Tuesday, February 2, 2010

languages unhappy with mandarin phonotactics


China is criticizing Obama and arms sales to Taiwan and on meeting the Dalai.
The second Iraq war by Bush Junior may have had to do with Saddam's economic position. He wanted to lead the charge to stop using the USA currency as the world standard. This would have threatened the economy of the USA.
Recently, a Laden tape advocated a switch in international currency away from the USA currency.
The US is in a position of dependence on China.
We are seeing the start of a tilt in power away from USA and towards China.

So can the world learn Mandarin? For that matter, sans tones, Decimese?

Let us review elements of Mandarin to see how widely palatable they would be to other language traditions.

The aspirated consonants will be tricky for many traditions.

The L/R distinction is lost on both Japanese and Yoruban, an important regional African interlanguage.

The fricative consonants are also no sure thing.


The only universal vowels are AUI. But this objection can be raised about a great many pidgins and aux-langs also.

However, the Mandarin heavy use on vowel diphthongs is very problematic.
Diphthongs are a deal-breaker for many language backgrounds.
And Mandarin has a whole lot of them!

The basic syllable is widely palatable.
Of course, only CV is truly universal.

Word initial, mid, and tail. Consonant endings include -N and -NG.
This is widely acceptable.

A monosyllabic language is a language in which most words predominantly consist of a single syllable. Monosyllabic languages are often tonal languages; due to the use of tones, the number of available monosyllables is significantly more than in non-tonal languages, making shorter words more practical. Examples include Vietnamese language and Old Chinese. Modern Chinese languages, however, are not monosyllabic; see Chinese morphology for discussion.

D: but Vietnam is not a serious objection, being a minor country.

Word order: SVO. Word order will inevitably please some and displease others.

There are six theoretically possible basic word orders for the transitive sentence: subject verb object (SVO), subject object verb (SOV), verb subject object (VSO), verb object subject (VOS), object subject verb (OSV) and object verb subject (OVS). The overwhelming majority of the world's languages are either SVO or SOV, with a much smaller but still significant portion using VSO word order. The remaining three arrangements are exceptionally rare, with VOS being slightly more common than OVS, and OSV being significantly more rare than two preceding ones[6].

D: so we do face resistance from linguistic traditions that use SOV word order.

The Esp-o counter is that a Latinate system of grammatical infixes is more egalitarian.
Maybe so. But variable word order using infixes will be equally difficult to ALL traditions that use rigid word order, NOT equally easy.

D: the use of word particles in isolation instead of many prefixes and suffixes is also preferable. Mandarin is good in that respect. A linguistic background without infixes will be lost with infixes. The reverse is less true.

D: In conclusion, only vowel diphthongs pose a particular obstacle to adoption. And Mandarin use of tone.
Since Decimese does not use tone, and the diphthongs are strictly optional, Decimese retains the acceptable Mandarin elements for the majority of the world. Word order will always be an issue, and there is no easy solution.
There is the additional consideration of preposition versus postposition. Again, an arbitrary solution in necessary. The only alternative is a fluid variable word order. But then every language with a word order is in trouble.

D: I believe the present time presents a unique opportunity for an aux-lang. There is an empire 'changing of the guard'.
If an aux-lang can present itself as acceptable to both the once and future kings, then it has a distinct advantage over alternatives.

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