Skip to main content
11 votes
Accepted

Are `sh` and `x` really different phonemes, or just different realizations of the same phoneme?

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), ...
Stumpy Joe Pete's user avatar
8 votes

What is the right spelling, 乌兹别克 or 乌孜别克?

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 ...
hinen's user avatar
  • 5,886
7 votes

Is Cantonese a better choice in studying classic of poetry (詩經)?

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 ...
Brian Tung's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Why does Mandarin Chinese have a smaller inventory of unique syllables?

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,...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
7 votes
Accepted

Reconstruction of Old Chinese "少"

Baxter–Sagart's (2014:135) view on *s.t-: Preinitial *s- had a range of effects on unaspirated stops and affricates . . . Old Chinese *s.t-, but not *s.tʕ-, evolves to MC sy- (plausibly [ɕ]), ...
L Parker's user avatar
  • 5,605
6 votes
Accepted

How to read these vowel diagrams?

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 ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 22.7k
6 votes
Accepted

Pronunciation of 什么

Zhang and Yang (2007:157–165) classifies consonantal assimilation (輔音同化) in Mandarin into three types: Progressive assimilation (前化後, lit. prior converts latter) Regressive assimilation (後化前, lit. ...
L Parker's user avatar
  • 5,605
6 votes
Accepted

jiu3 pronounced as jiu4 ; linked speech feature or slip of the tongue?

jiu3 pronounced as jiu4 It is very prominently pronounced with a descending glissando. It is a distinct 4th tone, phonetically. This is not true. Tone 4 is high and descending. It has no turning up, ...
lilysirius's user avatar
  • 4,485
5 votes
Accepted

Can Chinese words start with a vowel?

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
Archeosudoerus's user avatar
5 votes

Can Chinese words start with a vowel?

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 /i⁵...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 22.7k
5 votes
Accepted

鉛 Reading Phonology

Bu (2018, p. 75-76) contests that changed to avoid confusion among minerals: These two characters are excellent examples of phono-semantic dissimilation because each has an potentially ambiguous ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 36k
5 votes
Accepted

What is a good Chinese Grammar book?

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide may fit your criteria. It provides all simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, pinyin, and English for most of its examples. However, while I ...
Aries332's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Taiwanese Guoyu vs. Putonghua 阴平/阳平 tone split?

In this case, all of the characters were not even 平声 at all in Middle Chinese, but were all 入声 instead [Wiktionary's IPA]: 夹 (夾) /kˠɛp̚/ 扎 /t͡ʃˠɛt̚/ 击 (擊) /kek̚/ 息 /sɨk̚/ All of ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 6,631
4 votes

Are `sh` and `x` really different phonemes, or just different realizations of the same phoneme?

Here is another input. I learnt some Chinese linguistics in a course in university. In my opinion, with historical evidence, they could be different phonemes. In my following text, IPA is used in ...
Daniel Cheung's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between voiced and "unaspirated" consonants and how can I check if I got it correct?

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 ...
Stumpy Joe Pete's user avatar
4 votes

Are there any pre-modern/non-romanization examples of attempts to alphabetize Chinese?

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: ...
米好 '-''s user avatar
  • 1,660
4 votes
Accepted

What is this “XX” 開 “#” “上/平/入/去” “XX” method for describing character pronunciation?

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 ...
水巷孑蠻's user avatar
  • 15.8k
4 votes

How do Chinese call the sound "i"

In phonology, the "clean i" sound, IPA /i/, is called "close front unrounded vowel", which, in Chinese is called: 闭前不圆唇元音 The "dirty i" instead, as I learned it, should ...
blackgreen's user avatar
  • 5,452
4 votes
Accepted

How to create a Chinese sentence using multiple different meanings of the same sounding word?

Yes you are right. Chinese is a high context language. Chinese has much more homophones than English and a lot of other language. However, most of the homophones don't need context to understand. ...
Havier's user avatar
  • 1,252
4 votes

What’s the deal with the xing-type readings for 行?

to start-- there is no official answer, because we don't actually know how middle chinese sounded. we have educated guesses, but its always good to keep in mind that at least some of the world's ...
zagrycha's user avatar
  • 2,443
4 votes
Accepted

What’s the deal with the xing-type readings for 行?

TL;DR: vowel shift + possible colloquial-literary split. 行 has the reading 戸庚切 relevant to this meaning of "to walk", reconstructed as /ɦaɨjŋ/ by Pulleybank and /ɦˠæŋ/ by Zhengzhang. The ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 6,631
3 votes

Chinese views on Erhua

I would like to add that there are some words in which 儿化 (erhua) optional and other words in which it is necessary. For example, earlier today I heard a Chinese person tell his friend that he had to ...
Ahmed Abdul Ghani's user avatar
3 votes

Is there a chart of all possible Chinese syllables using Hanzi?

I have put together an eleven-page Excel spreadsheet listing all Mandarin syllables. If there is any interest, I'll speed up my proofreading and make it generally available. Comments are welcome. My ...
Robert MATTHEWS 馬學進's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Can a neutral tone appear on a non-final syllable?

Taking the definition of "word" as "an entry in CC-CEDICT", the answer to the first question is Yes. I have a little script (I could share it if there's any interest) that I adapt to go through CC-...
goPlayerJuggler's user avatar
3 votes

Why does Mandarin Chinese have a smaller inventory of unique syllables?

I think this is a result of the underlying assumptions made in a language. Case: if you assume case is necessary, you need to differentiate each noun and adjective for case, that is declension. If you ...
Pedroski's user avatar
  • 18.5k
3 votes
Accepted

What does the inital /dⁿ/ stand for?

It's the IPA diacritic for the nasal release from a stopped consonant: Quoting right from that Wikipedia page: That is, the /d/ is released directly into the /n/: [ˈsʌdⁿn̩]. Where [ˈsʌdⁿn̩] is the ...
blackgreen's user avatar
  • 5,452
3 votes

What's the exact realization of Chinese glides (in medial position)?

The distinction between [pʲu] пю and [pju] пью for a Russian speaker may be very salient, but for the majority of Mandarin learners of Russian, it is a very difficult one to pick up. That is because ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 6,631
3 votes

How to create a Chinese sentence using multiple different meanings of the same sounding word?

I had a few like that in old emails, can't find them now. Found this one: 《施氏食狮史》的文言文短文内容是什么 【原文】石室诗士施氏,嗜狮,誓食十狮。适施氏时时适市视狮。十时,适十狮适市。是时,适施氏适市。氏视是十狮,恃矢势,使是十狮逝世。氏拾是十狮尸,适石室。石室湿,氏使侍拭石室。石室拭,氏始试食是十狮尸。食时,...
Pedroski's user avatar
  • 18.5k
3 votes
Accepted

How can learner distinguish 察館 vs. 茶館 in Mandarin phonetically?

In standard mandarin: 茶館 pinyin: cháguǎn In standard mandarin: 察館 pinyin: cháguǎn IPA for both: t͡ɕa̠kã̠ɴ In standard mandarin there is no difference as they are homophones, pronounced exactly the ...
zagrycha's user avatar
  • 2,443

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