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

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  • hisilome
    ... ...
    Message 1 of 33 , Mar 15, 2006
      --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@...>

      > ...I'm glad that the massive amounts of three-dots below have
      > been drastically reduced by your corrections.

      <<<<<I agree! And I saw you also emended _jing1_, which I had
      overlooked. :)>>>>>

      > ...
      > > 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
      > > obligatory.
      > That's very interesting! Do you think that in the same way, the dots
      > under final númen or nwalme could be dropped as well? This would put
      > an end to the annoying dual use of the dot indicating both
      > non-syllabicity of the finals -n -ng and syllabicity of [j w jw] in
      > the finals -i -u -ü. If the dot below -n were dropped, a word such
      > as "ta1men" could theoretically be misread as "*ta1mene". ...

      <<<<<Why, of course! Basically, by the same rationale we don't really
      need the under-dots in "initial consonant + yanta/uure" combinations,
      we don't need them under nuumen and nwalme, either. In actual usage,
      no confusion could arise (forms like _ta1mene_ do not occur, as you
      also indicate with an asterisk).>>>>>

      > ... I'm just noticing that ungwe anyway occurs only as a final, so
      > the dot below ungwe is completely redundant -- which suddenly opens
      > the possibility to introduce a pet idea of mine: using the bar
      >above, which usually expresses a prenasalization, to express a kinda
      > "postnasalization", that is, a final -n. I had this idea already in
      > mind, but I never caught to it because I always thought that with
      >two different kind of finals, -n and -ng, there was no use for it.
      >Now that the final -ng has a specialized sign of its own, the final -
      >n might as well have one. I think I got the idea of using the bar
      >above in such a way from a phonemic French mode, perhaps the one of
      >Jean Crozé.

      <<<<<Yes, this would work fine! And makes this mode even
      more "compact", as seen in the considerably shorter new transcription
      of your sample text.
      On the other hand, if one finds that some individual spellings would
      get too "crowded" this way (e.g. _quan2_--doesn't bother me much,
      though), one can always reverse to using nuumen (without the under-
      dot!). Of course, no matter which "convention" one would go for, it
      should be done consistently within a given text.>>>>>

      > And while introducing more and more tehtar: Why not expressing final
      > -r with the silme-hook? From what I understand, that final r may
      > phonetically be a kind of s(h)ibilant sound, so I think the silme-
      >hook is not too far off...

      <<<<<Hm. Here I'd have to disagree: while they are spelt the same in
      Pinyin, initial and final _r_ are really two distinct sounds.

      Initial _r_ would actually be a bit closer to your description as
      a "kind of sibilant", I think, since it's a retroflex fricative (the
      voiced counterpart of Mandarin _sh_), and thus somewhat similar to
      the sibilants _s_ and _z_ (alveolar unvoiced/voiced fricatives).

      I believe the IPA transcribes initial Mandarin _r_ as a lower-case
      right-tail "z", i.e. a small "z" with a right hook.

      Final _r_, or rather the combination _er_ (which, as you remember, is
      the _only_ combination in which final _r_ occurs, leaving aside
      the "added-on" r-sound, which isn't really "standard" and can thus be
      ignored in transcription, as I've pointed out before [message 5171])
      is somewhat similar to the sound in English "teachER" or "MirrOR",
      only that it's pronounced more forcefully, no matter if it's in the
      second, third or fourth tone (no first/fifth-tone _er_ occur).

      IPA usually transcribes Mandarin _er_ as a schwa plus a run-of-the-
      mill "r" [standard sign for the alveolar trill]. I have often
      suspected, though, that this final _r_ is closer to the English
      frictionless continuant, which is, I believe, "properly" represented
      by a _turned_ lower-case "r"--but most English dictionaries don't
      bother with this and transcribe it with the normal "r", anyway.

      I believe I'm probably to blame for your assumption that Mandarin _-
      r_ is similar to a sibilant, because in message 5171 I spoke of
      an "'added-on' retroflex 'r'", and this description was sloppy--ahem,
      wrong. Sorry about that! It's really more like an English "r",
      although pronounced in a more guttural fashion.
      The sound itself is the same in _er_ and in combinations of all other
      syllables with final _-r_ ("added-on" r-final), but again, only in
      _er_ do we need to represent it in tengwar writing, which is the same
      convention as in Pinyin.
      (BTW, _if_ you want to express in Pinyin that someone speaks with
      lots of r-finals, you can simply add on an "r" to the syllable, e.g.
      _xing_ would become _xingr_, etc. As I also pointed out in the
      earlier post, in regular Chinese writing, this can be expressed by
      the character for "son, child" [_er2_], which serves as a purely
      phonetic sign here and is then obviously not pronounced as a distinct
      sound in the second tone, but rather "melts" with the preceding
      syllable in sound and tone. I think the Wikipedia table gives a list
      with these r-final pronunciations which looks pretty accurate.
      I do, however, not agree with the remark on that same site, under the
      table listing the initials, that fricative "r" [small "z" with right
      hook] and approximant "r" [turned "r"] are "interchangeable".
      Under "Pronunciation of initials" it says: "'r' = similar to the
      English 'r' in 'rank', but with the lips spread and with the tongue
      curled upward". Well, yes--the "spread lips" and "curled tongue" make
      initial _r-_ a retroflex, and this is exactly what clearly
      _discerns_ it from the alveolar English "r" and Mandarin _-r_! How _r-
      _ and _-r_ could be "interchangeable" is thus quite beyond me (also
      from personal speaking and listening experience), and interestingly,
      in the charts showing the pronunciation of finals/r-final
      combinations, _-r_ is consistently and correctly spelt only with a
      turned "r" symbol, with no claim made that this could somehow also be
      a retroflex.
      The Chinese dictionaries I consulted also make a clear distinction
      between _r-_ and _-r_ in their sections on spelling and
      pronunciation, and it is no coincidence that in the Zhuyin [Bopomofo]
      transcription system, two very different signs are used for initial
      _r-_ and final _-r_ [_er_].)

      So, since initial and final _r_ are different sounds, it actually
      makes good sense to represent them by separate signs in phonetic
      writing. I'd say that for the initial _r_ (the retroflex fricative)
      we'd stick with anna, since that befittingly leaves it in the same
      teema as the other retroflex sounds (fricatives and affricates)--I
      believe this was also your original reason for choosing anna.

      As for the alveolar sound in _er_, I'd say that your silme-hook might
      still work, in spite of all I've said above, for the simple reason
      that Chinese is indeed quite different from the languages of attested
      (Tolkien's) Tengwar writings, anyway (as you also wrote)--and we've
      already had to introduce new signs/new definitions for signs to
      accommodate many affricates and fricatives that don't occur in
      English or Elvish.

      But I still like to think that one could also use oore for final _r_,
      since this tengwa hasn't been assigned any function yet in any of our
      Chinese modes. Tolkien himself said that "Grade 6...was most often
      used for the weakest or 'semi-vocalic' consonants of each series"
      (LoTR Appendices), and since (see above) the final _r_ in Mandarin is
      actually quite similar to English "r" (and distinct from the
      retroflex sound), I'd say we could use oore here as in English modes.

      Also, the first teema, called "dental or t-series" by Tolkien, is
      always a mixture of dental (e.g. hard and soft "th") and alveolar
      sounds (e.g. "n, t, d"), so we wouldn't be violating Tengwar
      principles here, I think, if we added oore for _-r_ to tinco for _t_,
      ando for _d_*, thuule (suule) for _s_, nuumen for _n-_, and of course
      extended tinco and ando for _c, z_.

      *I believe I pointed out in an earlier mail that the distinction
      between t/d, p/b, k/g in Mandarin is really one between aspiration
      and non-aspiration (not an unvoiced/voiced dichotomy), which is why
      older transcription systems preferred to spell t'/t, p'/p, k'/k. This
      doesn't affect the "basic" quality of these sounds, though.>>>>>

      > > 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.

      > That's possible. Punctuation doesn't interest me much,

      <<<<<Me neither! But it's hard to entirely ignore, especially
      in "modern" texts... I guess the reason I might opt for the
      more "exotic" signs employed in most Elvish (and some English)
      tengwar texts by Tolkien is that they give the mode a
      more "authentic" Middle-earth feel--but that probably doesn't really
      matter too much with a Chinese mode. ;)>>>>>

      > so I rather
      > choose the easiest way to deal with them, that is, I prefer to keep
      > the traditional signs (as in DTS 16, 18 and 23) -- if I don't drop
      > punctuation altogether because it is something secondary, just as
      > numerals, and the reason why these things are secondary is because
      > scripts work fine without them: instead of the numerals, I can write
      > the numbers, and I maintain that well written language stays
      > understandable with an absolute minimum of punctuation, just like
      > antique poetry which often didn't even employ line endings; if a
      >text requires lots of punctuation, then it's bad language... ;)

      <<<<<Well, if that's how you feel, then you'd love classical Chinese
      texts (and not just poems), since they either use very little
      punctuation, or--none at all! I have to say, though, when studying
      classical texts, I was glad that modern editions usually add at least
      minimal punctuation to indicate where sentences start and end. Maybe
      classical Chinese was just "bad language". ;) Seriously, it's
      actually often quite difficult to add punctuation marks (not just
      full stops, but also commas, semicolons...) to a classical Chinese
      text, since frequently the decision where exactly to put them implies
      a specific interpretation of the text. And quite often, different
      interpretations are possible, which has led to some disputes among
      Chinese "lambengolmor"...
      And while in poetry ambiguity may be nice (and part of the artistic
      effect), in, say, a philosophical essay it's often plain annoying. I
      don't think classical Chinese with its extreme brevity of expression
      was really meant for meticulous analytical arguments, anyway!
      OK, cruising into the OT zone at the speed of light...

      Think the phonetic mode is pretty refined now!
      Maybe we can retain (dot-less) nuumen for _-n_ as alternative
      spelling to the post-nasalization over-bar (which I like! it's
      snappy), and introduce oore as an alternative to the silme-hook for _-
      r_ (which doesn't occur that often anyway). We definitely shouldn't
      spell _-r_ with anna anymore.>>>>>

    • 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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