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Re: German with Hanzi/Kanji/Hanja?

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  • Jeffrey Jones
    On Thu, 31 Jul 2008 14:39:15 +0200, Henrik Theiling ... It might be simpler if you used a German-derived conlang (such as the one I ve
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 31, 2008
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      On Thu, 31 Jul 2008 14:39:15 +0200, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Hi!
      >
      > A few days ago I was discussing with a friend that I want to try
      > making a Hanzi-based writing system for German. German is not really
      > suited for this, even much less than Japanese. 'not suited' here
      > meaning it will probably be fun. :-)
      >
      > My idea was to write the stems with Hanzi and the inflection with some
      > sort of morphophonological script. I have not decided about
      > derivational endings, maybe they could be written with Hanzi, too, if
      > there is some more-or-less clear semantic concept behind it (e.g.
      > write _-bar_ ('-able') with the Hanzi for _können_ ('be able to/can').
      >
      > Dunno whether I should use a fully phonological one for inflection,
      > however, or whether it would be better to use a morphologically-based
      > system, and maybe a good mix.
      >
      > One question that arose was whether (and if, how) one should mark
      > umlauts:

      It might be simpler if you used a German-derived conlang (such as the one I've
      been playing with on and off) rather than German proper. For example, if no
      simple past existed, you'd eliminate a lot of the ablaut.

      Jeff
    • John Vertical
      ... Those are called morphones , right? (The name seems to be something of a phoneme : phone :: morpheme : X construction, tho the analogy is a little off
      Message 2 of 17 , Aug 1, 2008
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        >My idea of doing something like this (disregarding
        >the stem changes for a moment) would be a mixture of morphology and
        >phonology. E.g. conflate all inflectional endings in -e into the same
        >character, regardless of their function.
        >
        >Such an ending would not be used to write phonetically (e.g. names),
        >but only for inflectional endings that are -e. By this, I'd probably
        >be able to cut down the required endings for German to about 10 or so:
        >the vowel would be -e- /@/ anyway (which is dropped frequently when
        >the stem permits it) and then there are only a handful of consonants
        >used in endings: -e, -(e)t, -(e)n, -(e)r, -(e)m, -(e)s. They are then
        >used for a vast number of different things, of course.

        >**Henrik

        Those are called "morphones", right? (The name seems to be something of a
        phoneme : phone :: morpheme : X construction, tho the analogy is a little off
        considering it's a superset, not an element. But still less abstract...)

        John Vertical
      • Tristan McLeay
        ... I can t speak for Henrik, but my idea of applying it to English is evidently different. In Hangraphy, characters apply to IE morphemes, so werewolf and
        Message 3 of 17 , Aug 1, 2008
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          On 01/08/08 05:38:15, Alex Fink wrote:
          > On Thu, 31 Jul 2008 14:39:15 +0200, Henrik Theiling
          > <theiling@...> wrote:
          >
          > >Hi!
          > >
          > >A few days ago I was discussing with a friend that I want to try
          > >making a Hanzi-based writing system for German. German is not
          > really
          > >suited for this, even much less than Japanese. 'not suited' here
          > >meaning it will probably be fun. :-)
          >
          > Whatever came of the Hangraphy project? It was for all of
          > Indo-European,
          > not just German, but I recall a fair amount of thought having gone
          > into it.
          > http://wiki.frath.net/Hangraphy

          I can't speak for Henrik, but my idea of applying it to English is
          evidently different. In Hangraphy, characters apply to IE morphemes, so
          "werewolf" and "virtue" both begin with the same character,
          representing the PIE morpheme *wī-ro-. Under my system, whereas
          "werewolf" might be spelt [human][wolf], "virtue" would be spelt
          [virtue] or [good][quality] or something, representing the meaning (the
          Chinese (variant) "人狼" and "美德" would probably work nicely).

          --
          Tristan.
        • Henrik Theiling
          Hi! ... I haven t decided yet what I like best. It would seem that I need to look into it more closely to decide which system I find best suited. I do feel
          Message 4 of 17 , Aug 1, 2008
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            Hi!

            Tristan McLeay writes:
            >...
            >> http://wiki.frath.net/Hangraphy
            >
            > I can't speak for Henrik, but my idea of applying it to English is
            > evidently different. In Hangraphy, characters apply to IE morphemes, so
            > "werewolf" and "virtue" both begin with the same character,
            > representing the PIE morpheme *wī-ro-. Under my system, whereas
            > "werewolf" might be spelt [human][wolf], "virtue" would be spelt
            > [virtue] or [good][quality] ...

            I haven't decided yet what I like best. It would seem that I need to
            look into it more closely to decide which system I find best suited.
            I do feel that due to German's strong compositional tendencies, I'd
            want to go for one Hanzi per (German) stem, but this might indeed be
            very complicated because obviously, Hanzi are made for Chinese stems
            and thus there is no one-to-one correspondence with German. Also,
            there are many Latin and Greek words in German I would first try to
            analyse and compound with corresponding Hanzi, but this would get even
            more complicated.

            So in short: I do not know yet what I'd do, but I find assigning Hanzi
            to German/Latin stems very appealing. It might turn out to be
            infeasible, though.

            **Henrik
          • Henrik Theiling
            Hi! ... No, I d have at least two scripts: one for the stems, one for the affixes. And maybe I d use yet another for totally morphological particles. The
            Message 5 of 17 , Aug 1, 2008
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              Hi!

              David J. Peterson writes:
              > Henrik:
              > <<
              > One question that arose was whether (and if, how) one should mark
              > umlauts:
              >>>
              >
              > What are the rules? For example, can you invent stuff, or does
              > it all have to be pure Hanzi?

              No, I'd have at least two scripts: one for the stems, one for the
              affixes. And maybe I'd use yet another for totally morphological
              particles. The only 'rule' would be to use Hanzi for the content
              words.

              >...
              > [ü][bux][(e)r] = "Bücher"

              I did not know this system. Interesting. :-)

              > Since it's a spelling system, it need not follow any rules except
              > those it devises for itself. In Egyptian, for example, there was
              > almost systematic redundancy. There was a glyph that meant
              > "love", or [mr], and stood for that sound, but it was never
              > written by itself. So "I love" is:
              >
              > [mr][m][r][j] = [mrj] = "I love"
              >..

              This looks similar to the Tyl Sjok writing system: each character has
              one column for semantic parts and one for phonetic. The semantics
              part is totally redundant and the language is designed so that a
              computer can automatically add them to hopefully make reading more
              comfortable.

              **Henrik
            • Henrik Theiling
              Hi! ... Ah, interesting! Thanks for the example! :-) ... Possible, but it seems to extreme to me. I would like to mark it somehow, I think. ... I fully agree.
              Message 6 of 17 , Aug 1, 2008
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                Hi!

                Eugene Oh writes:
                > There doesn't necessarily have to be explicit notation for ablaut/umlaut!
                > Japanese copes very well with its very common irregular verb, "kuru" meaning
                > "to come". ...

                Ah, interesting! Thanks for the example! :-)

                >...
                > So you could probably have simply [lauf] for "lief", ...

                Possible, but it seems to extreme to me. I would like to mark it
                somehow, I think.

                > ... I think the phonetic adjuncts are more useful than morphological
                >adjuncts. People can infer the morphological purpose themselves given
                >the pronunciation and sufficient familiarity with the
                >language. Having to learn arcane names for grammar terms will
                >probably be counter-productive. ..

                I fully agree. Chinese has grammatical markers, too, and they do get
                mixed up by native speakers (e.g. the several 'de' of Mandarin). But
                the mix-up is probably due to homophony just like in 'there', 'their',
                and 'they're'.

                I would think that it might be ok to have a plural marker with no
                fixed pronunciation at all. If the number of these markers was
                limited to the situations of umlaut and ablaut, it might be ok.
                Everything else I'd do with phonetic markers (person verb endings, for
                example).

                Let's try!

                Here's an overview of my idea and examples why it does not work and
                why maybe your idea of just ignoring it might work better:

                Due to ablaut:
                {past}
                {perfect}
                {imperative}

                I'd feel ok about these. I think L1 speakers could handle those
                easily. Maybe. Hopefully. :-)

                But then, there is a different vowel in 3.sg.pres.act.:
                _werden_ -> _wirst_ which I do *not* want to mark this way
                (Requires an ending for 2/3.sg.pres.ind.act...)

                It's really umlaut, though.

                Due to umlauts:

                {plural}
                {comparative}
                {superlative}
                {2/3.sg.pres.ind.act} <--- ???
                {past conditional} <--- Sometimes irregular: hülfe (*hälfe < half)

                Gakh! There's umlaut before derivational endings: bläulich.

                OK, maybe umlaut should indeed go unmarked. Ablaut is very limited,
                so maybe it would be ok to have three markers?

                I don't know. I do want to mark everything, actually. :-)

                Let's see what happens if we do not mark anything morphologically:

                - lauf -> lief: {past} is probably not needed because in the vast
                majority of situations, the context disambiguates: 3rd person
                lacks the -t ending in the past, for example. The following would
                be ambiguous:
                [lauf](-st) -> läufst/liefst

                - {past conditional} is used seldom nowadays, that we can ignore it, I
                think. :-) Ambiguity:
                [helf](-st) -> hilfst/halfst/hülfest
                Hmm....

                - {perfect} is always marked by -en or -et ending and often by ge-

                - {plural}: Mutter - Mütter would become ambiguous. In well-formed
                sentences without lack of articles, it will still be unambiguous.
                Headlines would pose a problem. But then, there are words where
                singular and plural is identical, which are ambiguous even now:

                Messer (sg) - Messer (pl)

                So probably a minor problem.

                - {2/3.sg.pres.ind.act}: without in, the following become ambiguous:
                [helf]{-st} -> see above: with the ending, 'hilfst'
                would be marked.

                - {comparative}/{superlative}: there are endings: -(e)r and -(e)st.

                So some verb forms would become ambiguous. By retaining {past} and
                {past conditional}, they could be made unambiguous. Umlaut could be
                ignored completely. However, I'd like a {plural} particle, I think,
                to make a few things less ambiguous in writing than they are now. :-)


                NEXT PROBLEM:

                The -(e)st and -(e)t endings might be hard to use, since for some
                stems, they are not distinguished:

                wachs + (e)st -> wächst (2.sg.pres.ind.act)
                wachs + (e)t -> wächst (3.sg.pres.ind.act)

                Should this use the -(e)t ending then? Or should we simply have a
                -(e)(s)t ending?? I don't think it makes much ambiguous, since there
                are no forms of 'wachsen' that are ambiguous. At least, I never
                noticed and that's all that matters.

                Very long post, sorry. I'll write something up later and upload my
                thoughts. :-)

                **Henrik
              • Peter Collier
                ... I should imagine a fair few of the Greek and Roman borrowings could first be translated to Geman stems quite easily, which will simplify mapping to the
                Message 7 of 17 , Aug 1, 2008
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                  --- Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:

                  > Hi!
                  >
                  > Tristan McLeay writes:
                  > >...
                  > >> http://wiki.frath.net/Hangraphy
                  > >
                  > > I can't speak for Henrik, but my idea of applying
                  > it to English is
                  > > evidently different. In Hangraphy, characters
                  > apply to IE morphemes, so
                  > > "werewolf" and "virtue" both begin with the same
                  > character,
                  > > representing the PIE morpheme *wī-ro-. Under my
                  > system, whereas
                  > > "werewolf" might be spelt [human][wolf], "virtue"
                  > would be spelt
                  > > [virtue] or [good][quality] ...
                  >
                  > I haven't decided yet what I like best. It would
                  > seem that I need to
                  > look into it more closely to decide which system I
                  > find best suited.
                  > I do feel that due to German's strong compositional
                  > tendencies, I'd
                  > want to go for one Hanzi per (German) stem, but this
                  > might indeed be
                  > very complicated because obviously, Hanzi are made
                  > for Chinese stems
                  > and thus there is no one-to-one correspondence with
                  > German. Also,
                  > there are many Latin and Greek words in German I
                  > would first try to
                  > analyse and compound with corresponding Hanzi, but
                  > this would get even
                  > more complicated.
                  >
                  > So in short: I do not know yet what I'd do, but I
                  > find assigning Hanzi
                  > to German/Latin stems very appealing. It might turn
                  > out to be
                  > infeasible, though.
                  >
                  > **Henrik
                  >

                  I should imagine a fair few of the Greek and Roman
                  borrowings could first be translated to Geman stems
                  quite easily, which will simplify mapping to the Hanzi
                  - unless you want to retain the redundancy of course!

                  For example, <Psychologie> would be
                  [Geist]+[Untersuchung], and of course <Untersuchung>
                  itself can be reduced further.


                  P.
                • David McCann
                  ... I think the question is how you view writing. If you consider the possibility that a writing system can be an independent method of communication, rather
                  Message 8 of 17 , Aug 2, 2008
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                    On Fri, 2008-08-01, Henrik Theiling wrote:

                    > I haven't decided yet what I like best. It would seem that I need to
                    > look into it more closely to decide which system I find best suited.
                    > I do feel that due to German's strong compositional tendencies, I'd
                    > want to go for one Hanzi per (German) stem, but this might indeed be
                    > very complicated because obviously, Hanzi are made for Chinese stems
                    > and thus there is no one-to-one correspondence with German. Also,
                    > there are many Latin and Greek words in German I would first try to
                    > analyse and compound with corresponding Hanzi, but this would get even
                    > more complicated.

                    > No, I'd have at least two scripts: one for the stems, one for the
                    > affixes. And maybe I'd use yet another for totally morphological
                    > particles. The only 'rule' would be to use Hanzi for the content
                    > words.

                    > I would think that it might be ok to have a plural marker with no
                    > fixed pronunciation at all. If the number of these markers was
                    > limited to the situations of umlaut and ablaut, it might be ok.
                    > Everything else I'd do with phonetic markers (person verb endings, for
                    > example).
                    >
                    I think the question is how you view writing. If you consider the
                    possibility that a writing system can be an independent method of
                    communication, rather than a transcription of speech, you have a freer
                    hand.

                    I like the idea of Hanzi for nouns, verbs, and adjectives where
                    possible; an alphabet for formal words and those lexical words without
                    Hanzi, Korean-style; and grammatical markers, like the Egyptian use of a
                    plural marker instead of writing the suffix/apophony.

                    The problem that strikes me is the shortage of Hanzi. German, like
                    English, has a bigger vocabulary than Chinese (or Japanese). Think of
                    all those very specific verbs (e.g. holen) for which Chinese uses
                    compounds. You could always make new Hanzi, of course, based on existing
                    radicals. But where the Japanese and Koreans have fewer than the
                    Chinese, you'd end up with a lot more. You'd certainly need that spare
                    plane in Unicode!
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