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Thread: Cantonese kinship terms

  1. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Syn7 View Post
    Is that because of the Papyrus from the delta? I know that during the Roman Republic the Egyptians were paper heavyweights. I'm not sure how far back it goes, I just know that it was the most desirable paper for Roman aristocrats. It doesn't age very well, but it is my understanding that there are many hermetically sealed samples out there. Wax lids on pottery I imagine. Dunno tho. If you're an anthropologist then I'm sure you know better than me.
    Yep. Once you get to a writing material where you're writing on the surface, like paper you can write rounded shapes. Chinese writing is theorized to have originally been carved into bamboo or wood similar.



    Quote Originally Posted by Syn7 View Post
    I guess that's why their poetry is so admired. More words, more accuracy. No?

    So the Latin roots make it easier for calque words(is that how you say that? or is it just calque?) and new words combined with older words rather than making a whole new word, or character in the case of Chinese? It sure makes it easier to translate.
    Exactly. Latin allows a certain structural order, and in English the additional Germanic roots allow the language to be far more fluid.[/quote]

    Quote Originally Posted by Syn7 View Post
    I find it difficult to wrap my head around a non phonetic alphabet, or whatever it's called. Surely it isn't all arbitrary???
    According to Saussure yes. You have an idea represented by an arbitrary symbol. The difference between a writing system which uses logograms like chinese and a writing system like Latin script is that the symbols representing ideas in this system are based on recombination of letters which have no independent meaning in and of themselves. They do not require memorization of meaning, only their phonetic uses. So the symbol for computer is comprised of eight letters. In Chinese or traditional Japanese you must memorize the characters and either reconstitute other characters you've created or combine multiple characters to form a word (which are each in both cases comprised of multiple memorized characters). The alternative is constantly adding entirely new characters to the language.

    The other advantage of phonetic writing systems is being able to read words from the symbols without prior memorization. Having an intuitive understanding of the Latin-Germanic construction of English you can take a huge word like "antidisestablishmentarianism" and not only hazard a guess at what it means but pronounce it even if you've never seen it before.
    It quite simply requires less memorization and allows for more fluidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Syn7 View Post
    Is it harder to know Chinese and learn English(or any phonetic alphabet) or vice versa? Both, writing and speaking.
    Well let's accept the fact that you're never truly fluent in an acquired language on the same level as native speakers. English is a tough language to learn to speak correctly because the rules are comprised of two distinctly different language bases which means pronounciation of words can vary using the same spelling, rules can be played with if you know how and when, or suspended entirely.

    From what I've observed learning to construct English is difficult but once that is mastered the writing system is simple. On the other hand for Chinese in its various dialects learning the speech is easier because it tends to follow rules fairly well but the writing system is a nightmare for people coming from an unrelated writing system.

  2. #47
    And as for the poetry comment it's not as straightforward as more words more accuracy. But that's almost a whole essay itself.

  3. #48
    This is how a Chinese typewriter works: http://v.ku6.com/show/d70kja5mma3dAsMgeaazXA...html

  4. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by xinyidizi View Post
    This is how a Chinese typewriter works: http://v.ku6.com/show/d70kja5mma3dAsMgeaazXA...html
    Care to translate

    have you read any of this? lol

    Dr. Lin Yutangs typewriter looks easier and faster. Mos def easier to transpot, lol.
    Last edited by Syn7; 10-09-2012 at 01:34 AM.

  5. #50
    I have heard that English is hard to speak but easier to write.

    What annoys me is words like metropolis and metropolitan. You see it alot with the O words.

    Another thing that really annoys me about a phonetic based system is the freakin assumptions. Like the word Caesar. It is not Ceaser, it is SayZar. I can go for days. That must get confusing for new speakers.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon View Post
    The reason languages based partially or entirely on a phonetic script of letters are superior...
    You are begging the question. You have not convinced anyone that they are superior. Your premise is more questionable than your conclusion. There are advantages to an alphabet but most of the ones you list are not relevant. For example;
    ... is that is allows for easy recombination of the symbols to form new and innovative words. For example man can be combined into policeman, scottsman, and numerous other words.
    That is exactly the way it works in Chinese as well. Just take the examples you chose:

    policeman: 警察 jing cha. A comination of 警 jing (warn or alarm) and 察 cha (inspect/investigate).

    Scotsman: 苏格兰人 A combination of 苏格兰(rough phoenetic for 'Scotland') and 人 (person)

    It is not simply the Latin script but it's use in English which is a combination of both Germanic and Latin and allows for a myriad of nonstandard word forms to come about more easily than most languages.
    This is certainly an advantage but it comes at a cost. Modern Chinese words are made of the same characters as ancient Chinese words. So when you see a new word, it's far easier to understand it's meaning. There is no need to be famliar with ancient Latin, Greek and German. For instance I can read (with difficulty of course) Chinese writings from 400-500 years ago. In museums I can often read stuff from 1000 years back or more. Hardly fluently but I can make out a fair bit of it. Give me some "English" from that far back and well...it's not even English is it. It's an entirely different language.

    In fact the traditional characters in the Chinese system derive their meaning from combination of other symbols so as much as the simplified writing make writing easier it makes recombination more difficult and the characters less meaningful.
    You writing here is a bit confusing but what I think you are trying to allude to is how traditional characters look more like what they mean than modern ones. They are closer to pictographs. But what is lost is not meaning. What is lost is aesthetics. The new characters mean exactly the same things as the old ones. They are just, arguably, uglier. (a subjective judgement)


    But if you go with the traditional writing it is a much more complicated system of writing and you must memorize far more than for a phonetic system.

    Simply put, there's a reason the Japanese also have phonetic alphabets.
    This is the one and only part of your argument I can agree with. Learning to write characters is much harder than learning to write with an alphabet. Although, and this ironically gets back to your earlier anthropological point, as we move into the digital age, that has become far less of an issue. The software is so good, it has pretty much erased the difference in difficulty on that front. As cell phones become pocket computers, even the need to hand write stuff while out and about is shrinking.

    In any case, I dismiss all your arguments on the advantages except with regards to educational. Learning to read and write is easier in an alphabetized language than in a character based one.

  7. #52
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    p.s.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon View Post
    Yep. Once you get to a writing material where you're writing on the surface, like paper you can write rounded shapes. Chinese writing is theorized to have originally been carved into bamboo or wood similar.
    Not "theorized" and not carved...in most cases anyways. Lots of actual bamboo strips with Chinese writing on them hanging out in museums. It was pretty standard at one point and is considered to be one reason why Chinese script originally was developed to be written vertically instead of horizontally.

  8. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by omarthefish View Post
    p.s.

    Not "theorized" and not carved...in most cases anyways. Lots of actual bamboo strips with Chinese writing on them hanging out in museums. It was pretty standard at one point and is considered to be one reason why Chinese script originally was developed to be written vertically instead of horizontally.
    It doesn't seem far fetched that they would write on any smooth surface. You can use mud, or some natural dye from berries or whatever. A million ways to make dies and paints. You would think the etching came first tho. It prolly started with sand or dirt etchings and drawings and went from there. I dunno, just a guess.

  9. #54
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    The absolute earliest Chinese writing is the jiaguwen or "oracle bones"



    By the time bamboo scrolls were in use Chinese brush work was already well established.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon View Post
    It is to an extent but let me preface that with some background anthropological knowledge. Each of the writing systems morphology as far as writing goes has to do with the materials they were written on. Cuneiform, one of the oldest written languages, was pressed into wet clay using a kind of stamping pen. The Greek system of writing was meant to be carved into stone, and the runic system carved into wood. The Egyptian writing system was a step forward. The hieroglyphs were pictorial but also phonetic and could thus be written on paper and inscribed onto stone.

    The reason languages based partially or entirely on a phonetic script of letters are superior is that is allows for easy recombination of the symbols to form new and innovative words. For example man can be combined into policeman, scottsman, and numerous other words. But the way Latin languages. Are written is still limited in a way. It is not simply the Latin script but it's use in English which is a combination of both Germanic and Latin and allows for a myriad of nonstandard word forms to come about more easily than most languages.

    Compare this to a writing system like Chinese or Japanese Kanji and you'll see the difference in complexity of creating new words. In fact the traditional characters in the Chinese system derive their meaning from combination of other symbols so as much as the simplified writing make writing easier it makes recombination more difficult and the characters less meaningful. But if you go with the traditional writing it is a much more complicated system of writing and you must memorize far more than for a phonetic system.

    Simply put, there's a reason the Japanese also have phonetic alphabets.
    Ehhh. . .not exactly. You're putting the cart before the horse. Languages aren't "based" on written script; spoken natural languages always predate their writing systems.

    There is a strong phonetic component to Chinese characters, it is not so explicit that you can easily learn to read Chinese by learning it's rules, but once you pick up a thousand or so characters it becomes rather easy to look at a heretofore unrecognized character and know how to pronounce it through recognition of its composition.

    I would say that the reason Japanese requires an additional script is because it is not related to Chinese so Chinese characters are not an accurate representation of spoken Japanese.

    I don't really know what you're getting at about traditional characters vs simplified characters. Supposedly some of the simplifications are actually older variants and in many cases just represent the same component as when it is written in one of the "cursive" scripts. It doesn't really have anything to do with the complexity of the language itself. Learning traditional is not that much more difficult or complicated than simplified. Chinese doesn't need to create new characters when it can just combine existing ones or repurpose ancient ones.

    There is a reason that Literary Chinese spread all over Asia; it is a an incredibly concise and efficient way to communicate with completely one to one symbol to syllable/morpheme lexical structure. In fact even modern spoken Chinese with its standard bi-syllabic structure is far more concise and efficient than any romance language.

    Horse stance and Chinese characters; helping to reinforce narrow Western cultural bias since whenever this guy joined the forum.
    Last edited by wenshu; 10-09-2012 at 06:36 AM. Reason: added points after rereading original post

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Arms View Post
    Sigung = Grandmaster/teacher's teacher
    Sifu = Master/teacher
    Sibaak = Senior Uncle
    Siguma = Senior Aunt
    Sisuk = Junior Uncle
    Siguje = Junior Aunt
    Sihing = Senior Brother
    Sijeh = Senior Sister
    Simui = Junior Sister
    Sidai = Junior Brother
    Toudai = Student/indoor student
    Tousyunneui = Female Grandstudent
    Tousyun = Male Grandstudent

    These are the ones I know of, plus the two at the bottom are from a reference I found on the web.
    of course in the more commercial schools, many of these terms have become ranks.
    I met a guy who told me he was a Si-Suk.
    Dude, you ain't MY Si-Suk.
    "My Gung-Fu may not be Your Gung-Fu.
    Gwok-Si, Gwok-Faht"

    "I will not be part of the generation
    that killed Kung-Fu."

    ....step.

  12. #57
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    I don't see any name for "little wife" there either.

    Kung Fu is good for you.

  13. #58
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    Feel free to contribute.
    -Golden Arms-

  14. #59
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    It's humour man.

    I have nothing to contribute to this. It's been done up there.

    Plus, I find the way that "westerners" turn these filial terms into ranking titles to be repulsive and silly on the face of it.

    If a person is part of a Kung Fu family, that's great and that's where these names apply.

    But, as stated, someone else's kung fu dad ain't mine, nor is their grandad or their uncle etc etc. These are not rank titles after all, they are filial attributes.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syn7 View Post
    He did mention Germanic.

    I've heard a few refer to English as a Latin based language, but I think most people know it's Germanic in origin. I think the confusion is because of three things. 1- Because of loanwords and to a lesser extant, Calque which itself is, wait for it, a loanword lol. 2- Because of new words for new ideas that span multiple languages. 3- Because Academia has always used Latin, people just assume it's a precursor to our language.

    Cross contamination is inevitable in such close quarters.

    I'm no linguist, I just find it all fascinating. These are just my best guesses. I'm totally open to suggestions when it comes to this stuff.

    I was taught in like 9th grade that English has a Germanic origin.
    You're right. He did mention Germanic. I was just taking opposition to this statement:

    ...just as most of Europe speaks romance languages
    I'm too lazy to look up the numbers but I think the
    most
    is an overstatement if you include the other language families of Europe. And some people do seem to have the idea that Latin is somehow older than English or that we have a Latin-based syntax.

    Still fighting the Normans here, even if they are my ancestors now.

    I love tangents.
    "Look, I'm only doing me job. I have to show you how to defend yourself against fresh fruit."

    For it breeds great perfection, if the practise be harder then the use. Sir Francis Bacon

    the world has a surplus of self centered sh1twh0res, so anyone who extends compassion to a stranger with sincerity is alright in my book. also people who fondle road kill. those guys is ok too. GunnedDownAtrocity

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