Saturday, December 17, 2011 5:17:00 AM
They're not all pronounced differently. Mandarin has 4 tones and cantonese has 9. This is mandarin transliteration and has only 4 tones. Chinese relies heavily on context and word combinations for meaning. It makes it hard to explain precise matters and specifications unless you are extremely adept. There are a great many standard characters, many of which can be written in traditional or simplified style (they have less strokes) and many more ways of writing something if you have the scholarly training. There`s hundreds if not a thousand characters to express longevity. That`s why it`s hard to get beyond baby talk and even harder to appear well-read. I never got beyond baby talk despite decades of trying and many years of immersion.
Friday, December 16, 2011 7:49:57 AM
Chinese is done more with tone and pitch than actual words, so the little "translation" it initially provides is about as useful as a shot glass in a forest fire. There was a post a while back about "Why English sucks" that contained different sentences that used homonyms and homophones. If that's why English sucks, then Chinese is down right stupid.