3,033 reputation
820
bio website peterthenelson.com
location United States
age 26
visits member for 2 years, 2 months
seen yesterday

I lived in China for a couple years. My Chinese isn't too bad, but I'm always trying to get better. Special interests in:

  • Etymology
  • Historical phonology
  • Winning arguments in other languages

Jul
17
comment What is the correct pronunciation of 垃圾?
@Stan It is entirely reasonable to look at the character 圾 and say "I think that's probably pronounced jī". The point is that the word for garbage was originally pronounced lèsè, so lājī is a mispronunciation.
Jul
3
comment Were the choice of characters in compound words based on their intrinsic meaning, or are their meaning derived from their use in compound words?
Minor quibble--some words in Chinese have always been multiple characters (although it's obviously much less common than the case you describe).
Jul
3
comment Which Chinese dialect is it rewarding to learn?
Again, where will you be / who will you be interacting with? My limited experience in HK was that many people's Mandarin was often worse than their English. On the mainland, I found Mandarin to be more than enough to get by with except in one small town where many locals had limited Mandarin proficiency.
Jul
3
comment Which Chinese dialect is it rewarding to learn?
I think a language is rewarding if you can speak it with other people. Who might you be speaking this with? If you're living in Taiwan, then Taiwanese Min could be fun and rewarding to learn. In HK or Guangdong, Cantonese. In Shanghai, Shanghainese. In Italy, Wenzhounese (lol).
Jun
30
answered Where is 蛮 used, as in the meaning of 'quite'?
Jun
28
comment Should Chinese text be grid aligned in game dialogs?
are you talking about using half-width punctuation or full-width punctuation? perhaps a picture would be clearer...
Jun
28
comment Should Chinese text be grid aligned in game dialogs?
If they're all the same width, they're "aligned to a grid". Notice that many fonts for writing English are not monospaced, and the differing widths cause characters on subsequent lines to be not directly under the characters above them.
Jun
27
comment Tones and syllable structure
@Claw Thanks for fixing my example. Checked tones really work as a pretty broad class of these. Since middle chinese had 8 tone categories (阴平,阳平,阴上,阳上,阴去,阳去,阴入,阳入) and only 2 of them were "checked" (the two 入 categories), the checked tones will be in complementary distribution with something. Of course it depends on how the particular language's tone categories (and syllable structure--e.g., Mandarin has no -p,-t,-k syllables) have changed over time.
Jun
27
comment What does 土 mean in this sentence 这个名字有点土?
(continued from below) @CongXu I brought it up because if you're calling someone unrefined, it's probably because you think they're some yokel local country bumpkin, not because you think that foreign things are better than indigenous ones.
Jun
27
comment What does 土 mean in this sentence 这个名字有点土?
@CongXu I'd like to point out that opposition is not always 土 (indigenous) vs 洋 (foreign). Often it's 土 (local) vs 标准 (standard), as is the case when people talk about accents.
Jun
27
comment Tones and syllable structure
@Claw So they are! Thanks for the info. Anyhow, it's easy to find other examples: In Shanghainese, all of the tones in words with a voiced initial are lower than (although the same "shape" as) the corresponding tones in words with unvoiced initials.
Jun
27
comment What does 土 mean in this sentence 这个名字有点土?
People often refer to country-ass hicks as being very "土"
Jun
27
comment What does 土 mean in this sentence 这个名字有点土?
土 means "local, colloquial, or unrefined" in this context.
Jun
25
comment Tones and syllable structure
Most chinese dialects have a different set of tones for "checked" or "closed" syllables. E.g., in Cantonese, tones 7, 8, and 9 only exist in syllables ending in -p, -t, and -k.
Jun
24
comment Similar pronunciations of tea/茶 across languages
@Cocowalla I didn't mean to imply that no one uses it, just that I personally am unfamiliar with the usage. Cheers :)
Jun
24
comment Similar pronunciations of tea/茶 across languages
@Cocowalla Yes, that's listed in the wiki as well. I didn't include it in my answer because it's a usage I've never heard/used.
Jun
24
answered Similar pronunciations of tea/茶 across languages
Jun
24
comment Similar pronunciations of tea/茶 across languages
Yes, they do. Wikipedia knows all
Jun
23
answered Tones and syllable structure
Jun
22
comment Tones and syllable structure
Yes, but it entirely depends on the dialect!