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Re: OFF: More Pinyin reform...

From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Thursday, February 24, 2000, 18:02
On Thu, 24 Feb 2000 10:49:11 CST, Daniel A. Wier <dawier@...> wrote:

> 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). (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.)
>If <e> (schwa) is unwritten, then the following 'rhymes' (syllable-final >groups) would result: > >e > zero (just the initial consonant) >en > n >eng > ng >er > r (this never has an initial consonant)
>_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! > >Oh yeah, and there's also _rer_. Cute. > >(If you were to eliminate back <e> as I suggested earlier, you'd have _qr_, >_jr_, _xr_... and _rr_!)
- A problem with all this: how do you distinguish _er_ from _re_, and _en_ from _ne_? BTW, Pinyin also allows for suffixed _r_: _mianr_, _haohaorde_, and the like. The syllable-initial _r_ in Putonghua differs a lot from the syllable-final one. The latter sometimes originates from _l_ (_nar_ = _nali_, etc.). Write it _l_?
>Next, the diphthong <ao> would be replaced by <au>; I just like it better, >and it's more phonetically accurate. (Except the <ao> digraph makes it
>distinctively 'Chinese' when read...)
>Another change. Get rid of <ong> and make it <ung>. It's more accurate >anyway, and it's written in Bopomofo as <u-eng>. Likewise, <iong>, which
>marked in Bopomofo as <ü-eng>, should be <üng>, or better yet <iung> (see >the next paragraph).
The authors of Pinyin had the concern than *handwritten* _n_ and _u_ look alike, and tried to avoid using _u_ where a confusion was possible. Kinda parallel to English spellings like _some_, _world_, _money_, etc. Are spelling rules of anybody's conlang influenced by this type of concerns, I wonder? Basilius