Mark writes:

>On Thu, Sep 02, 2004 at 03:24:10PM -0400, Douglas Koller, Latin &
>French wrote:
>>  Your first word is a typo. It's "jian," not "jin." My SAMPA sucks, so
>>  good luck, but sump'n like:
>>  /dC&
>INteresting.  I'd expect any affricate with [C] to be [cC] rather
>than [dC]; I'd
>also expect |j| to represent a voiced sound ([J\j\], maybe).  And I find
>it odd that |an| is /&~/ but |en| is /Vn/ rather than /V~/.

Well, you were warned that my SAMPA sucks.

Pinyin "x" is /C/.
"q" is /tC/    and
"j" is the unaspirated equivalent of "q"
Someone better versed in SAMPA can sort that out for me.

As for Chinese final "n", I did you a diservice. It could indeed be
/V~/. The range here is pretty broad, from /n/ to a kind of nasalized
thang and everything in between (Shanghainese collapses this with
/N/). SAMPA may have a more specific symbol for this, but it is not
nasalization in the French or Taiwanese sense, but the tongue doesn't
hit the roof of your mouth to give you a full-blown /n/. Beyond that,
while I can produce the sound perfectly well, I'm at a loss as to how
to describe it effectively.

Mea maxima culpa.

>  > (mainland Mandarin probably reduces
>>  this to the "neutral" tone (I've been away a while))
>?  What's the "neutral" tone?

A syllable that is not pronounced with one of the four full-fledged
tones is in the "neutral tone" (sometimes referred to as the "fifth
tone"). It is not pronounced in a set tonal place because it is
influenced by the syllable preceding it, and (I hope I can safely
say) is for unstressed syllables. That mostly means sentence
particles like "ma", "ba", and "ne", and the modifying particle "de".
But polysyllabic words like "gaoxing", "xiexie", and "renshi" can
"neutralize" the second syllable. This phenomenon seems to me more
widespread in the mainland than on Taiwan, but again, we've been away
a while.