Non-English Orthography Reform

A forum for discussing linguistics or just languages in general.
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 16:06

I can see the benefits of recreating the hanzi inventory from scratch based on how modern Mandarin is spoken. However, I am against a composition model and favor writing the semanto-phonetic components independently. The advantage of this is that it would be much easier to create new morphemes if you can write the semanto-phonetic components next to each other linearly rather than combine them into a separate grapheme. This is the reason why Cuneiform and Hieroglyphics rarely exceeded an inventory of one thousand graphemes whereas modern Hanzi includes tens of thousands.
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by clawgrip » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 16:34

I think it's sort of a matter of perspective. For example, Korean has only 50 or so signs, but they can be arranged into over 10,000 unique syllable blocks. This new form of Hanzi I am creating for some reason is similar, though more complex: it employs 413 phonetic complements (I think that's the total number of possible syllables in Mandarin, excluding tones) and probably a bit over 100 semantic radicals (so let's say 130 as an estimate), for a total of 543 signs, lower than Egyptian or Cuneiform. The way they fit together is entirely predictable, since each radical will have a single set location at which it must appear within a character. Theoretically, this would result in a total of 53,690 possible characters, except that the majority of radicals will only use a few phonetic complements. As an example, let's look at the phonetic complement 皆, mentioned above. Since there are approximately 130 radicals, the 皆 should theoretically appear in 130 characters, but in actuality it would only be used for 15 characters (奒, 揩, 鐦, 開, 凱, 塏, 愷, 慨, 暟, 楷, 蒈, 豂, 鍇 or 鎧, 闓, 颽), because there are not 130 morphemes in Mandarin pronounced "kai".

There is very little difference between 門开 and 開 or between 伴 and 人半. Naturally, the only added difficulty is in learning the positions of the radicals (門 is a kamae surrounding radical, while 人 is a hen left-side radical, forgive me for using Japanese terminology) and the differing appearance between some independent characters and their associated radicals, e.g. that 人 as a radical is 亻. This is relatively easily learned, though, I think.
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 17:02

So creating new hanzi by combining two existing hanzi is not permitted? Any new hanzi must be coined using that limited set of semanto-phonetic components? That seems reasonable and it should be easy to implement such a composition model for computer fonts. Great idea!
User avatar
GrandPiano
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2249
Joined: Sun 11 Jan 2015, 23:22
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 23:41

clawgrip wrote:开 = jian
Why? 开 (the simplified equivalent of 開) is pronounced kāi in Mandarin.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by clawgrip » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 23:53

I'm only working with traditional characters here. 开 is a simplification of 幵 jiān. Cf. 研 yán (*ŋɡeːn), 形 xíng (*ŋɡeːn), 刑 xíng (*ɡeːŋ) 邢 xíng (*ɡeːŋ), 鳽 yán, jiān. This complement may in fact be better as xing than jian. People more knowledgeable than I am can suggest the best complements.
MoonRightRomantic wrote:So creating new hanzi by combining two existing hanzi is not permitted? Any new hanzi must be coined using that limited set of semanto-phonetic components? That seems reasonable and it should be easy to implement such a composition model for computer fonts. Great idea!
That's the idea. Whether or not it would actually work remains to be seen.
User avatar
GrandPiano
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2249
Joined: Sun 11 Jan 2015, 23:22
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Thu 15 Sep 2016, 03:51

clawgrip wrote:I'm only working with traditional characters here. 开 is a simplification of 幵 jiān. Cf. 研 yán (*ŋɡeːn), 形 xíng (*ŋɡeːn), 刑 xíng (*ɡeːŋ) 邢 xíng (*ɡeːŋ), 鳽 yán, jiān. This complement may in fact be better as xing than jian. People more knowledgeable than I am can suggest the best complements.
Oh, I see. Never realized that before.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Fri 14 Oct 2016, 14:06

clawgrip wrote:I'm only working with traditional characters here. 开 is a simplification of 幵 jiān. Cf. 研 yán (*ŋɡeːn), 形 xíng (*ŋɡeːn), 刑 xíng (*ɡeːŋ) 邢 xíng (*ɡeːŋ), 鳽 yán, jiān. This complement may in fact be better as xing than jian. People more knowledgeable than I am can suggest the best complements.
MoonRightRomantic wrote:So creating new hanzi by combining two existing hanzi is not permitted? Any new hanzi must be coined using that limited set of semanto-phonetic components? That seems reasonable and it should be easy to implement such a composition model for computer fonts. Great idea!
That's the idea. Whether or not it would actually work remains to be seen.
Now that I think about it... having ~400 distinct syllabograms, before adding radicals, might be a bit much. Perhaps these could be build up from bopomofo or similar phonograms a la Hangul? The shídīng wénzì and Xiě Yùn conscripts use a similar scheme.

Under this scheme each block would consist of, maximally, radical+C+G+V+X+T. The phonology would be Mandarin, so when adopted wholesale to represent other languages these would become heterograms (same semantic value, different phonetic value). Since a composition model is used it would be easy to build new words and to add new phonograms for other Sino-Tibetan languages.
User avatar
GamerGeek
greek
greek
Posts: 840
Joined: Wed 17 May 2017, 17:10
Location: The Universe
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GamerGeek » Wed 24 May 2017, 19:18

Maybe I should have searched before making this...
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6135
Playing the biggest game of Chinese telephone is fun.
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 21:12

It's been a while since this topic was revisited, but I found a conscript called Hanyinwen that uses a similar scheme to the proposed Chinese spelling reform a couple posts above. Hanyinwen is written phonemically in syllable blocks similar to Hangul (like several of the neighboring Chinese conscripts), but a few logographs are used to distinguish homophones when unclear in context. It still does not fill the niche of a ~400 syllabogram system, so I still look forward to seeing that someday.

On another note, I noticed that Pahawh Hmong has a series of diacritics which are used inconsistently. Wikipedia and Omniglot are completely inaccurate and don't explain the three spelling reforms it underwent, but the unicode proposal explains the rime system. While the rime system became entirely regular, the onset system still suffers from completely inconsistent diacritics. The final reform might have fixed that but I cannot find any information about it on the internet.
User avatar
Fluffy8x
rupestrian
rupestrian
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon 28 Apr 2014, 05:38
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Fluffy8x » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 01:29

Unpopular answer, but reintroduce hanja to Korean orthography.
an siina levian t'isorakateez
Porphyrogenitos
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat 21 Jul 2012, 07:01
Location: Buffalo, NY

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Porphyrogenitos » Sun 29 Oct 2017, 00:01

I don't know if this has been shared here before, but back in the 1800s there was a phonetic script created by Protestant missionaries in China for Shanghainese, which was later expanded to accommodate Mandarin and other dialects. Here are a few images:

Image

Image

Image

More images and information can be found at this blog post.
Post Reply