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

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Writing Systems of Asia Todays Topic: East Asia Asian 401 Slide 2 Chinese half-Yuan bill Slide 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 Slide 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? Slide 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) Slide 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? Slide 7 Definition of Writing No writing system represents all aspects of spoken language. For example, most writing systems dont represent intonation very well. Some dont represent vowel sounds. Native speakers can use context to supply information that is missing. Slide 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 Slide 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 Slide 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 are all allographs of one grapheme Slide 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) Slide 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). Slide 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 Slide 14 Script types other types: some phonographic scripts are neither strictly alphabetic nor syllabic, such as the abugidas, alphasyllabaries, or ak ara-based scripts of South India The four ex nihilo writing systems were apparently all logographic in origin Slide 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. Slide 16 Example 1: Tangut Tangut Empire (11th-13th centuries) in what is now Northwest China Invented a logographic script Slide 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 Slide 18 Example 3: Tibetan Tibetan alphabet invented around 7th century, derived from Indic script Slide 19 East Asian Writing: Chinese Chinese writing is logographic Each graph (character) represents one morpheme rn [ n 35 ] person nn [nan 35 ] male de [t ] possessive particle Some morphemes are free, some bound Slide 20 East Asian Writing: Chinese Chinese characters do not write words! Many words have two morphemes; they are written with two characters: nnrn man (male + person) Homophonous morphemes are written with different characters: nn south nn difficult rn benevolence Slide 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 Slide 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 Slide 23 Phonetic Components square house spin release fngfngfngfng Slide 24 Phonetic Components green feeling essence pretty qngqngjngqin Slide 25 Semantic Components heart feeling hate love xnqnghni Slide 26 Chinese text example , (from Dream of the Red Chamber) Slide 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. Slide 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 Slide 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. Slide 30 Japanese kana Character Meaning addskynotguardspine Japanese Pronunciation KATENFUHORO Hiragana Katakana Valuekatefuhoro Slide 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: . Its a new juice Slide 32 Japanese writing Kanji is used to write root morphemes Hiragana is used to write inflectional morphemes and grammatical words Example: hanas-emasita spoke Suffixes indicating politeness and past tense are written in hiragana. The root speak is represented by kanji. Writing is also acceptable. Slide 33 Japanese writing Katakana is usually reserved for non-Chinese foreign loan words, onomatopeia, and visual emphasis (like italics) Its a new juice . Atarasii djuusu desu new-PRES juice be Slide 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 can be used to write both. A Japanese reader relies on context and morphological rules to determine how to read each kanji. Slide 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! Slide 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 hangl Korea has a holiday celebrating the alphabet The only alphabet based on scientific principles of articulatory phonetics Slide 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: /n//t//t h / /s//t //t h / Slide 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 hangl, the letters are /h a n k l/. It is two syllables, so two blocks: Slide 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 /ku/ that occurs before nasals. Slide 40 Korean alphabet {han} Korean + {kuk} country = /hankuk/ Korea {kuk} country + {min} people = /kumin/ citizen In Korean writing, the morpheme {kuk} is always written : /hankuk/ /kumin/ Slide 41 Chinese characters in Korean Like Japanese, Korean has thousands of borrowed Chinese morphemes Historically, these words were written with Chinese characters; hangl 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 Slide 42 Korean text example , , 26 . - Hankook Ilbo newspaper, May 26, 2005 Slide 43 Summary: Chinese The Chinese invented Chinese character