Lecture16 - Writing Systems of the World Lecture 16 March...

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Writing Systems of the World 1 Lecture 16 March 19, 2007 Vietnamese is not related to Chinese, but there are some important similarities. There’s a strong tendency for syllables to coincide with morphemes, there’s virtually no in- flectional morphology or allomorphy, and syntactic relationships are shown entirely by word order. Also, Vietnamese is a tone language; in the Hanoi dialect, each syllable carries one of six tones. We’ll cite Vietnamese words in their modern forms as written in the current official orthog- raphy, an alphabetic writing system called qu c ng ‘national language’. The 11 vowel phonemes are represented as shown below. The IPA symbols provide a “typi- cal” allophone for each phoneme. y/i [i] ư [ ɯ ] u [u] ê [e] ă [ ə ] ơ [ ɤ ] ô [o] e [ ɛ ] â [a] a [ ɑ ] o [ ɔ ] The six tones are marked with diacritics, except for the mid level tone, which is indicated by the absence of a diacritic: ma [mid level] ‘ghost’ m [falling-rising] ‘tomb’ má [high rising] ‘cheek’ mã [high rising glottalized] ‘horse’ mà [low (falling)] ‘but’ m [low glottalized] ‘rice seedling’ Not surprisingly, Vietnamese also adopted a large number of loanwords from Chinese. Vietnam was part of the Chinese empire for most of the period from 111 BCE to 939 CE. Vietnam remained in the Chinese cultural sphere of influence until the early 20th century, although France annexed the southern three provinces in 1862. The Chinese language had official status in Vietnam from the 11th century until the early 20th century. The Vietnamese developed a Chinese-character-based system for writing the Vietnamese language. They used the same adaptation techniques as the Japanese. The earliest known example of Chinese characters used to write Vietnamese dates from the 14th century. The Vietnamese name for their Chinese-character-based writing system is ch nôm ‘southern writing’.
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Writing Systems of the World 2 Lecture 16 March 19, 2007 There were three basic ways of using Chinese characters to write Vietnamese. One was to use a character to write a Vietnamese syllable that had a pronunciation similar to the pro- nunciation of the Chinese syllable represented by that character: (Cantonese mut ² ‘disappear’) for m t ‘one’
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Lecture16 - Writing Systems of the World Lecture 16 March...

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