What if English were phonetically consistent?

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rick
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Re: What if English were phonetically consistent?

Post by rick » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:34 am

Ah! It was a wild guess!
I like the sound of 'hoffi coffi' :)
So 'Rydw i'n' is all 'I'?
Going to have a go in Japanese without getting the dictionary out but Its early days:
Watashi wo kochii wa suki (I [object of verb] coffee [topic of sentence] like)
Japanese is phonetic (in kana or romanji at least) but there are no F's for the coffee and it is a borrowed word. ...except 'fu' but 'kofuiii' isnt it I think
Dinosaw would know!
Margaid
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Re: What if English were phonetically consistent?

Post by Margaid » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:49 pm

It's one of the silly things that gives you the giggles.
'Rydw i'n is the colloquial "long" form, the full version without apostrophes is "Yr ydwyf i yn hoffi coffi" - but really depending on the verb it can mean "I do" or "I am". In front of "mynd" = to go, it can mean "I go" or "I am going". There are "short" forms but it means knowing how the suffix of the verb changes in order to indicate who is perfoming the action - Hoffaf (I like), Hoffwn (we like) Hoffwch (you like) Hoffant (they like) [If I remember correctly]. It's much easier to use the colloquial long forms!

Alphabets are fun too - 27 letters but no j,k,q,v,x or z!

Does Japanese have the same difficulties as Chineses (Mandarin?) in that the same word can mean something different according to the inflection with which it's said?
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Marigold
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Re: What if English were phonetically consistent?

Post by Marigold » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:16 pm

Yes, those oriental tonal languages provide a whole new dimension for error!
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rick
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Re: What if English were phonetically consistent?

Post by rick » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:28 pm

Margaid wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:49 pm
Does Japanese have the same difficulties as Chineses (Mandarin?) in that the same word can mean something different according to the inflection with which it's said?
I don't think so Margaid. Every syllable, each represented by a distinct 'kana' (i.e か、き、く、け、こ - ka, ki, ku, ke, ko and the rest - ka, ga, sa, za, ta, na ... etc) are always pronounced the same way. The only variation is that some unofficially go silent in regular speech. So 'desu ka' (is it?) becomes 'des ka'. 'Ka' is a question mark at the end of a sentence - it is spoken and so I am, at least, usually recognising when a spoken sentence is a question!

I don't think verb conjugation is any more difficult in Japanese than English - they are both a challenge from scratch!

However, having and using three different 'alphabets' in practically all sentences makes for a learning curve like a brick wall! The first two represent the same distinct syllables (hirigana and katakana) but katakana is used for 'foreign' words mostly. Kanji are the 'ideograms' imported from China long ago - there are several thousand of them and many have several different readings (though still phonetically distinct.) That means that meaning can be inferred in writing (through a suitable choice of Kanji) that isn't obvious when the sentence is spoken (except to a native listener who knows the possible written forms.) The capacity for poetic expression and for puns in a sentence is limitless! Knowing about 500 Kanji, apparently, sets you up sufficiently for reading the newspaper.
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