Download PDF by William C. Hannas: Asia's Orthographic Dilemma

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By William C. Hannas

ISBN-10: 0824818423

ISBN-13: 9780824818425

This paintings examines using chinese language characters in East Asia. It tackles the difficulty from many alternative views, alongside the best way deflating a number of well known fallacies.

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Extra resources for Asia's Orthographic Dilemma

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The sound of the equivalent Japanese word) was read off as such but interpreted phonetically, without regard to its lexical meaning, to represent Japanese grammar particles. For example, was read niwa for postpositions ni plus wa; the kun meaning “garden” is irrelevant. 8 Characters used in this latter fashion became known as manyògana from the name of the anthology plus kana (lit. “borrowed name,” from kari na > kanna > kana > -gana). Manyògana developed in two directions. 9 Originally a given Japanese syllablesound had several character representations.

Think about this for a moment. Those of us who are used to the Japanese writing system and accustomed to its foibles tend to become inured to how absurd this whole thing has become. 2 Others get so wrapped up in the orthographic meander- Japanese 29 ings that they imagine there is some redeeming pedagogical value in all of this, instead of seeing it for what it is: a hopeless mismatch, which requires glosses of glosses to work and which has wrecked the Japanese language to the extent that its users have been able to make it work.

Quite the contrary: because of the high level of graphic redundancy, users had every incentive to cut down wherever they could on the number of graphs written to convey an idea, reducing the serial (and hence phonetic) redundancy of a string even further. Morphemes, which may or may not be words, came to be used in written texts in place of whole words. Thanks to kambun, the whole corpus of Sinitic terms, which today accounts for more than half of the Japanese lexicon, never had to make any sense to a Japanese ear.

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Asia's Orthographic Dilemma by William C. Hannas

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