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>From: Florian Rivoal <[log in to unmask]>
>There are too mainy homophones in chinese, you never know which characher
>you are talking about. my dictionary has an average 10 characher for each
>sillable. This is average, so many ones have much more.
>
>if you consider that most electronic or informatic systems do no handle the
>diacritic notation of tones, multiply this figure by 4.
>
>If you write english in ponetics, you will have the same writing for to two
>and too. Ok, only three. but can you imagine the mess when not 3 but 40
>words have the exact same spelling?
>

If homophones are such an obstacle to writing Chinese alphabetically, then
how is spoken Chinese intelligible? (I'm NOT being sarcastic here; what you
say seems truly strange to me and I'd like to be enlightened.)

Also, there's nothing to say that an alphabetic writing system has to be
entirely phonetic (indeed, they practically never are). Different meanings
could be distinguished by silent letters, empty diacritics or variant
spellings of the same sounds; the system would hardly have to be as
byzantine as the "phonetic guides" in Hanzi writing to achieve that.

(Also, I'm told that for a non-Mandarin speaker to learn to write under the
present system involves learning Mandarin more-or-less as a foreign
language. Is this wrong?)

                                                    Andreas

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