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27.12.2014, 19:08, Scott Raney wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 10:12 PM, Kjell Rehnström <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Wouldn't it? If most Cantonese speakers have learnt to speak Mandarin using
>> Pin Yin this means that many litterate Chinese will know the way to write
>> Chinese using Latin letters.
> Careful here: As I pointed out previously the Chinese have already
> done these experiments and found that *it's not possible* to replace
> Chinese characters with a phonetic system.  There are just too many
> homophones in that language for this proposal to work.

I can't believe it. What you are saying in effect means that for example 
a perfectly normal newspaper article in Mandarin becomes 
incomprehensible when it is read out loud. At most there could be some 
ambivalent words every now and then but that's not a show stopper.

You can try it for yourself and read some text in Pinyin at 
http://pinyin.info/news/2008/online-texts-in-hanyu-pinyin/
Just keep in mind that the Chinese are not used to reading entire texts 
in Pinyin. So if you show a text for example to your wife, her first 
intuitive reaction will possibly be to give up without really trying.

(Your claim applies to written classical Chinese, but not written 
vernacular Chinese, see 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Written_vernacular_Chinese)

--Risto