Thus, since we can reconstruct something like the Chinese of the t'ang Dynasty from the current languages, we should expect at least half again as many syllables as are allowed by cantonese, which has a large array of finals, but has lost initial voicing like. So perhaps t'ang Chinese had at least 14,310 possible syllables. That is already enough for a lot of unambiguous monosyllabic advantages speech, and we are already more than a thousand years after Confucius (479 bc-618 ad a lapse of time that puts the English language back to beowulf - and without a phonetic script holding. Any thought that the spoken language of the Chou had not significantly changed by the time of the t'ang is ruled out by the comparative evidence of every language with an attested history of such length. The extraordinary claim of Modern Greeks that the pronunciation of their language has not changed since ancient times has been examined elsewhere. Ames and Rosemont, and whatever authorities they are using Karlgen, keightly, etc., have no recourse but an argumentum ad ignorantiam, by which they make inferences from things that we do not know. The irony of a thesis such as Ames and Rosemont support is that it destroys the principle behind the practice of Chinese departments that students studying Classical Chinese can do so only by also learning Mandarin. This is salutary, as we can affirm that Mandarin, except for the convenient pronunciation it provides for characters (Cantonese, etc.
But the phonetic simplification of the language means that most symbols cannot be used alone in speech, because too many syllables sound alike - essay they are homophones. Thus, Ames and Rosemont say: This homophony is unusual among languages, but has existed in Chinese almost since its inception. Phonetically, most consonantal endings of syllables have dropped off over the centuries, but even when they were present, the number of homonyms was very high, with anywhere from two to seven different characters pronounced identically. P.38 Now, what is the evidence that this homophony "has existed in Chinese almost since its inception"? Ames and Rosemont cite no reference for this statement; and, as I have noted, separate examples of the spoken language are not attested for the earliest periods. Yet the claim that "anywhere from two to seven different characters" were "pronounced identically" is something that would require a knowledge of the phonology of spoken Chinese that actually barely exists for any pre-modern period. As we have seen above, modern Mandarin allows 2496 possible syllables, but Shangai (Wu) Chinese allows 9450 and Cantonese (Yue) 9540. And, while Ames and Rosemont refer to mandarin losing its "consonantal endings they have overlooked the circumstance that the Shanghai language preserves voiced initials, which have been lost elsewhere.
In turn, the Greek word, basically meaning "just" (Latin justus is often better translated "right" (Latin rectus, although jus retains this sense also). The Greek word has a range of meanings from "word" (Latin verbum ) to "reason" (Latin ratio such as to deceive david Bellos into thinking that Greek didn't have a word for "word." Indeed, i'm not sure that Greek actually has a word that just. I have discussed this elsewhere. Modern French, at the same time, has a word, droit, that can be a "right" or a "duty which morally and legally are actually opposites. So classical Chinese is not alone in posing the challenges of interpretation and translation that it does, especially as an ancient language; and the broad meaning or ambiguity of terms in Confucius, such as, "propriety, etiquette, good manners, ritual, the rites is not unusal, even. At the same time, chinese has always been able to resolve ambiguity, where desired, with expressions of two or more characters. Thus, my wife, who reads Chinese, unlike me, likes to say, "There is no concept that cannot be expressed in four Chinese characters." Chinese is certainly unique among modern languages with its continued use of ideographic symbols, so that each syllable of the language, even.
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Ames and Henry rosemont,. In their The Analects of Confucius: a philosophical Translation Ballantine books, random house, 1998, 1999, which I have discussed as a translation elsewhere. Ames and Rosemont are academic professionals in philosophy, chinese philosophy, and the Chinese language. However, they subscribe to writing this remarkable thesis that written Chinese was not in origin a spoken language - "classical Chinese is a unique linguistic medium".41 - and, unlike lee and Smith, they argue the issue at length with references to the literature. Nevertheless, they cannot overcome the weakness of the case that separately attested examples of the spoken language do not exist for the Shang or even the Chou dynasties, while the comparative evidence from Sumer and Egypt is that systems of writing develop as reflexes.
After noting that in Confucius, "virtually every passage is ambiguous they say: Many western scholars have of course called attention - often loudly - to this ambiguity and lack of precision in classical Chinese, seeting it as a distinctive linguistic liability. In those instances where detail or exactness of expression was necessary, we might assume Chinese thinkers availed themselves of their spoken language, wherein there is every reason to believe as much precision was as is possible as can be achieved in any other natural language. P.42 However, they cannot cite attested examples of "their spoken language" from the earlier periods. And, for all their academic qualifications in philosophy, ames and Rosemont don't acknowledge the ambiguity of moral and philosophical terms in other languages. Thus, the Egyptians had one famous word, "Maat" or mu'e, that can be translated "truth" or "justice or the name of a goddess (of Truth and Justice).
This should give russian, let alone georgian, speakers a good laugh. Now, Classical languages undergo their own development over time and diverge from their oral sources. But when this happens, we usually have texts attesting the original language and can follow the changes. Thus, Classical Sanskrit can be distinguished from Vedic Sanskrit, which has more in common with Old Persian and thus was certainly the original spoken language, although we cannot rule out some garbling in transmission, since documentary sources are late. Mediaeval Latin slowly evolved from Classical Latin, but the preservation of the older literature, like cicero, made it possible to write a "purified" Latin prose during the renaissance. Much the same thing happened in Greek.
But if we know that the texts of the confucian corpus are in some sort of artificial language, a "fundamentally different system it is hard to know what older literature is used to make this claim. Lee and Smith should reflect that if Classical Chinese has "its own inner logic and grammatical structure that is because it is a different language, as different from Mandarin as Latin is from French or or Anglo-saxon is from modern English. And it is not in the least surprising that the language confucius spoke more than two thousand years ago should be quite different from any modern language. But if beowulf had been written in ideograms that are still used to write modern English, the student could at least get the drift of the story, even if it would all look rather strange. That is what we are dealing with in Chinese. While with lee and Smith we get what is more or less a parenthetical comment by people who are not linguistic specialists, that is not the case in the treatment of Roger.
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The k is also preserved in early modern Western versions of Chinese names, like "Nanking" and "peking" themselves - whose use the politically correct now have rejected because of the idea that they are "wrong" and that the local pronunciation of place names must. Chinese departments in colleges sometimes expect students to learn Mandarin even though they only want to read Classical Chinese or Sino-korean, sino-vietnamese, or Sino-japanese. This imposes a vast unnecessary burden on them, but even some teachers and scholars of Chinese sometimes have trouble accepting that the ancient language is not the modern one and that the ancient language is part of the civilization of Korea, vietnam, and Japan. It is as though students of Latin were told they would have to learn Italian as well, even if they were Spanish or French. The curious idea that something like mandarin was already an ancient spoken language and that Classical Chinese is some sort of abbreviation or code derived from it can be found in various sources. For instance, joanna. Lee and Ken Smith, in their translations from the Analects, assert: First of all, confucius almost certainly didn't "say" these pdf things, since written Chinese is scarcely a direct transcript of spoken language but a fundamentally different system with its own inner logic and grammatical structure. The pocket Confucius, museworks, hong Kong, 2010,.9 This is rather like a claim that the romans already spoke italian and that Latin was an artificial language only used in writing. Indeed, i have heard people say that Classical Latin could never have been a spoken language, because it is too difficult.
At that point different things can happen. The t can be lost in assimilation to the h, getting us Nihon, or the h can revert to its original p, with horrible the t getting assimilated and doubled with it, getting us Nippon. Another example concerns the present capital of Japan. The míng capitals of China were nánjing (Nanking) and then beijing (peking which simply mean, respectively, "Southern Capital" and "Northern Capital." The capital of Japan from 794 to 1868 was kyôto, which meant "Capital District." Then the capital was moved to Edo, which was renamed. In Japanese, however, that is pronounced tôkyô. In vietnamese it is Ðông-Kinh (or Tonkin). The vietnamese version preserves more of the Chinese consonants, but both Japanese and vietnamese versions reveal that "capital" originally started with a k, which has become palatalized (to a j ) in Mandarin.
in the local manner. Native words for "sun" are hae in Korean,. I face of the sky in vietnamese, and hi in Japanese (e.g. Hi-no-maru, "circle of the sun "sundisk. The japanese borrowed word for "sun" in isolation is nichi, but this is just the pronunciation of niti, where the final i as been added because japanese syllables cannot end. In compounds, the i can drop out, so nichi-hon ( *hi-moto in the largely unused pure japanese reading) becomes nit-hon.
The same Classical text that can today be read as Mandarin could as well be read with Korean, vietnamese, or Japanese versions of small the Chinese words, or the korean, vietnamese, or Japanese translations of the words. None of those languages is even related to Chinese, but since mediaeval, or even modern, koreans, vietnamese, and Japanese often wrote in Chinese, without, however, really speaking the language, their own renderings of the characters was customary. Since the ancient pronunciation of the Classical language is unknown, sino-korean, sino-vietnamese, and Sino-japanese reading are really just as "authentic" for Classical Chinese as a modern Mandarin reading. Indeed, much of our evidence for the t'ang pronuncation of Chinese is from the korean, vietnamese, and Japanese readings, which were contemporary borrowings. For example, the character for "mountain now read shan in Mandarin, turns up as san in Korean, in vietnamese. N or núi, and in Japanese as san, sen, zan, or yama - the last versions in vietnamese and Japanese being the native words. Similarly, we find the name. Japan itself, "Sun source as, rìben, wade-giles.
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Although both ancient and modern Chinese are mostly written with the same characters, the modern daughter languages have become very different from the ancient one. One of the most conspicious differences is just that the terse, monosyllabic nature of Classical Chinese -, "old writing or, "literary language" - has given way to many more particles, polysyllabic words, and periphrastic idioms. The following story, given in both Classical Chinese and a translation into modern, mandarin, - or the, "colloquial speech, vernacular" - illustrates the difference. This is also a salutary example for one's view of government,. Confucius indeed makes clear to his students i am unaware of the provenance of this text. The modern Mandarin pronunciation is given for the Classical characters because the ancient pronuncation, indeed the pronunciation before the. T'ang, dynasty, is unknown. Even that of the t'ang is reconstructed and uncertain. The extreme simplification of Mandarin phonology, which would render the Classical language ambiguous if used as a spoken language today (too many words now being pronounced oliver the same explains the polysyllablic character of the modern language and the reduction of many characters to morphemes.