Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Crazy Kimchi points to a lexicographer offering a modest proposal for a pictographic reform of English. At first I thought it was an elaborate, ironic joke, but apparently the writer was just being sneakily pedagogic, intent on giving an indirect Chinese lesson.

I had not been aware that there was a significant rhyming or phonetic element to hanzi, at least in the original formulation. I had assumed that it was largely representational, rather than phonetic. Given that the writing scheme has been spread over more than a dozen languages with incompatible phonetics, this explains much about the incoherence of, say, Japanese kanji, if there are significant elements of punning in the donor-language.

No comments: