Re: tonal language
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 18:40|
On Tuesday, January 11, 2005, at 01:35 , H. S. Teoh wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 08, 2005 at 07:45:18AM +0000, Ray Brown wrote:
>> They are also _diachronically_ unanalyzable, two-syllable words. There
>> a handful of such words, such as:
>> bo1li "grass"
> Surely you mean "glass"?
OOPS!! Yes, I did.
>> They are not and never have been - they are all monomorphemic disyllabic
>> words. They were borrowed at a very early date and the origin of most is
>> either not known or is hypothetical.
> Were they borrowed, or were they actually indigenous words that have
> always been disyllabic?
Who knows? I think it is certain tha some, for example Pu2sa4 (Bodhisattva)
, are borrowings, but - as I said - the origin of many of these words are
either unknown or hypothetical.
>> It is only the traditional written language that adopted the fiction
>> of treating them as two 'quasi-morphemes' , each with the same
>> meaning :)
> Yeah, Chinese writing has the tendency to push the hypothetical ideal
> of one syllable per word a tad too far.
Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]