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View Poll Results: Which is the best sounding?
Japanese 33 91.67%
Chinese 3 8.33%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-26-2016, 08:03 PM
 
1,424 posts, read 738,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willister View Post
Interesting why tones were added, I find very few sources online which discusses the evolution of tones. One wonders what would happen if Chinese ever went down the polysyllabic route..which is pretty much all alphabet based systems went down - English, Korean etc.


From what I have read from scant sources online, there seems to be a correlation between tones and direction. Northern dialects seem to have fewer tones e.g. Mandarin with 4 (the 5th being neural) and Cantonese up to 8 in the South.


An interesting case is Dunggan dialect of Mandarin, it has three tones and now uses Cyrillic as a phonetic system. If it was ever reduced to two it would be a pitch accent system similar to Japanese. Hearing some youtube videos of people speaking Dunggan Mandarin, it sounds harsher and rougher somewhat but the speaker almost seem to be a non native speaker, he sounded as if he had a heavy middle eastern accent.


Again and again, I think the whole Chinese system was just never built for the commoner, but rather unity. It's characters is archaic and served the purpose back then, but tones got in the way of developing a alphabet based system. Had they gone down the polysyllabic route they could have developed an alphabet system which would be and still would be used today by the Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese.
Sino-Tibetan languages are all monosyllabic in a way that each syllable has a meaning. As a result morphology is not well developed: no conjugation no declension for the most part. Therefore there are some advantages to associate meaning with form, not just sound.

English is also evolving that way, so we have too/two, flower/flour and so on. An initial step of moving away from phonetically based script.
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:44 PM
 
4,668 posts, read 6,130,493 times
Reputation: 5840
I have no opinion, don't think I could tell a difference when put on the spot... But... I trust Tiger Beer's opinion on all things Asian. So I voted for Japanese.
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Costa Rica
70 posts, read 40,577 times
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Japanese by a long shot.
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:36 AM
 
1,839 posts, read 1,266,734 times
Reputation: 1832
Japanese. Tonal languages are not what I consider beautiful, though I can understand their usefulness.
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:02 PM
 
277 posts, read 206,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parhe View Post
Japanese. Tonal languages are not what I consider beautiful, though I can understand their usefulness.
What is the use of tones? All it creates is confusion.
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:09 PM
 
1,839 posts, read 1,266,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willister View Post
What is the use of tones? All it creates is confusion.
It helps with homophones. I don't see any confusion tones cause.
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:36 PM
 
277 posts, read 206,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parhe View Post
It helps with homophones. I don't see any confusion tones cause.
Maybe I'm tone deaf....all languages should stick to a polysyllable structure.


Tones "uglifies" a language, it just sounds weird with those up and down sounds and whiney.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:52 AM
 
Location: Taipei
6,790 posts, read 5,152,129 times
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They probably aren't pretty but they make sense. There'd be way more confusion if there weren't any tones in the Chinese languages. Millions of words and phrases would sound identical without the tones.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:05 AM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,235,104 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willister View Post
Maybe I'm tone deaf....all languages should stick to a polysyllable structure.


Tones "uglifies" a language, it just sounds weird with those up and down sounds and whiney.
Why does any language or culture have to suit YOUR needs and wants? Tones are fine, it works for them. If it doesn't work for you, it's not their problem
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:32 AM
 
1,637 posts, read 1,026,486 times
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Cantonese speaker here, us natives don't even pay attention to tones after grade school it so easy.
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