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December 06, 2004

Ching, Ni Shwo Man Yidyar

This week I'm going to get a CD to play in the car or on the computer. The spousal unit picked up a cassette from the local library but I really have poblems with analog tech. Besides, the distortion was crazy freaky. I could hear about four levels of echo, as if playing the tape so many times had shifted the magnetic substrate several times.

I clearly can recognize the language as compared to Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese. Chinese comes mostly from the front of the mouth. Spoken at something of a monotone (if the announcers on the radio are any indication) the inflection within words is very subtle. Whereas Japanese inflection and rhythm is a completely different. It's spoken more in the throat, louder it seems. French is a back of the throat language too, but all of these are easier than Arabic, which I don't think I'd ever be able to speak with any appreciable speed.

Chinese seems easy on the mouth, but the difference between a dz and a sz might give me problems. Also the way things are translated into English and English phonetics is going to trip me up a little. For example I know I've seen 'jyang' and 'jiang' spellings for the same word, as weel as 'boo' and 'bu'.

It's going to take me at least a year to be as bad with Chinese as I am with Spanish, but at least when I listen to Spanish on the radio, I can pick out enough words to know what the converstaion is about. On the other hand, it's a good excuse to get some more Jackie Chan movies.

Posted by mbowen at December 6, 2004 04:45 AM

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Romanization is always tricky in any non-roman character based language. For example, in Japanese you will sometimes see 'shi' or 'si', 'jyou' or 'jyoo' or 'jyo-', all depending upon the convention used. While the pure reliance of Chinese on kanji may make my experience moot, the sooner I bucked up and just learned the kana and started thinking of Japanese under those terms rather than as a phonetic romanization the better it was.

Posted by: submandave at December 6, 2004 12:17 PM