--- Nik Taylor <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> It's not ideographic at all!  It's logographic.
> Each character
> represents a WORD in Chinese.  Just because some
> characters had abstract
> origins, doesn't mean that the character is an
> abstract "idea".

This is not saying anything.
Concepts and words are interchangeable when we talk in
terms of a language. Language = system of symbols,
representing a list of concepts for assembly.

> Ancient Egyptian used many polysyllables but used a
> logographic writing
> system.  And Japanese kun-yomi are mostly 2 to 4
> syllables.  Writing
> systems have little or no effect on the basic
> structure of a language.
> I can't see how using a logographic system would
> make a language more
> monosyllabic.

I disagree. I think that over time, the use of single
discrete characters, arranged in an order dictated by
the language typology at the time, fed back upon the
language a discreteness by which the discrete
character had strong influence over word and concept
granularity. In fact, I think that the current
existing distortions evident in Chinese today give
some weight to this idea, having become localized in
accordance with the tendencies of the spoken language.

> I think you're using "word" in a rather non-standard
> usage.  From what I
> understand, most independent words in modern Chinese
> languages use 2
> syllables, 2 morphemes which were historically
> independent words.
> However, to say that, for example, Meiguo is two
> words is like saying
> "earthworm" or "icicle" is two words.
> (And isn't the character for Mei "rice"?)

You seem to be missing the obvious -- earthworm˛ż,
earth═┴ and worm═H *are* each words on their own. A
better question how earth═┴ and The EarthÁě㲠and
worldŻš are all used differently.  But your argument
is semantics, if you argue over the meaning of the
word "word."  I understand the term to be flexible -
word is a finite concept, symbolized by a sound, which
is similarly written by the rules of some system. But
where one word ends and one begins, always rests upon
the concept of what is necessary or efficient in terms
of crafting discrete symbols. So, while we may say
"the dog does..." another language would be perfectly
fine with "dog does..." Same concept, different number
of words. Maybe the confusion is with "monosyllabism"
versus "word/concept granularity."


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