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On 29/07/2017 21:57, BPJ wrote:
> Den 2017-07-29 kl. 16:38, skrev Raymond Brown:
>>
>> I can't pin down a date for General Chinese but, like BPJ, I get the 
>> impression it was quite
>> a while later.  It does seem a better system in many respects. If one 
>> is going to develop a
>> Romanization that goes a long way to distinguishing homophones, one 
>> really should look at
>> General Chinese if only to avoid re-inventing the wheel.
>
> It's probably hard to improve on by anyone who isn't equal or superior 
> to YRC in knowledge of the historical phonology of the various 
> 'dialects'. 

:-)

Very true.

> I do think that he was too anxious about
> "the principle of using short transcriptions for common sounds".
> The spellings he chose for the dental sibilant series are rather 
> misleading for foreign learners; _tz, ts, dz, s, z_ would IMHO be 
> preferable: _z_ doesn't look like an affricate 

It does if you're familiar with German and/or Italian.   ;)

As a one-time classist, the tenuis, aspirate, voiced division of stops 
and affricates recalls Ancient Greek;
but while I would not go so far as to suggest using the Greek alphabet 
(especially as its modern use is
different in many respects from its use in classical Attic), I would 
feel more 'at home' with the two millennia
old traditional Roman way of transcribing them, i.e. Labial _p, ph, b_ , 
dental _t, th, d_ rather than his
(strange to me) _b, p, bh_ and _d, t, dh_.   I can, however, understand 
from a Chinese perspective, why he
wanted single symbols for the aspirates and, if digraphs had to be used, 
using them for the voiced series, -
however, using _h_ to show voicing does seem odd.

The use of _c_ = /k/ is questionable.

> beside _ts, dz_ and _sz_ suggests a retroflex to those who know Polish 
> and a voiceless sibilant to those who know Hungarian. Also I think 
> _dhr_ would look better than _jr_, but that is a minor quibble on the 
> part of a one-time Sanskritist.

But, as you observe, these are quibbles on what is a remarkable piece of 
work.

Ray