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19

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,...


19

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 ...


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 ...


11

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 ...


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,...


9

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

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; ...


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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

BTW, I have Schuessler's book, and the transcription shown in parentheses after the character indicates the Middle Chinese rather than Old Chinese pronunciation, so ńźi refers to MC rather than OC pronunciation. Back to your question, it's important to note that initial ńź- is being used as a transcription rather than an indication of the actual ...


5

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 different options ...


4

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:...


4

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 ...


4

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 ...


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 ...


3

You can try 乡音苑(phonemica), it has dialects map in both English and Chinese, maybe you can find isogloss maps.


3

Does the Beijing-R mean anything? I happened to have lunch the other day with some university students, a couple of Guangdongers and a Shanghainese, in one of those Rolex-Louis Vuitton malls that clutter central Beijing, the kind where shopgirls outnumber customers 23 to 1 on gleaming floor after floor of luxury goods, until you get to the food court and ...


3

There are two issues here: [x] or [χ]?: Who cares? You could pronounce pinyin "h" in a variety of ways without impeding understanding (e.g., [h], [x], or [χ]). I think [χ] is a better description of my experience with pinyin "h", but this isn't a big deal. [ɤ] is the voiced velar fricative, right? Nope! You're confusing two very graphically similar symbols....


3

Standard Chinese does contain voiceless velar fricative [x] but no voiced velar fricative [ɣ]. Actually Standard Chinese has only one voiced consonant [ʐ]. However, many Mandarin speakers especially those from southern China would pronounce [x] as [h], and speakers of northern China would tend to practice [x]. If you take [h] for [x], people will not ...


3

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 table includes: (1) A representative character for each common syllable (HSK 1~4) (2) A number [but no character] for rare syllables (3) A hash mark for non-...


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