Re: writing Chinese dialects

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Mon Jan 29 2007 - 12:04:04 CST

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    On Jan 29, 2007, at 6:27 AM, Michael Maxwell wrote:

    > Again, a question (and feel free to take this off-line, as it's
    > getting away from Unicode): When we run into a new place name on a
    > map in a language that uses an alphabetic script, pronouncing the
    > name is just a matter of sounding out the letters (unless it's a
    > Welsh name :-)). But what do people do when they run into these
    > Chinese characters in place names? They weren't taught all of them
    > in school, were they? (If they were, then I would have thought that
    > getting them into Unicode would have happened long ago, because it
    > would have been a simple matter of looking at the school
    > textbooks.) Or do people just learn a new character, without any
    > pronunciation??

    My protoyptical example here is U+40DF 䃟, which is used in Hong Kong
    place name. It has a Cantonese reading in the Unihan database, but
    that is really just an educated guess by Hong Kong natives. I've yet
    to run into anyone who knows from personal experience how it ought to
    be pronounced.

    So people learn a new character and are either are told the
    pronunciation or have to guess it based on the character's phonetic.

    John H. Jenkins

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