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    Re: Mid XIX century? Nav
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2005 Nov 22, 02:40 EST

    Fred, you wrote:
    "Chinese and Japanese are also tonal languages, which  cannot be
    conveyed by our alphabet."
    To represent (putonghua) Chinese  with the western alphabet requires only
    four little accent markers to accomodate  those tones. You are correct that these
    are technically additions to the  alphabet, but it's really not difficult. In
    theory, that is. The process of  *learning* these tones can be arduous, but
    writing them and recognizing them in  print is easy and an accurate
    representation of the spoken language --so  accurate that these systems are used and
    taught by many Chinese people. By  contrast, the Chinese written language carries
    almost no information about  pronunciation.
    Japanese, by the way, is not tonal, and it can be written  very easily with a
    subset of the western alphabet.
    Sorry for being off-topic.
    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N  72.1W.

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