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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.
Jun
3
comment 乐 Le and Yue: When did they diverge?
That sounds like a great piece of info to add to the answer!
Jun
2
comment Why is Zhenya Wang's surname in English “Wang” but sometimes pronounced “Wong”?
@Stan I pronounce "Wong" as [wɔŋ], but some Americans would pronounce it like [wɑŋ]. This is why IPA is pretty important to answer a question like this. Anytime anyone writes "It's pronounced like 'Wong', not 'Wang'", I want to yell, "That doesn't clarify anything!".
Jun
2
comment 乐 Le and Yue: When did they diverge?
Is there some postulated (small) difference in Old Chinese that explains the (large) difference in Middle Chinese? An example of the sort of thing I'm looking for: chinese.stackexchange.com/a/3432/788
May
10
comment How to translate “For all you know”?
@Alenanno No problem :)
May
10
comment How to translate “For all you know”?
@Alenanno good point
Apr
20
comment Does Shanghainese have a buzzing sound & what does it mean?
是 (the copula) is pronounced /z̩/ in Shanghainese. The negative (often written as 伐, though for phonetic reasons only) is pronounced like "vah". So one often hears zzzvuhzzz in the middle of Shanghainese conversations.
Feb
19
comment Dictionary meaning required
@Pedroski That sounds modern to me.
Feb
17
comment Are the Chinese characters really pictorial?
I highly recommend the book Visual Speech. It makes a compelling argument that there have never been any non-phonetic full writing systems. The author was the late sinologist John DeFrancis.
Feb
6
comment Is There A Way To Say “Fro” (as in afro/fro) In Traditional Chinese?
@Danger14 My point is that is that the answer provided an additional work in the traditional, not present in the simplified. Maybe "阿福羅頭" is in common usage in HK... maybe not. Maybe it's in common usage in Taiwan... maybe not. It's not a meaningful claim to say that it's the translation "in Traditional Chinese"--which is simply a character set.
Feb
6
comment Is There A Way To Say “Fro” (as in afro/fro) In Traditional Chinese?
When you say "Simplified" and "Traditional", I take it you mean "Mainland" and "Taiwanese" Mandarin?
Feb
3
comment How to translate “nonsense” into Chinese with precision?
If there's not a particular word that accurately captures the meaning you want, it's always possible to translate using a phrase.
Feb
3
comment How to translate “nonsense” into Chinese with precision?
Orthogonal to your question: The notion that a particular language is incapable of expressing some idea is dubious (at best).
Jan
29
comment 或: how did “region” become “either”?
@WangDingwei 会意字 (characters whose meanings are determined by the meanings of the component parts) are very rare. In order to argue that a character is a 会意字, you need to rule out more likely explanations (e.g., phonetic borrowing). This answer does not do that. Master Sparkles suggested a plausible derivation involving 惑. In 5 minutes of looking around on zdic, I was able to find another plausible derivation involving 域.
Jan
29
comment 或: how did “region” become “either”?
Another explanation is that 或 was the original character for 域 (and presumably the borrowing was phonetic? They're both "hok" in some dialects). Not sure which is more likely.
Jan
29
comment 或: how did “region” become “either”?
I think the obvious guess is that it's a 假借字, borrowed for it's phonetic value alone. After all, "or" (like many grammatical words) is not well suited to drawing a picture of.