[lit-ideas] Re: Chinese -- ??

  • From: "Julie Krueger" <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 13:56:50 -0500

Amusing....however, you now have caused me to begin to identify more clearly
my questions re. the far-Eastern languages. Thank you.  And my apologies in
advance <g>.

Julie Krueger

On 6/27/07, wokshevs@xxxxxx <wokshevs@xxxxxx> wrote:

John --

That an indeed was education.

Many thankings by me of your person.

Walter O.
Cosmopolitan Translation Services
Three Rivers, QC




Quoting John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>:

> Hi, Julie,
>
> I learned both kinds of Chinese before Japanese. Before then I had
> studied Latin, German and French, but none had stuck very well because
> I treated the classes like classes, cramming for tests instead of the
> practice, practice, practice serious language learning requires.
>
> Chinese helped me learn to read Japanese but not to speak it. Japanese
> is written in a combination of three scripts, two syllabaries and,
> yes, Chinese characters, Chinese having been the first written
> language that Japanese were exposed to. A lot of vocabulary coined
> during the 19th and 20th centuries uses the same characters: for
> example, Chinese "zhengzhi" and Japanese "seiji" are both written with
> the same characters and both mean "government." Ditto for Chinese
> "jingji" and Japanese "keizai" both of which mean "economics," so
> people who can read Chinese may be able to puzzle out what Japanese
> newspaper headlines say.
>
> Chinese and Japanese are, however, radically spoken languages. Chinese
> is, tones apart, a lot like English. The basic sentence pattern is
> Subject-Verb-Object (SOV) and words are uninflected. In Japanese the
> basic sentence pattern is Subject-Object-Verb (SVO) and verbs are
> highly inflected with different forms depending on tense and register.
> Another thing that takes getting used to when an English-speaker
> studies Japanese is that relative clauses are left instead of
> right-branching. So, for example, instead of "The cat who chased the
> rat who ate the cheese," we'd say, in effect, "The cheese <object
> marker> ate rat <object marker>chased cat."
>
> In terms of phonology, Chinese has tones, Japanese doesn't. What
> Japanese has  waiting for the unwary English speaker is phonemic vowel
> and consonant doubling. So that, for instance, "biru" means "building"
> and "biiru" means "beer." "Komon" means "advisor" and "koomon" means
> "rectum."
>
> Hope this helps.
>
> John
>
>
> On 6/27/07, Julie Krueger <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > Okay, so Mensa would be Kindergarten to you.  And I retarded.
> >
> > This list blows me away daily.
> >
> > Re. how different is different -- I think it's more a matter of kind
of
> > difference rather than degree --
> >
> >  I am fluent in Spanish and French.  I can understand Italian very
well --
> > it's like a sub-dialect to me -- something akin to a New Yorker
hearing
> > someone from Alabama and understanding most of it.  Most
Spanish-speaking
> > people I know (those whose native language is Spanish, i.e.),
understand
> > Portuguese with ease.  I have a very difficult time understanding more
> than
> > a syllable or two out of a Portuguese sentence.  I have yet to figure
this
> > one out...
> >
> > My interest is now piqued re. Japanese and Chinese -- I know the
> alphabetics
> > are very different; that symbols represent words, not letters, not
> > phonetics. (Did you learn Japanese or Chinese first?  Did knowledge of
one
> > make the learning of the other easier? It absolutely must have...)   I
> know
> > that in the Chinese dialects the tonality is crucial.  Not sure where
> Korean
> > fits in linguistically -- I had a friend in College who was from Korea
and
> > spoke only halting English -- I attempted to learn the language from
her,
> > but she moved to NY too soon -- my recollection is that the Korean
script
> > was more similar to the Chinese than the Japanese.  The difference
between
> > the written and the aural language is not to be minimized, however, in
my
> > POV.  I can read Portuguese more easily than understand it spoken, e.g
.
> >
> > And then, for several reasons, it has become something of interest to
me
> to
> > compare the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.  So similar to
> > Westerners, I suppose, and as far apart as any European countries
could
> get.
> >
> > Brimming with questions, not sure where to start, but with one
pragmatic
> > application for all of this ...
> >
> >
> > Julie Krueger
> >
> >
> > On 6/27/07, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > >
> > > Julie,
> > >
> > > I read Chinese and speak (though not as well as I once could) two
> > > Chinese languages, Mandarin and Amoy Hokkien (the native language of
> > > most Taiwanese). In Shanghai the local language is a member of the
Wu
> > > cluster of dialects. How different is different?
> > >
> > > Suppose I want to say "How are you?"
> > >
> > > Mandarin: Ni hao ma?
> > > Hokkien: Li ho bo?
> > > Shanghainese: Nong ho va?
> > >
> > > There are also the tones to worry about. Mandarin has four, Hokkien
7
> > > (5 for open syllables, two for closed syllables), and Shanghainese,
I
> > > don't know.
> > >
> > > Cheers,
> > >
> > > John
> > >
> > > On 6/27/07, Julie Krueger <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > > > Does anyone "here" read Chinese?  I realize there are fairly
> substantial
> > > > differences among dialects -- Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. -- the
> missives
> > I'm
> > > > receiving are from Shanghai .... I have no grasp of what the
> linguistic
> > > > situation is there ....
> > > >
> > > > Julie Krueger
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > John McCreery
> > > The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
> > > Tel. +81-45-314-9324
> > > http://www.wordworks.jp/
> > >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------
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> > >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> John McCreery
> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
> Tel. +81-45-314-9324
> http://www.wordworks.jp/
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
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>



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