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Chinese Language Forums - Chinese Etymology Institute • View topic - WW(024)-- Constructing a merging system ourselves, continue

WW(024)-- Constructing a merging system ourselves, continue

WW(024)-- Constructing a merging system ourselves, continue

Postby Tienzen » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:09 am

In my last post, I outlined the objective (merging Chinese written system with the Chinese verbal system seamlessly), the initial and the boundary conditions, etc.. Now, let me rephrase them in more understandable terms.

Our objective is similar to making 60,000 distinguishable cookies which carry unique sound and meaning, by using only a set of lego pieces (220 pieces in this case) while there are only 1,000 distinguishable sound available.

I will call these lego pieces as roots, and each root has a unique shape and meaning. Thus, it is not too difficult to make 60,000 distinguishable cookies by the different combinations of those 220 roots. As every root has its own meaning, the meaning of every cookie can be read out from the meanings of its composing parts. Yet, how can we attach a sound to each cookie with these roots?

Seemingly, we can assign a sound (phonetic value) to each root, and we can sound out the sound of the cookie from its composing roots. However, there is a problem for this special case. We have only 220 roots while there are about 1,000 distinguishable sound. That is, we must assign 4 to 5 different sound to every root, and this will cause a major confusion for the sounding out process. In fact, we must make a new set of sound tags in order to achieve our objective.


Thus, our first design strategy is “not” to assign any sound to the roots. In the making cookie process, the roots will always keep silent.

Our second design strategy is to construct 1,000 small cookies as sound tag, and each of them is assigned with one unique sound. Now, we have enough sound tags to cover the entire phonetic universe according to our design specification.

Our third design strategy is to make 60,000 distinguishable cookies with those roots any which way we prefer, to our heart’s content.

Our fourth design strategy is to attach a sound tag to each of those 60,000 cookies.

Now, our design is complete, a great success.
1. We can make as many cookies as we like, not just 60,000. And, they can be all unique.
2. The meaning of each cookie can be read out from its composing roots.
3. The sound of each cookie can be read out from its sound tag.

However, there is one problem in this system, that is, many cookies share an identical sound, the homophone or the homonym. Yet, this problem can be resolved easily, and I will discuss it in the future posts.

Now, let’s review the following words again and to see whether those ancient Chinese had a similar idea the same as ours.
Case one: words in the group have the identical pronunciation.
(妻 、 悽 、 棲 、 淒 、 萋)
(志 、 誌 、 痣 ),
(貽 、 怡 、 詒 ).


Case two: words in the group have “slightly” different (still related) pronunciation.
(遛 、 廇 、 瘤 、 餾 、 飀 、 塯 、 溜 、 榴)
(妴 、 怨 、 苑 、 駌 、 鴛)
(倦 、 惓 、 埢 、 犈 、 捲 、 睠 、 綣 、 棬 、 腃 、 圈)
(嘹 、 寮 、 繚 、 潦 、 僚 、 撩 、 嫽 、 橑 、 獠 、 療 、 遼)
(灌 、 罐 、 鸛 、 觀 、 歡 、 懽 、 權 、 勸)
(儉 、 簽 、 憸 、 噞 、 獫 、 殮 、 澰 、 撿 、 檢 、 嶮 、 臉 、 險 、 劍 、 歛 、 斂)
(佳 、 哇 、 詿 、 桂 、 鮭 、 閨 、 奎 、 崖 、 涯 、 洼 、 卦 、 封 、 硅 、 鞋)
(曉 、 膮 、 嘵 、 撓 、 嶢 、 僥 、 隢 、 獟 、 嬈 、 憢 、 燒 、 澆 、 譊 、 蹺)


Case three: words in the group have “completely” different pronunciations.
(鳳 、 鳩 、 鳶 、 鴆 、 鴻 、 鳽 、 鴿 、 鴨 、 鸚 、 鵡 、 鵬 、 鶯 、 鷗 、 鷙 、 鷲)
Tienzen
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Re: WW(024)-- Constructing a merging system ourselves, conti

Postby Ling » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:47 pm

POINT 1. Since there are only 220 roots that carry the meaning of characters, it is given that 220 roots will carry the meaning of characters.
POINT 2. Similarly with the 1000 sounds associated with the characters, they are given.
These two givens are presented as the basis of a theoretical discussion and, theoretically, they are inarguable, since they are both assumed true for the discussion. As a practical system, however, they are not proof and some examples show one impracticality.

One would expect the 220 roots to represent all the stand-alone characters since these characters have no other way of expressing their meaning. (Roots can be reduced to strokes, but then only a couple of handfuls would be necessary). To check this (expression of meaning) one can use the first hundred, most frequently used characters on the mainland (HSK Word List) or Taiwan (CCDB by Chinese Char Analysis Gp., Council Cult. Plan. Dev. Taiwan). They are similar and it is easy to see that they are poorly represented in the 220. Also, few exhibit a phonetic according to my dictionary and books. Words such as 不, 了, 人, 中, 上, 大 have no place to put a phonetic, and 的 somehow makes a de sound rather than its phonetic bai.

These examples are a small indication of a problem in the theory. It may be that only stand-alone-root characters are involved, but they are important as the most-used in the language and will need to be learned separately apart from the system.
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Re: WW(024)-- Constructing a merging system ourselves, conti

Postby Ling » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:52 pm

I have come across another small effect that may cause difficulties. Most roots, without changing their apearance, act as phonetics in some characters and radicals in others. Another root in the character may provide the phonetic information when the situation of a phonetic acting as a radical occurs, but that is not always the case. I have not studied these conditions well enough to know how frequently they occur in normal daily activity.
For students of mainland Chinese there is the additional problem that the conversion from traditional Chinese appears to have been made without any attempt to preserve a phonetic structure.
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Re: WW(024)-- Constructing a merging system ourselves, conti

Postby Ling » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:02 am

Chinese Phonetic Roots, (reference Chinese Characters, Dr. L.Wieger SJ, Dover books, First printed 1915)

Circa 200AD the Shuo-wen classified the previous standard, Li-ssu, under 540 headings. The Shuo-wen had 9353 simple and 1163 double characters. 7697 entries were phonetic complexes, having a phonetic root plus a meaning part. Thus, 18% of the characters had no phonetic. These in large part would be the stand-alone-root characters, which, however, are the most frequently used characters in everyday Chinese.
On this basis it is fair to say that the most frequently used characters in everyday Chinese had no phonetic root in 200AD.
As the Empire grew, learning spread and writing became a public activity. Its style changed from the scribe's careful calligrahy to a freehand, cursive form. "Handy" simplified characters began to appear. Phonetics were easy to add and a disorderly growth of new and duplicate characters arose, with phonetic roots representing all the dialects in China.

The dictionary of Kang-xi (1716AD) contains 40,000 characters of which 4000 are in common use, 2000 are proper names and doubles of limited use and 34000 are of no practical value in normal, everyday communication. The phonetic roots of the 4-6000 usable characters are representative, therefore, of the many different dialects in China, but the confusion is limited to the extent that there are only approximately 400 sounds necessary (not counting tones) to pronounce all Chinese words. There are, however, aproximately 1000 phonetic roots in the Kang-xi common words.

The beginning student of Chinese, therefore, should not expect to look at a new character and be able to pronounce it according the its phonetic root.The most frequently used characters in Chinese have no phonetic root, no Chinese character indicates its tone, the phonetic root of a character, because of the widespread changes in the language, may represent another dialect or be garbled by misunderstanding and, without any change in the form of the phonetic root, may be a radical and not a phonetic at all.
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Re: WW(024)-- Constructing a merging system ourselves, conti

Postby Tienzen » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:34 am

Ling wrote:I have come across another small effect that may cause difficulties. Most roots, without changing their apearance, act as phonetics in some characters and radicals in others. Another root in the character may provide the phonetic information when the situation of a phonetic acting as a radical occurs, but that is not always the case. I have not studied these conditions well enough to know how frequently they occur in normal daily activity.
For students of mainland Chinese there is the additional problem that the conversion from traditional Chinese appears to have been made without any attempt to preserve a phonetic structure.


Ling, it is nice to see that you are working on this issue. And, I would like to make a few suggestions.

1. I have summarized a set of rules for the "connections" between Chinese characters and their corresponding verbal sounds. If you do discover some exceptions or difficulties of applying those rules, you should not deny those rules in wholesale manner. The validity of every rule (logic statement) needs two parts.
a. The existential proof, that is, if there is "one" example for the rule, it has the existential proof.
b. The universal proof, that is, that rule should apply to every case (example). The universe of a rule is, in general, defined by a domain. If a rule fails in a big domain but still valid in a smaller domain, it is still valid in that smaller domain.

2. If you have found some exception examples from my rules, you might have a chance to develop a new set of rules instead of denying the old ones.

3. I have read your posts, and none of your concerns goes beyond of my rules. The only problem of yours is that you do not understand neither the Chinese verbal system well enough nor about my system. By learning my system, it will help you to grasp the Chinese verbal system easier. By deeply understand the Chinese verbal system, you will understand my system without the above questions.
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