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comment Which dialect of Chinese has the fewest tones?
@wpt There are 5 different phonetic realizations, but in all but one case, you can predict which one to use entirely on the basis of the voicing of the initial and whether there's a final stop. So there's only a 2-way distinction that phonemic--阴平 vs everything else.
Jul
25
comment What is the difference between 好多 vs. 很多?
Humorous example of how interchangeable 好 is for 很: 你好坏哦!
Jul
23
comment Etymologically Correct Character For The Sichuanese ‘niang’ Meaning “What”
@S.Rhee It'd be nice to have IPA for it. Given that 四川話 is famous for it's n-l merger, it's hard to know whether it's phonetically an [l] or an [n] from that.
Jul
23
comment Etymologically Correct Character For The Sichuanese ‘niang’ Meaning “What”
@S.Rhee Do we know how that's actually pronounced? I presume that 啷 is another phonetic rendering (like 娘), so this might support my answer.
Jul
23
comment Character 瞓: where did the pronunciations come from?
@無色受想行識 I'd also like to see Claw's response to your question. However, I think you're using an incorrect definition of "regular sound change". "Regular" doesn't mean "unconditional"; your proposal that "certain vowels and finals conditioned the sound change" is an example of regular sound change.
Jul
23
comment Character: “Kei” For “To Go” (去) In Sichuanese
@Claw Just curious: was there a pattern to which remained and which became h?
Jul
23
comment What is the origin of the word 雪茄 (cigar)?
Welcome to Chinese Stack Exchange; have an upvote! In the future (once you pass 15 points), you can comment on other people's posts. This answer is somewhat slim and might do better as either a comment on or an edit to the other answer that indirectly suggests that 雪茄 entered via Wu. Alternately, you could expand your answer (e.g., with similar background to the other one along with sourced transcriptions of 雪茄 into some Wu dialect).
Jul
23
comment Etymologically Correct Character For The Sichuanese ‘niang’ Meaning “What”
Not an answer, but a suggested resource: The 方言词汇 is a spectacular book, including surveys of common vocab across many dialects, using etymologically correct character choices (or commenting when one is not easily available). For example, 东西 will be listed in the various 吴 dialects as 物事, along with a pronunciation (~meh zy), rather than picking characters that sound like the pronunciation (e.g., 么子).
Jul
12
comment Alternative notations for Cantonese tones
@JackMaddington Also, since you seem confused about the "9 tones", I should note that there are 3 other "allotones" for syllables ending in -p,-t,-k. For example, sīk has a different tone contour than sī. Similarly for si and sik and for sih and sihk. However, these tone differences are never contrastive (i.e., if the syllable ends in a stop consonant, then the contour is one way, if they don't, then it's the other way), so all the romanizations I listed don't make the distinction--they treat sihk as the same tone as sih, etc.
Jul
12
comment Alternative notations for Cantonese tones
@JackMaddington Yale distinguishes the high-level and high-falling (both #1 in all systems) with tone marks (e.g., sī vs sì). Neither of the other systems do. It should be noted that in HK Cantonese, those two tones have merged, and so they don't need to be distinguished in writing.
Jul
11
comment The two pronunciations of 粘
@wpt Thanks for the info :)
Jul
8
comment Why do some Chinese characters have multiple simplified variants?
Answer very unclear. Which characters are you referring to?
Jul
7
comment Were 蒸 and 祯 homonyms?
FWIW: One middle-chinese reconstruction gives 蒸 = tɕiəŋ and 禎 = ȶiɛŋ. Not identical, but close (slight change in vowel quality, affricate vs stop).
Jul
1
comment What does this character mean? 
Could you provide a picture? It doesn't render in my browser, and when cutting and pasting into Unihan and such, it resolves to the codepoint U+F604, which is "not in unihan" and "not a valid unicode character".
Jun
15
comment Chinese proverb: If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the younger generation?
Some more info that might make for a reopen+answer: Earliest English reference I can find is 1996 "Know Stress to No Stress". The quote takes a slightly different form. I also found a Chinese source wondering where it came from, as well as some translations into Chinese that ante-date the 1996 book.
Jun
5
comment 說-speak? why translated as pleasant?
Are you familiar with the idea of a "just so story"? It's common to see characters that were formed in a simple phonetic+radical way (形声字), but sound changes have completely obscured the phonetic. A long time after the fact, people want an explanation for why the character is that way. The true answer is simply "the phonetic", but people come up with elaborate stories to explain the semantic meaning of the character, as if they were 会意字. This is true in other languages too--see false etymology.
Jun
5
comment 說-speak? why translated as pleasant?
I think the why was just pronunciation (说 and 悦 used to have a similar pronunciation, which is why they share a phonetic component). The meanings of explanations and happiness are just made up.
Jun
4
comment Is there a difference between 復習 and 複習?
Excellent answer.
Jun
4
comment Sichuanese: When Is First Tone 55 Vs. 45?
Also, there are like 3 tone change rules listed. If you copy and translate them here, your answer will be really valuable to anyone searching about Sichuanese tone changes.
Jun
3
comment “Thank you” in Tibetan, Cantonese, and Mandarin
I don't understand Tibetan, but I highly doubt that Tibetan "thank you" is cognate to either Chinese expression. The wiktionary page gives the transliteration "thugs rje che". Regardless of the modern pronunciation, or how the third syllable factors into this, the "thugs" part strongly implies that (at least at some point in time), the first syllable ended in a velar. 多 did not ever have such a final, even in Old Chinese.