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Chinese (Mandarin) Mode: No "-io", but "-io-"

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  • hisilome
    Well, I was a bit hasty in my last mail. I wrote that io does not occur after consonants, but what I really meant was that it does not occur (after
    Message 1 of 33 , Feb 19, 2006
      Well, I was a bit hasty in my last mail.

      I wrote that "io" does not occur after consonants, but what I really
      meant was that it does not occur (after consonants) as the _final
      part_ of a syllable. In other words, it only appears _between_ two
      consonants, more specifically in the combinations "xiong, qiong,
      jiong" (as I actually mentioned two years ago when I first worked on
      a Chinese Mode but never got anywhere until J. 'Mach' Wust came up
      with his great proposal).

      Therefore, I was obviously also wrong to write that the "spelling
      with two under-dots and O-tehta doesn't occur at all in Mandarin"--
      here it does, and the theoretical alternative with I-tehta on top of
      uure would probably have to be rejected for the same reason as the
      spellings with under-dots/modified left-curl for "iu/ui" (at least
      that's how I felt when I wrote the previous mail, see below): to make
      sure that the "dominant" vowel (in this case clearly "o", as is also
      reflected in the Mandarin Phonetic Symbol system [aka "bopomofo"]
      still used almost exclusively in Taiwan) is expressed with a tehta.

      As for "iu, ui", BTW, after further reflection, and some "discussion"
      with Chinese native speakers, I find that the situation is quite
      For example, Beijing dialect speakers (and modern Mandarin was
      originally based largely on the Beijing dialect, which is thus in
      principle considered the standard for pronunciation) seem indeed to
      pronounce a word like "liu" ("six") with "i" as the more "prominent"
      element in the diphthong. But only when, as here, it's in the fourth
      tone. In the pronunciation of other words, like "liu" (first, second
      or third tone) or "diu" (first tone), it seems that the "u"
      is "dominant".
      And in southern China or Taiwan (i.e. in the pronunciation of
      Mandarin in these areas, not the local dialects [which have a rather
      different sound and tonal system]) it's even harder to tell.
      Generally, I'd say it's kind of an "amalgam" in which both elements
      contribute equally much to the diphthong's sound, and often it would
      seem that (still focussing on "iu, ui") the second element is
      actually a bit "drawn out" and thus could be described as the one
      that's given more emphasis.

      To sum up, while for "xiong, qiong, jiong" I'd say it is clearly
      the "o" that should be spelled with a tehta, I'm not quite so sure
      about emphasizing the first element in "iu, ui" anymore. There seems
      to be no neat solution here, therefore I after all tend to feel that
      both spellings,

      (-iu): Tengwa + I-tehta on top of uure
      OR double dot under tengwa and U-tehta on top of it

      (-ui): Tengwa + U-tehta on top of yanta
      OR modified left-curl and I-tehta on top of tengwa

      are plausible, and should thus both be considered correct (they are
      definitely both comprehensible--no matter which solution you prefer,
      there would be no ambiguity).

    • Melroch 'Aestan
      ... Mandarin was a typo for Cantonese here. Sorry. -- /BP 8^) -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se
      Message 33 of 33 , Mar 19, 2006
        hisilome skrev:

        >>Duh, with six or seven tonemes Mandarin even stretches Roman to
        >>its limits!
        > [ Well, I'm no experts on linguistics (obviously!), so I may
        > misunderstand you here--but if "tonemes" are identical to tones,
        > standard Mandarin has four or five, and as far as I know some
        > subdialects of Mandarin have as little as three. Why six or seven? ]

        "Mandarin" was a typo for "Cantonese" here. Sorry.

        /BP 8^)>
        Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se
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