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Re: "iu" and "ui" alternative spellings [was: Chin. Mode: No "-io", but "-io-"]

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  • hisilome
    ... one ...
    Message 1 of 33 , Mar 13, 2006
      --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@...>

      > Hisilome wrote:
      > ...
      > > Thus, if we stick to not marking the fifth tone, theoretically
      >there might be some problems, but in actual usage, ambiguity would
      >very rarely arise. In fact, as I pointed out, I believe only your
      > > example, the syllable _liao_, could be problematic.*
      > I'm glad to hear that. Some people abhor the slightest theoretical
      > possibility of ambiguity. I don't either. However, I think there are
      > some more syllables where such an ambiguity might arise: lai - le
      >ai; luai - luo ai; lao - le ao; lou - le ou; lui - luo ei; lou - le
      >ou; liu - lie ou. It concerns every combination with initial
      >consonant that ends in yanta or úre.

      <<<<<You are, of course, right. This would increase the potential for
      misreadings somewhat, but I believe speakers of Mandarin would still
      rarely get confused for the reasons I laid out before: context and
      the fact that the fifth tone is not too frequent, and usually
      restricted to certain syllables, often grammatical particles/markers,
      such as the _-men_ (plural marker in "tāmen") or _de_ (a very
      versatile particle, expressing among many other things "genitival"
      relations between nouns) in your sample text.

      And the risk of ambiguity is further reduced if one leaves space
      between the individual words, as I see you did in your transcription.
      Originally I had suggested not to do this (largely because in certain
      types of text, especially those involving classical Chinese or
      poetry, it can be a bit difficult to determine where one word ends
      and the next one begins), but in modern texts at least it is actually
      quite easily done and helpful for the reader. Since most particles,
      such as _de, le (completed action), ma (question marker)_ etc, tend
      to stand alone (i.e. as an independent word), no confusion could
      arise. The plural marker _-men_ would be an exception, since it's
      directly attached in Pinyin writing--I guess that's because strictly
      speaking, this is really a suffix, quite a rare species in
      the "Mandarin fauna". :)>>>>>

      >Another workaround instead of using an isolated short carrier for
      >_ai ao ei ou_ might be to place a single dot below yanta/úre when it
      >combines with an initial consonant (which I have inconsistently done
      >in my first table, the one with the a-tehta).

      <<<<<This alternative method makes the mode even more "compact". I'd
      still suggest to only use it when ambiguity could arise in actual
      usage (see above), i.e. for example in certain disyllabic words where
      the second syllable is pronounced "light". This further reduces the
      amount of diacritics needed, but of course it's also ok to consider
      this specific type of under-dot obligatory.>>>>>

      ><...>So if there's a tone sign, the short carrier can be left away
      even in _en eng_.

      <<<<<Right. Especially since there are very few words for _en_ (only
      four even in larger dictionaries, only one of which is quite common)
      and only one single word for _eng_ (which is very rare, meaning "the
      reins of a horse", but a different word is usually used in modern
      Chinese), and none of these would conceivably occur in the fifth
      tone. So we can scrap the short carrier completely!>>>>>

      >>Thus, uure alone = _o_, short carrier + uure =
      >> _ou_, tengwa + uure = _-ou_.
      >That _o_ was not even mentioned in the table I kept referring to.
      >It's not unusual for (lexicalized) interjections to exceed the usual
      >sound system of a language. The wikipedia table also mentions the
      >final _ê_ to occur in certain interjections. How to transcribe them?
      >Since they transgress the normal sound system, they might be
      >transcribed with crazy combinations that transgress the normal
      >tengwar-tehtar combinations: Perhaps with the otherwise impossible
      >and meaningless combinations yanta + two dots and úre + modified
      >left curl?

      <<<<<I like that! And we probably cannot use my original proposal for
      _o_ if we scrap the short carriers, since _o_ and _ou_ (though not _-
      ou_) would then be spelled identically...>>>>>

      > ...
      > > <<<DTS 46 and 49, right. I somehow prefer to put the modified
      >left- curl on top and the other diacritic under it, as in the King's
      > > Letter. Would the fonts allow that as well?>>>
      > ...
      > The most recent generation of tengwar fonts does, since they provide
      > two different kinds of modified left curls: One to be placed as the
      > only tehta above a tengwa<...>

      <<<<<Hm. If it's to be used as the _only_ tehta, then how can you
      still fit another diacritic under it?
      Actually, I now remember I've seen _edwen_ spelled as in KL,
      with "modified left-curl on top of E-tehta on top of ando", I think
      in McKay's "Index of Significant Samples". So he must have used a
      newer font then. (Or maybe he used some "tricks"?)>>>>>

      > Here I've spelled out a little sample text with complete tone
      symbols (it's taken from http://www.omniglot.com/writing/chinese.htm
      and I hope I haven't made too much errors). I have put the two dots
      below the tengwar in all cases where there is another tehta above
      (which is all cases in that short text). For a combination of the two
      dots below and the single dot below (a combination that has been
      quite frequent), I have used the three dots below tehtar, even though
      it is really a combination. For the combination of the two dots below
      and the vertical stroke below, I have placed both tehtar besides each
      other which worked quite well (though that may be more difficult if
      there is a descending telco). Certain combinations of the modified
      left curl with another tehta have become quite messy (in spite of the
      eight different versions of the modified curl). Since neither the two
      dots below nor the vertical stroke below have a specialized lambe
      version, I have sometimes used the numeral that looks like a small
      lambe. And finally, I have used a single dot for the transcription of
      the high tone, not a macron (horizontal bar). The fonts I've used are
      Johan Winge's tengwar annatar and tengar annatar alt. In the end, I
      think it has worked quite well. Here it is (and there are again a pdf
      and an rtf version in the same directory):
      > http://trizeps.ch/~choni/public/declaration.png

      <<<<<Alright. Let's see. I guess you've used a single over-dot for
      the first tone because a macron would have conflicted with other
      tehtar (for example in _xiong1_ [I'm using "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" after the
      Pinyin transcription of the syllable to indicate the tones as is
      often done--more convenient then doing the diacritics...]).

      There are a few spellings I'd like to remark on:

      1) _yi1_ (in _yi1lü4_): Do we really need the double under-dot (i.e.
      a total of three dots below) here? Isn't "vilya with single under-
      dot" enough? The latter is also how you spelled it in your second
      table, I think.
      (BTW, because of tone sandhi, the _yi1_ is actually pronounced as
      _yi2_ here, but I believe we agreed to always stick with
      the "original" tone of the syllables, as Pinyin does.)

      Similar question for _yi3_: wouldn't a single under-dot suffice?

      2) _lü4_ (in _yi1lü4_): I think here the website where you got the
      sample text is to blame, since it erroneously transcribed _yi1lu4_.
      So, here we should see "lambe with double (under-)dot and single
      (under-)dot and modified left-curl on top". This is actually an
      interesting word, since I would wonder how exactly we'd do this: the
      double-dots inside the lambe bow, and the single dot under it (this
      probably looks the nicest)? Or vice versa? Or three dots within the
      bow/under it...?

      3) The spellings of _xing4, xin1, bing4, ying1_. Shouldn't these all
      be written with only a double under-dot under the initial tengwa
      (i.e. without the additional single dot below the double-dot),
      analogous to your spelling of _ping2_ in _ping2deng3_?

      4) _you3_ (in _fu4you3_): After your latest "revision" of this mode,
      I guess one could spell _you_ as "vilya plus uure with single under-
      dot" to avoid potential confusion with _ye ou_.

      But wait, how could I've missed this before: all the things we've
      said about possible ambiguities (as in _liao - lie ao; lai - le ai;
      luai - luo ai; lao - le ao; lou - le ou; lui - luo ei; lou - le ou;
      liu - lie ou_) are really invalid, since in the actual language,
      there are only two possibilities (keeping also in mind that if we
      separate individual words by spaces, ambiguities could only occur
      within words, not across "word boundaries"):

      a) something like "lambe + yanta with A-tehta" is to be understood as
      two separate words (= _le ai_). Then we'll either have a tonal sign
      on both words, in which case no ambiguity can arise, or we'll have
      one on the first but not the second word (_ai_), because it's in the
      fifth tone. In the latter case, it's still clear that we're dealing
      with _two_ words, since if we weren't then

      b) the tonal sign would be on the _ai_ as the element in what would
      now be _lai_ that expressed the main vowel sound.

      Other interpretations wouldn't be possible, since if there is a
      syllable in the fifth tone in disyllabic words, it's _always_ the
      second syllable (i.e. something like "lambe + A-tehta on yanta/yanta
      with under-gasdil [even if we use neither short carriers in _ai, ao,
      ei, ou_, nor a dot under yanta/uure in combinations with initials]
      and acute accent under/on top of yanta" could, even theoretically,
      never be misread as _le5ai2_, but only be understood as _lai2_.

      The situation wouldn't be much different in trisyllabic words where
      the medial or the final syllable is in the fifth tone (if one can
      actually find [m]any combinations like that involving the syllables
      in question).

      Therefore, I think there would be no harm (not even the slightest
      theoretical possibility of it :)) in doing completely without the
      short carriers/under-dots in "initial consonant + yanta/uure"
      combinations. Seen in this new light, they certainly shouldn't be

      One last comment on a different issue: I saw you employed "English"
      punctuation marks (in this case, only commas and full stops). I'd
      suggest that we might also consider using the same signs as Tolkien
      did in his Quenya/Sindarin/English Tengwar samples (e.g. DTS 5,
      19/20, 21, 49 etc), including those for "end of paragraph",
      exclamation marks and question marks.

      Hope I don't sound too critical or finicky! You don't know how
      grateful I am for all the ideas you've come up with for writing
      Mandarin with Tengwar...hope you enjoy "inventing" all these
      proposals as much as I enjoy reading (and using) them. :)>>>>>

    • 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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