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Re: OFF: More Pinyin reform...

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Thursday, February 24, 2000, 18:09
"Daniel A. Wier" wrote:

> There are two <e>'s -- a back one (similar to a schwa) and a front one. The > 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).
So "ne nen" is to be written "n nn", or even "nnn"? Please! :-)
> (The tone marker could be > placed over the nasal -- but I'm thinking of marking tone to the right of > the syllable and not over the vowel/sonorant.)
James Carter, the inventor of -gua!spi, holds with writing the tone mark to the *left*, on the ground that it's the first thing you need to know. In his notation, - is (Mandarin) tone 1 and ! is tone 4, so now you know how to say "-gua!spi".
> Labials (b p f m) cannot be followed by <u> and another vowel.
That is because they are already, well, labialized. Thus buo /bw@/ is written bo.
> Alveolar sibilants (z c s) cannot be followed by <i> and another vowel. > Retroflexes (zh ch sh r) cannot be followed by <i> and another vowel. > Palatized sibilants (j q x) must be followed by <i> (or <ü>, u-umlaut, but I > changed it to <iu> as above). > Velars (g k h) cannot be followed by <i> and another vowel.
This is the famous phoneme collapse that makes it so difficult to give a satisfyingly final phonemic analysis of Mandarin.
> So could it be possible to merge the palatals with one of the other three > sets?
The Pinyin notation chooses to (semi-)merge the retroflexes with the alveolars, on the grounds that the further you get from Beijing, the more these are merged anyhow. -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)