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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 >> are >> 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.
Yep. Ray =============================================== =============================================== 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" ]