
Sure, there are tons of words pronounced /shu/ (e.g.) in various tones, but
not very many /laoshu/. Many of the Chinese words that have been borrowed
into Japanese are bisyllabic: /qianbi/ (empitsu), /dongwu/ (doubutsu),
/dianhua/ (denwa), and /riben/ (Nihon/Nippon) for example.

Certainly there are issues with borrowing Chinese words. If you want to
borrow /huayuan/ ("garden"), for instance, you first need to figure out
what to do with the "yu" sound. The various /i/ vowel sounds are also
troublesome, as are the distinctions between retroflex and post-alveolar
sounds. But there are plenty of suitable Chinese words even when the
distinctions between tones are ignored.
--
languages of Azir------> ---<http://www.io.com/~hmiller/lang/index.html>---
hmiller (Herman Miller)   "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any
@io.com  email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body,
\ "Subject: teamouse" /  there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin