21

I took the CEDICT file and wrote a script on it. The file has 113k dictionary entries, so it covers a very large portion of the Chinese vocabulary. There are 1522 different pinyin syllables in CEDICT, when you distinguish tone numbers (like, ma1, ma2, ma3, ma4, ma). If you do not care about tone numbers, you'll get 413 syllables (ma, mo, mi, etc.) Here's ...


20

Even for educated Chinese people who know English fairly well, they do not use the same method that native English speakers use (the one mentioned in your question). The common methods Chinese use include: 1 - Read a small sequence of letters from the alphabet that contains the letter in question. “Theodore怎么拼?” “T-H-...” “等一下,是T还是P” “T,R-S-T的T" 2 - ...


18

Linguists divide pre-modern Chinese broadly into two periods: Old Chinese and Middle Chinese. I wanted to preface my answer by noting that Bernhard Karlgren used the term "Ancient Chinese" to refer specifically to Middle Chinese, and it appears that your questions seem to be referring to Middle Chinese as well, though I will be making a note about Old ...


12

So time for an update… If you want to play by the books, biang is not a permissible syllable. If you are concerned with what comes out of a speaker’s mouth, syllables like nim (contraction of 你們) are even possible, although they are technically surface realizations of a phonology that does not allow such syllables. The surprising fact is that iang as a rime ...


11

Modern Chinese has underwent many pronunciation changes since characters were first invented and phonetic components often reflect words as they were pronounced in Old Chinese rather than modern Chinese. The pronunciations of 的 and 勺 were much more similar in Old Chinese. This link explains: 的 and 勺 had roughly similar pronunciations in Old Chinese; ...


11

As Maroon points out in a comment, you have to say which dialect you are asking about. This answer is for Standard Chinese, aka Mandarin. It also depends on what sort of stuff you include. Counting the distinct lines in the syllable index of the Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary, I get 420 "lines" but this includes some very marginal stuff such as tei, kei,...


10

The shapes of Isogloss maps are generally identical to those of dialect maps. So I think this could give you some clues. Below is a sample for isogloss maps(from http://www.yupoo.com/photos/9919/7485900/) More of them: Suggestion: For more information about isogloss maps, visit http://image.baidu.com/ and type in "同言线". Further reading: http://book....


9

This is a classic problem with defining phonemes. Looking for "complementary distribution" of sounds does not uniquely determine a phonological analysis. In Mandarin (I'll use pinyin here), the palatal set of consonants (j,q,x) is in complementary distribution with all of the following sets: zh, ch, sh z, c, s g, k, h This gives you three ...


8

A quick browse on Google Scholar yields a few results. Macau Cantonese appears to be intermediate between Zhongshan Cantonese and Hong Kong Cantonese. There is only one rising tone derived from Middle Chinese 上聲, which is pronounced closer to the lower one of Guangzhou and Hong Kong Cantonese. This brings it closer to Zhongshan Cantonese. However, this high ...


8

It's not just Cantonese. In Taiwanese Minnan (which does also preserve the labial final -m, usually), the finals of 法、凡、品 have also become alveolar. Also, most Hakka varieties have made the final of 品 alveolar too. This phenomenon is examined in p.258 under "Long-distance C..C effects", in the chapter on "Consonant-vowel interaction in Cantonese" by Moira ...


8

As a Mandarin native speaker I pronounce 道 exactly same as 到,稻。 I pronounce the initial d exactly same as in dog or dad. I also pronounce t exactly in the same way for stop. The native English pronunciation of dog and stop might be different, but to my ESL ears, they are exactly same. Added: Here is a video teaching Pinyin Mandarin Chinese Pinyin ...


8

1934年,盛世才召開新疆第二次民眾大會,確定烏孜別克族為正式族名,把國外的烏孜別克族依然寫作烏茲別克。 In 1934, 盛世才 held the second public meeting in Xinjiang, determining 乌孜别克 (wū zī bié kè) as the official ethnic name, and the foreign Uzbek still writing as 乌兹别克. Therefore, 乌孜别克 usually refers to the race in China. But, many people still use 乌兹别克 interchangeably, as shown in the government web page. ...


7

Biang is an interesting character, being absent in many dictionaries, and having an unverified origin. I don't think it being uncommon is reason enough to consider its pronunciation to be non-standard, however. There are quite a few characters that have very uncommon pronunciations, so much so that for the rare ones, most native speakers would also find them ...


7

Cantonese might preserve more sound distinctions than Mandarin, but they're both derived (as are most, though not all, modern dialects) from Middle Chinese. The current consensus, arrived at slowly over decades, appears to be that Old Chinese was toneless; this doesn't mean that predecessors of the entering "tone" didn't exist, but there were more endings ...


6

As you probably know, in China they use pinyin to describe the pronunciation. Dictionaries will normally always mention the pinyin for the characters. Here you can find the link between pinyin and IPA: http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp052_chinese_ipa.pdf http://talkbank.org/pinyin/Trad_chart_IPA.php http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:...


6

Voiceless: Pinyin h is standardly the voiceless velar fricative [x], although it is often written [χ] for some reason — Chinese IPA developed its own transcriptional traditions, for instance the use of [ɒ] where [ɑ] might be more usual, in the mid-twentieth century. However, there's no systematic contrast between [x] and [χ] in standard Mandarin, and ...


6

In pronouncing any given vowel, the recorded frequency spectrum will show distinct amplitude peaks (of the frequency spectrum). These peaks are called formants, and it is commonly accepted that the two lowest frequency formants taken together are enough to characterise the vowel. The first formant F1 is the lowest frequency formant, and the second formant F2 ...


5

It's quite clear that there is no difference between "Ẓ" and "ẓ" in the 1987 成都话方言词典 as you have shown. If you look at page 26 of the dictionary, you can see everything that starts with "ẓ" in the particular Chengdu Pinyin system that they have, listed from ẓán to ẓùn. Really then, this is a typographical question. Looking at the page, you see that there's ...


5

As an addendum, two brief comments regarding how tones are reflected in the languages that borrowed a lot of vocabulary from Chinese: According to the Wikipedia page on ‘Sino-Xenic pronunciations’, “[m]ost Middle Chinese tones were preserved in the tones of Middle Korean, but these have since been lost in all but a few dialects.” The source cited seems ...


5

Are there any erhua-ed words that has a different meaning from the not "erhualess" word? Yes, many, categorized as follows: Nominalization (convert to noun), e.g. 盖 (to cover) -> 盖儿 (lid), 尖 (pointy) -> 尖儿 (tip) Generalization, e.g. 眼 (eye) -> 眼儿 (hole), Derivation, e.g. 白面 (white flour) -> 白面儿 (drug) Word simplification by replacing the last character ...


5

From San Duanmu, The Phonology of Standard Chinese: While Middle Chinese (about AD 600) had over 3,000 syllables (including tonal distinctions), modern Standard Chinese (SC) has just over 1,300. Thus, over a period of 1,500 years, Chinese lost more than half of its syllables. Moreover, the syllable inventory of modern Chinese continues to shrink. In ...


4

It is different from place to place, and there is no standard. Normally, it won't appear in official announcements, laws, scientific publications, etc. But it is widely used in daily life. For native Chinese, when we move from one place to another, even if it is nearer, we still need time to get use to it, at the same time when we get use to the local ...


4

Disagree on FortCpp's answer. Surely Beijing dialect is not putonghua, none dialect is considered as putonghua if you put it this way. I'd say Beijing dialect is very close(if not the most) to putonghua. Back to the question, erhua is part of the putonghua standard, no question about that. For instance, "小孩" sounds (really) strange without a '儿', in ...


4

these're codified verse, each character represent a "value" of particular "property", 廣韻 is the origin. 逼 曾開三入職幫 逼 the character looked up 曾 one of sixteen 韻攝 開 開口音 (開 for 開口音, or 合 for 合口音) 三 等第 (一, 二, 三 or 四) 入 entering tone, 聲調 tones (平, 上, 去 or 入) 職 this one is 韻目 (slightly different from 韻母 finals, there're 206 韻目 in 廣韻 幫 it's 聲母 ...


4

Yes, there was such an attempt during the Yuan dynasty. The 'Phags-pa script was created for writing languages that were under control of Yuan, including Chinese: The 'Phags-pa script (Mongolian: дөрвөлжин үсэг "Square script") is an alphabet designed by the Tibetan monk and State Preceptor (later Imperial Preceptor) Drogön Chögyal Phagpa for Kublai Khan, ...


4

Voice-Onset Time As you probably already know, the distinction between voiced vs unvoiced-unaspirated vs unvoiced-aspirated is the relative timing of articulation and voicing (called voice-onset time or VOT): Voiced stops have a negative VOT (i.e., the voicing begins before articulation) Unvoiced-unaspirated (sometimes called "lenis") stops have ...


4

There are some Mandarin Chinese Pinyin sequences which consistently start with a vowel. As mentioned in the comments, these have a Pinyin representation which starts with y or w: 義, Pinyin yì, IPA /i⁵¹/ (starts off with /i/, the close front unrounded vowel) 完, Pinyin wán, IPA /u̯a̠n³⁵/ (starts off with a dipthong containing /u/, the close back rounded vowel)...


4

The only cases I can think about are: 安 an 饿 e 耳 er 啊 a o 哦 ou 欧 ai 爱 ao 奥 en 恩 All examples may have multiple cases under different tones


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible