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Re: OFF: More Pinyin reform...

From:DOUGLAS KOLLER <laokou@...>
Date:Friday, February 25, 2000, 20:14
From: "Daniel A. Wier"

> There are two <e>'s -- a back one (similar to a schwa) and a front one.
> latter only occurs in <ie>, but the two could be set apart by writing the > 'real e' as <eh>. However, I've also toyed with writing NO vowel for the > 'schwa e' and using <e> for the fronted version. So _be_ ends up as just > _b_, and _sheng_ becomes _shng_ (see below).
Why the need to disambiguate here since these sounds occur in mutually exclusive environments?
> But for now, let <e> be <e>; <ie> could be <ieh> or <ie>.
That's probably good, since there are words like "e2", "goose", and "e4", "hungry" which you'll have to deal with separately if you use zero for schwa.
> _chi_ becomes _qi_, _zhi_ becomes _ji_, and _shi_ becomes _xi_ -- but > there's already a _qi_, _ji_ and _shi_! What do we do? Remember that > lonely <er> syllable which never begins with anything? Turns out that the > <i> after retroflexes sounds like English "er", and Mandarin has the same > value for <er>. So let that be our new vowel! Now we have _qer_, _jer_
> _xer_; no more ambiguity!
But it creates new ones. The "er" in "er2qie3", "and", and "er2zi", "son" does not sound the same as the "i" in "zhi1", which you would render as "jer". Too, how to disambiguate "zher4", "here", and "zhi4", "until", both of which look like they'll be rendered as "jer" in your system.
> (If you were to eliminate back <e> as I suggested earlier, you'd have
> _jr_, _xr_... and _rr_!)
Pity the poor general reader who might encounter one of these in "Time Magazine". Hu Shi, the celebrated scholar, becomes Hu Xr. Go ahead, Mom, try and pronounce that. I dare ya, I *double* dare ya. I'd be interested in seeing your scheme in toto, but it seems that by solving a problem or disambiguating in one area, you trade in for a new set of problems or ambiguities elsewhere. Kou