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Writing Systems of Asia Today’s Topic: East Asia Asian 401.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing Systems of Asia Today’s Topic: East Asia Asian 401."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing Systems of Asia Today’s Topic: East Asia Asian 401

2 Chinese half-Yuan bill

3 Writing and Language  We must clearly distinguish writing from spoken language  All human societies have spoken language; all human children learn it naturally (exception: deaf community)  Only some societies have writing; it must be formally learned

4 Writing and Language  No form of writing exists independently of spoken language  Writing is relatively new: invented about 5000 years ago  We will look at writing from a linguistic perspective: what is its relationship to spoken language?

5 Writing and Language  There is no inherent connection between a script and a language. One script can be used to write different languages (e.g. Roman script for English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish).  One language can be written in different scripts (e.g. Uighur, Serbo- Croatian)

6 Definition of Writing  What is writing? How might we define it …?  “The representation of spoken language through the use of visible, (potentially) permanent signs.”  Are these signs writing?

7 Definition of Writing  No writing system represents all aspects of spoken language.  For example, most writing systems don’t represent intonation very well. Some don’t represent vowel sounds.  Native speakers can use context to supply information that is missing.

8 Origins of Writing  Writing has (we think) been invented only four times in human history:  Sumerians (ca. 3200 BCE) - cuneiform  Egyptians (ca. 3200 BCE) - hieroglyphs  Chinese (ca. 1250 BCE) - characters  Mayans (ca. 600 BCE) - hieroglyphs  Your textbook describes the development process

9 Origins of Writing  Many other writing systems have been invented  But all were invented by people who already knew about the concept of writing  Example: The Phoenician alphabet, which gave rise to the Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Arabic alphabets

10 Definitions: script  script: a set of signs, or graphs, which form a system that can be used for writing  Examples of scripts  Roman alphabet  Cyrillic alphabet  Arabic alphabet  Chinese characters  A a å are all allographs of one grapheme

11 Definitions: orthography  orthography: a writing system, i.e.  a script  the language-specific rules for how to use the graphs in the script to write words  English and French orthographies both use the Roman script (w/modifications)  Arabic and Urdu orthographies both use the Arabic script (w/modifications)

12 Script types  Scripts can be broadly classified according to the unit of spoken language represented by each graph.  Languages have sound-based units that lack inherent meaning (phonemes, syllables).  Languages have meaningful units that include sound (morphemes, words).

13 Script types  logographic: each graph writes a morpheme or a word; each graph thus represents both sound and meaning  phonographic: each graph writes a sound with no inherent meaning  syllabic: each graph represents a syllable  alphabetic: each graph represents a phoneme

14 Script types  other types: some phonographic scripts are neither strictly alphabetic nor syllabic, such as the “abugidas”, “alphasyllabaries”, or “ak ṣ ara-based” scripts of South India  The four ex nihilo writing systems were apparently all logographic in origin

15 Script types  The script types just described are idealized. Over time, the precise relationship between graph and speech unit can shift. (Cf. English spelling, which has become irregular over time.) Native speakers can tolerate a high degree of ambiguity and inconsistency in a writing system.

16 Example 1: Tangut  Tangut Empire (11th-13th centuries) in what is now Northwest China  Invented a logographic script

17 Example 2: Yi  A minority people of Southwest China speaking a Tibeto-Burman language  Syllabic script, each of about 800 graphs represents a syllable including tone

18 Example 3: Tibetan  Tibetan alphabet invented around 7th century, derived from Indic script

19 East Asian Writing: Chinese  Chinese writing is logographic  Each graph (“character”) represents one morpheme  人 rén [ ɹ ə n 35 ] ‘person’  男 nán [nan 35 ] ‘male’  的 de [t ə ] ‘possessive particle’  Some morphemes are free, some bound

20 East Asian Writing: Chinese  Chinese characters do not write words!  Many words have two morphemes; they are written with two characters:  男人 nánrén ‘man’ (‘male’ + ‘person’)  Homophonous morphemes are written with different characters:  南 nán ‘south’ 難 nán ‘difficult’  仁 rén ‘benevolence’

21 Chinese morphology  Chinese is monosyllabic  >99% of Chinese morphemes are one syllable  Chinese is isolating  Morphemes never change form  Characters write morphemes; so each character writes one syllable that has an invariant pronunciation and a meaning  “Chinese characters write meaningful syllables.” Skip Chinese Character Composition

22 Chinese character composition  Over 90% of Chinese characters are composed of graphic elements that are found in other characters  Functionally, these graphic elements may be  phonetic: related to the sound of the morpheme  semantic: related to the meaning of the morpheme  Neither phonetic nor semantic elements give precise information

23 Phonetic Components 方 ‘ square ’ 房 ‘ house ’ 紡 ‘ spin ’ 放 ‘ release ’ fängfángfângfàng

24 Phonetic Components 青 ‘ green ’ 情 ‘ feeling ’ 精 ‘ essence ’ 倩 ‘ pretty ’ qïngqíngjïngqiàn

25 Semantic Components 心 ‘ heart ’ 情 ‘ feeling ’ 恨 ‘ hate ’ 愛 ‘ love ’ xïnqínghènài

26 Chinese text example 话说贾元春自那日幸大观园回宫去后,便命将 那日所有的题咏,命探春依次抄录妥协,自己 编次,叙其优劣,又命在大观园勒石,为千古 风流雅事。因此,贾政命人各处选拔精工名匠, 在大观园磨石镌字,贾珍率领蓉,萍等监工。 因贾蔷又管理着文官等十二个女戏并行头等事, 不大得便,因此贾珍又将贾菖,贾菱唤来监工。 一日,汤蜡钉朱, 动起手来。 (from Dream of the Red Chamber)

27 East Asian Writing: Japanese  Japanese had no writing when they first encountered Chinese civilization.  Educated Japanese read and wrote Chinese. The Japanese language could not be written.  Gradually, the Japanese learned to employ Chinese logographs as phonographs to represent the sound value of Japanese syllables.

28 East Asian Writing: Japanese  Around the 9th century, the Japanese invented two syllabaries by simplifying the forms of phonographically-used Chinese characters.  The resulting standardized syllabaries are called kana

29 Japanese kana  One type, hiragana, is derived from cursive forms of Chinese characters. They are rounded.  The other type, katakana, is derived by taking part of a Chinese character. They are angular.  Both syllabaries have graphs that represent the 45 CV syllables of Japanese, plus one additional graph for syllable-final -N.

30 Japanese kana Character 加天不保呂 Meaning ‘add’‘sky’‘not’‘guard’‘spine’ Japanese Pronunciation KATENFUHORO Hiragana かてふほろ Katakana カテフホロ Valuekatefuhoro

31 Japanese writing  Both hiragana and katakana are full syllabaries; either one alone could be used to write all the sounds of Japanese  Japanese writing today uses three scripts:  Chinese characters (kanji)  Hiragana  Katakana  Example: 新しいジュースです. “It’s a new juice”

32 Japanese writing  Kanji is used to write root morphemes  Hiragana is used to write inflectional morphemes and grammatical words  Example: hanas-emasita ‘spoke’ 話 せ ま し た  Suffixes indicating politeness and past tense are written in hiragana. The root ‘speak’ is represented by kanji.  Writing は な せ ま し た is also acceptable.

33 Japanese writing  Katakana is usually reserved for non-Chinese foreign loan words, onomatopeia, and visual emphasis (like italics)  “It’s a new juice”  新しい ジュース です.  Atarasii djuusu desu  new-PRES juice be

34 Japanese kanji  One kanji can represent more than one morpheme. There are two root morphemes for ‘new’ in Japanese: the native root atara- and the borrowed Chinese morpheme shin. The Chinese character 新 can be used to write both.  A Japanese reader relies on context and morphological rules to determine how to read each kanji.

35 Japanese writing  Japanese “mixed-script” writing is one of the most complex writing systems on earth.  It employs three scripts at the same time.  One kanji can have anywhere from one to five or more possible pronunciations. Most have two or three.  Why not do away with kanji and only use a kana syllabary?  Answer is too complex for this class!

36 East Asian Writing: Korean  As in Japan, for an ancient Korean to be literate meant reading and writing Chinese. Korean could not be easily written.  In 1443 King Sejong invented the alphabet now called hangŭl  Korea has a holiday celebrating the alphabet  The only alphabet based on scientific principles of articulatory phonetics

37 Korean alphabet  The shapes of the letters mimic the shape of the articulators in the vocal tract  Modifications to letters indicates changes of features such as aspiration and nasalization  Examples: ㄴㄷㅌ /n//t//t h / ㅅㅈㅊ /s//t ʃ //t ʃ h /

38 Korean alphabet  The Korean alphabet is unusual in that the letters are not placed in a row  Letters are grouped into syllable blocks, the same size and shape as a Chinese character  Example: To write the word hangŭl, the letters are ㅎㅏㄴㄱㅡㄹ /h a n k ɯ l/. It is two syllables, so two blocks: 한글

39 Korean alphabet  Korean writing is an alphabet, but also represents some features of phonemes (like aspiration and place of articulation), and syllable boundaries.  It also represents morphemes!  {kuk} means ‘country’. It has an allomorph /kuŋ/ that occurs before nasals.

40 Korean alphabet  {han} ‘Korean’ + {kuk} ‘country’ = /hankuk/ ‘Korea’  {kuk} ‘country’ + {min} ‘people’ = /kuŋmin/ ‘citizen’  In Korean writing, the morpheme {kuk} is always written 국 :  한국 /hankuk/ 국민 /kuŋmin/

41 Chinese characters in Korean  Like Japanese, Korean has thousands of borrowed Chinese morphemes  Historically, these words were written with Chinese characters; hangŭl was used for inflectional endings and native Korean words  Over the last fifty years, the use of Chinese characters has declined considerably  No longer used in North Korea  Increasingly rare in South Korea

42 Korean text example 靑, 日에 야치차관 조치 요구 “ 核정보 발언 무례 ”… 정상회담 무산 가능 성도외교부, 日대사 불러 조치 촉구 이태식 외교통상부 차관으로부터 소환 요청을 받은 다카노 도시유키 주한일본 대사가 26 일 굳은 표정으로 외교부청사 에 들어서고 있다. - Hankook Ilbo newspaper, May 26, 2005

43 Summary: Chinese  The Chinese invented Chinese characters around 1250 BCE  One of only four civilizations to invent writing from scratch  In Chinese, Chinese characters write monosyllabic morphemes (logographic)  [Most Chinese characters contain phonetic and semantic elements]

44 Summary: Korean & Japanese  Educated Japanese and Koreans originally used Chinese as their written medium of communication  Because of their familiarity with Chinese, many Chinese words and morphemes were borrowed into spoken Korean and Japanese

45 Summary: Japanese  In the 9th century, the Japanese derived syllabaries (kana) from Chinese characters. There are two syllabaries: rounded hiragana and angular katakana  Hiragana, katakana, and kanji are all used together in written Japanese

46 Summary: Korean  In the 15th century, King Sejong invented the Korean alphabet hangŭl  Letter shapes are based on principles of articulatory phonetics  Chinese characters are still used occasionally in South Korea to write borrowed Chinese morphemes

47 End


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