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    Re: Mid XIX century? Nav
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2005 Nov 22, 08:35 -0500

    Just to stay off topic.  Japanese is supposed not to be tonal, but
    is, at least according to a former professor of mine.
    The beauty of the lack of information in Chinese characters is that
    people who cannot understand each others' spoken language can
    communicate with each other in writing.
    On Nov 22, 2005, at 2:40 AM, Frank Reed wrote:
    > 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.
    > -FER
    > 42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N  72.1W.
    > www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars

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