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字 vs. 文字

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Re: 字 vs. 文字

Postby furrykef » Wed 09.23.2009 4:47 pm

magma wrote:(By the way, does anybody know how well spelling works in Italian today compared to Latin?)


Italian writing is very phonetic; you can correctly write almost any word just by knowing how it's pronounced. However, you don't necessarily know how to pronounce it based on how it's spelled (the most major issue is that the writing system often doesn't indicate stress, although Latin writing indicated neither vowel length nor stress).

Spanish works the opposite way: you can pronounce any word from how it's spelled, but you can't necessarily spell it from how it's pronounced. For example, "aya", "haya" and "halla" are all pronounced the same, so you don't know which form to write without context. As a Spanish student, though, I have never had any difficulty remembering the correct spelling of words, though I do often catch native speakers making these mistakes. Maybe it's because my native language, English, has many more spelling issues, so I'm much more aware of spelling than the average native Spanish speaker.

I'm not sure why you singled out Italian, by the way, since Spanish, French, etc. descended from Latin just like Italian did. Though I don't have to tell you how messed up French spelling is. :)

Yudan Taiteki wrote:AFAIK, Latin orthography was largely phonetic, although it didn't use spaces or punctuation and collapsed several sounds together (i.e. I and J).


Just to be clear, the "J" Yudan speaks of is actually the sound we represent in English with "Y". "I" and "Y" aren't really different enough sounds that collapsing them into one letter is likely to cause confusion anyway (except "yi" would look strange as "ii", but Latin didn't have the "yi" sound anyway).

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Re: 字 vs. 文字

Postby astaroth » Wed 09.23.2009 5:22 pm

furrykef wrote:Italian writing is very phonetic; you can correctly write almost any word just by knowing how it's pronounced. However, you don't necessarily know how to pronounce it based on how it's spelled (the most major issue is that the writing system often doesn't indicate stress, although Latin writing indicated neither vowel length nor stress).

I guess the only difficulties in writing an Italian word can come only when it starts with an h like the difference between ho and o (though they are not exactly pronounced the same: ho is more stressed than o).
About stress, that's true but 85% of the times it follows the simple rule to stress the penultimate vowel (unless the last vowel is accented like the difference between faro and farò) and the remaining 15% stress is not that important because it changes based on where the speaker is from.

I honestly always felt Italian writing is in an almost perfect one-to-one correspondence with pronunciation -- there are only there few exception to the handful of rules we (Italians) learn in elementary school (one interesting exception is for instance glicine) -- so I was a bit surprised when I read you think otherwise.

magma wrote:And another thing: is it just me, or did the writing systems created for Latin and 文言 both work a lot better in their original languages? Furrykef already exposed my ignorance of Latin, but I'm guessing when the Romans first invented ローマ字, spelling was a snap, but in modern English? Not so much. (By the way, does anybody know how well spelling works in Italian today compared to Latin?)

By the way ... Romans didn't invent a thing (and they never did ... except for Law) ... the "Latin alphabet" should be really called "Phoenician alphabet".
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Re: 字 vs. 文字

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 09.23.2009 5:40 pm

astaroth wrote:I honestly always felt Italian writing is in an almost perfect one-to-one correspondence with pronunciation -- there are only there few exception to the handful of rules we (Italians) learn in elementary school (one interesting exception is for instance glicine) -- so I was a bit surprised when I read you think otherwise.


Writing systems almost always leave out things like stress, which all native speakers know without having any special symbols to show it in writing.
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Re: 字 vs. 文字

Postby JaySee » Wed 09.23.2009 5:52 pm

furrykef wrote:Spanish works the opposite way: you can pronounce any word from how it's spelled, but you can't necessarily spell it from how it's pronounced. For example, "aya", "haya" and "halla" are all pronounced the same, so you don't know which form to write without context.


They're pronounced the same only in varieties of Spanish that feature "yeísmo" (though admittedly, more varieties do than don't, especially in the Americas).

astaroth wrote:By the way ... Romans didn't invent a thing (and they never did ... except for Law) ... the "Latin alphabet" should be really called "Phoenician alphabet".


But then the Phoenicians got their alphabet - which on a side note lacked vowels, so the term "abjad" is probably more appropriate, if you like making such destinctions - from the Egyptians, so maybe we should really call it the Egyptian alphabet :P
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