From: Michael Maxwell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Jan 25 2007 - 11:41:42 CST
William J Poser wrote:
> > In writing Cantonese the basic principle is that if the morpheme is
> > cognate to its Mandarin counterpart it will be written with
> > the same character but if it is not cognate a distinct character
> > will be used.
> > For example, the 1st person pronouns Cantonese ngo,
> > Mandarin wo, and the 2nd person pronouns, Cantonese le,
> > Mandarin ni, are cognate and
> > are written with the same characters, but the third person
> > pronouns, Cantonese keoi, mandarin ta, are not cognate so
> > keoi is written with a "non-standard" character (U+4F62).
Is this something that is taught to Cantonese speakers in schools? I can't imagine the average person on the street knowing which of these words are cognate.
John H. Jenkins:
> Exactly, which is why there are relatively few
> Cantonese-specific sinograms. Almost everything in the
> Cantonese lexicon is cognate with Mandarin words.
I was just talking with a Chinese speaker of Cantonese and Mandarin (parents were Cantonese, baby sitter was Mandarin). He was saying that for some small number of Cantonese words, one used a character for a Mandarin word that sounded something like the Cantonese word, preceded by a radical meaning "mouth". He said there were several variants on this idea--extra strokes, or another radical. Apparently it's not common, but "everybody" knows the words for which this is done. Comments? (And in Unicode, is this done with a separate Unicode character for the 'mouth' radical, or is there a combined Cantonese character? Or is there any way to do it?)
(Apologies if this is getting too far off the topic for this list--I'd be glad to take it off-line, if people want us to do so.)
CASL/ U Md
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> Subject: Re: writing Chinese dialects
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