• Are there any Chinese langauges (topolects/dialects) that have multi-syllablic readings for single Characters?

Like, Japanese, for instance has a lot of multi-syllablic readings for single Characters, e.g.:

もの (mono)

Any Chinese language(s) with this feature?

  • Yes, 多音節漢字. – Stan May 1 '15 at 9:58
  • @Stan 圕 and characters alike are contractions not real polysyllabic characters. It's still only a single syllable, 'tuan'. – imrek May 1 '15 at 10:02

The closest to your idea are the contracted characters, most of them created during the 20th century. Some examples include

  • 圕 tuan1, short for 图书馆

  • 瓩 qian1, short for 千瓦, kilowatt, (where the thousand/kilo part is actually wrapped right to the 瓦 character for aesthetic or 'economic' reasons, despite the fact that the multiplier of quantities always comes first), or

  • 兙 shi2, short for 十克, decagram (same story as 瓩)

  • 浬 li3, short for 海里, nautical mile, yet another contraction.

Some other similar characters have not yet made into the Unicode tables, so you won't find them online.

I think it's important to point out that these are modern day contractions owing to the nature of all language users: trying to be economical in writing. These characters popped up for the same reasons like the dollar sign ($), or the the copyright sign (©) and so on, they are pure abbreviations to save the writer from having to write out multiple characters. I think it's hard to accept them as real multisyllabic characters, mainly because they tend to have a monosyllabic reading, too.

  • 3
    Yeah, I doubt anyone is going to read 甭 bú yòng... – Mou某 May 1 '15 at 11:05

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