Steve Cooney wrote:
> Yes, Han is not *purely* ideographic -
> ( glyphs avoids phonetic (mis)uses
> for characters) but to say "it's not ideographic" is
> disingenuous. It's is all at the same time - depending
> on the origin of the character - pictographic,
> logographic, and ideographic.

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".

> "Monosyllabism" seems to go hand in hand with
> characters being logographic --presumably, over time,
> the use of pictograms move a language toward
> monosyllabism.

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

> So, just because Chinese uses monosyllabic words in
> combination like "mei-guo" ("Great country"-America),
> it seems disingenuous to say that Mandarin (as a
> specific example) is not "monosyllabic".

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"?)

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