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    Re: Transliteration [was Mid XIX century Nav]
    From: Lu Abel
    Date: 2005 Nov 22, 08:28 -0800

    Now that Frank has given it a shot (and Frank's is always one of the
    best on any topic), I'll timorously add some minor comments:
    
    One of the problems in transliterating words from one language to
    another language's alphabet is representing sounds in one language that
    have no correspondence in the other language.
    
    Some examples:
    
    1.  Japanese have trouble distinguishing between the western L and R
    because their R sound is pronounced not with the tongue at the back of
    the mouth as with the western sound, but with it forward like the
    western L.  It's one would roll an R imitating a Scottish accent, but
    without the roll.
    
    2.  Many people who do not have English as their first language have
    trouble with its Th and W sounds, which few other languages have.  On
    the other hand, a host of languages ranging from German to Hebrew have a
      sharp Ch sound and other gutturals that English doesn't have.
    
    3.  I rather strongly suspect that some of the troubles transliterating
    into and back from Russian have the same cause.
    
    Lu Abel
    
    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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