Linguistics thread

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Saim
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Saim » 2019-01-23, 9:16

dEhiN wrote:I think part of it is nationalism and part of it is the fact that they all use the same writing system.


Do they? As far as I can tell, most Chinese languages use no writing system, because they are hardly ever written.

Whereas Western linguists consider them different languages due to differences in pronunciation of the characters


Chinese languages (or dialects of Sinitic, or whatever you want to call them) exist independently of characters. Topolectal character readings of Standard Written Chinese (which is just a written form of Standard Mandarin regardless of how the characters are pronounced) aren't the same thing as the real local languages.

(and maybe the grammar as well? I don't know enough about Chinese grammar...).


Yes, the differences in grammar and usage are substantial.

That's odd because I don't think I even know of any movies from Hong Kong. Are you by any chance thinking of Jackie Chan movies?


Cantonese cinema is one of the big world cinemas, there's much more to it than Jackie Chan. :shock:

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Vlürch » 2019-01-23, 11:34

Prowler wrote:Tbh, I've always noticed a slight similarity between both Korean and Japanese but not to this extent. I've always had this idea that Japanese was pretty much an isolated language, but turns out it shares some features or concepts with Korean to some degree.

There are a lot of similarities between them, but it always confuses me when people can't tell them apart because they just sound so different and have such different vocabularies and all that. That once led to my embarrassing attempt to point out to IpseDixit some "rules of thumb" on how to differentiate them, only for literally not a single one of the differences to actually be waterproof... and I apparently misspelled "tones" as "toes" in the follow-up post about differences between Korean and Mandarin. :oops:

But yeah, it sometimes surprises me how similar Korean seems to Japanese. Like, mostly the false friends. Whenever I hear Korean, I swear I hear some Japanese genitals. :lol:
linguoboy wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Japanese grammar is also very similar to Classical Chinese grammar (but much less similar to the grammar of any variety of Chinese that's spoken today).

I've never heard this asserted before and--as someone who's informally studied both varieties--I don't find the grammar similar at all. So I'm wondering what prompts you to say this.

The only similarity I know of is that Classical Chinese had the same kind of topic marking, and I guess in general particles, as Japanese.
Prowler wrote:Tbh I'm not even sure how diverse/varied Chinese is. It seems like a lot of people either describe Mandarin and Cantonese as two different dialects or as two different languages.

I think that's just because the official position in China (and Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. AFAIK) is that they're one language even though they're too different to consider mere dialects of one language by pretty much any standard.
Prowler wrote:A lot of people outside of Japan and Korea listen to pop music from those countries but I never really hear or read anything about Chinese pop music.

Yeah, I've noticed the same and sometimes feel kinda bad about not listening to much Chinese music; I just haven't been able to find much that sounds as enjoyable as Japanese music. There are also only a few Korean artists/bands I've listened to more than once. Japanese music just seems more varied, like there's a lot of Japanese metal, experimental music, jazz, etc. while Korean music seems to be 99% pop and hip hop; pop and hip hop can be nice, but it often feels like Korean pop and hip hop aren't as interesting as Japanese pop and hip hop.

I mean, in all honesty my impression is that with Japanese pop it's possible to suspend disbelief regarding its purely commercial intent and enjoy the music (and there's at least an illusion of musicality), whereas with Korean pop it comes across as so blatantly made for no other purpose than to make money that it's much harder to enjoy (and there isn't even an illusion of musicality, pop stars are just "symbols"). Also, real instruments are still common in Japanese pop while Korean pop seems 99% electronic; when it comes to the electronic stuff, there's more experimentation with different sounds and effects and stuff in Japan. Not to mention influence from genres outside pop (and hip hop and electronic music), which isn't that out of the ordinary in Japanese pop, but I've yet to hear in any Korean pop.

Of course, it's possible that that's only my impression because I've listened to much more Japanese pop than Korean pop and the Korean pop I've listened to has always been the most mainstream stuff possible with like one or two exceptions. I'm also not saying Korean pop is bad, a lot of it is definitely well-made and enjoyable as its own thing in the right mood. And sex sells, so of course the Korean lewdness is a factor in why Korean pop is popular around the world... same as with American pop.

But Chinese music... I don't know, I tried to find some once but just couldn't find much. It was weird. I tried to search on Youtube and VK but only found a couple of songs by random artists; it was really bizarre, since China is so huge and it should be easy to find Chinese music. But apparently it's not. Maybe there's some kind of counter-censorship, or was at the time...? No idea, honestly, and I haven't been arsed enough to try again.
Prowler wrote:And usually when I hear of well-known Chinese movies, 99% of them seem to be from Hong Kong, NOT from Mainland China.

Same, although personally I've tried to watch mainland Chinese films once in a while. Some are actually great (although I can't remember any that were actually great right now off the top of my head), but others... :lol:

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Prowler » 2019-01-23, 20:24

vijayjohn wrote:Japanese and Korean pop culture are probably more well-known worldwide, but that's because Japan and Korea both gained a lot of wealth and foreign investment especially after World War II whereas the People's Republic of China was much more isolated for about forty years if I'm remembering correctly. It's not until relatively recently that the Chinese government started focusing a lot of attention on improving China's image abroad.

True. As for the Chinese government trying to improve Chinas' image abroad, what exactly have they been doing? Only heard about them telling Chinese tourists to behave better or something.


vijayjohn wrote:That's odd because I don't think I even know of any movies from Hong Kong. Are you by any chance thinking of Jackie Chan movies?

Sure, but also Jet Li and Bruce Lee. They made movies in HK before making American movies. Bruce Lee was probably the first big HK movie star to make it abroad.

Also, SHAOLIN SOCCER, man! Granted it's heavily influenced by the anime/manga Captain Tsubasa, but still a very fun movie.

Anyway, Hong Kong was under British control for a long time and thus independent from Mainland China and a democratic territory, so I guess that's part of the reason why its cinematic industry was able to flourish.

Vlürch wrote:Yeah, I've noticed the same and sometimes feel kinda bad about not listening to much Chinese music; I just haven't been able to find much that sounds as enjoyable as Japanese music. There are also only a few Korean artists/bands I've listened to more than once. Japanese music just seems more varied, like there's a lot of Japanese metal, experimental music, jazz, etc. while Korean music seems to be 99% pop and hip hop; pop and hip hop can be nice, but it often feels like Korean pop and hip hop aren't as interesting as Japanese pop and hip hop.

I mean, in all honesty my impression is that with Japanese pop it's possible to suspend disbelief regarding its purely commercial intent and enjoy the music (and there's at least an illusion of musicality), whereas with Korean pop it comes across as so blatantly made for no other purpose than to make money that it's much harder to enjoy (and there isn't even an illusion of musicality, pop stars are just "symbols"). Also, real instruments are still common in Japanese pop while Korean pop seems 99% electronic; when it comes to the electronic stuff, there's more experimentation with different sounds and effects and stuff in Japan. Not to mention influence from genres outside pop (and hip hop and electronic music), which isn't that out of the ordinary in Japanese pop, but I've yet to hear in any Korean pop.

Of course, it's possible that that's only my impression because I've listened to much more Japanese pop than Korean pop and the Korean pop I've listened to has always been the most mainstream stuff possible with like one or two exceptions. I'm also not saying Korean pop is bad, a lot of it is definitely well-made and enjoyable as its own thing in the right mood. And sex sells, so of course the Korean lewdness is a factor in why Korean pop is popular around the world... same as with American pop.

But Chinese music... I don't know, I tried to find some once but just couldn't find much. It was weird. I tried to search on Youtube and VK but only found a couple of songs by random artists; it was really bizarre, since China is so huge and it should be easy to find Chinese music. But apparently it's not. Maybe there's some kind of counter-censorship, or was at the time...? No idea, honestly, and I haven't been arsed enough to try again.

Yes, I agree. In fact, Japan actually has the 2nd biggest domestic music market in the world. The 1st one being USA. This might sound surprising, but a lot of Japanese music doesn't make it outside of the country or just barely. You can find Japanese music in Spotify, but K-pop is easier to find there, just like in stores here at least.

And yes, it seems like most Korean music I run into is K-pop and/or hip-hop. I've run into all sorts of different music coming from Japan. And yes, even when it comes to their pop music, J-pop overall seems more sober and less plastic, and I'm not referring t the surgery procedural the singers had. K-pop is more intense and more commercial.

That's strange. You'd think such a highly populated country would have more of that kind of content, or at least would be easier to find.

Vlürch wrote:Same, although personally I've tried to watch mainland Chinese films once in a while. Some are actually great (although I can't remember any that were actually great right now off the top of my head), but others... :lol:


I don't think I've ever seen a movie from Mainland China. From the top of my head I know there's one that's supposed to be good but also rather disturbing and depressing. I think it's either about Unit 731 or the Nanjing Massacre. Doesn't really sound like the type of movie you watch to relax and have a good laugh.

Also, what about Taiwan? Is Taiwanese cinema and music popular outside of Taiwan or not really?

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2019-01-23, 20:54

Prowler wrote:Also, what about Taiwan? Is Taiwanese cinema and music popular outside of Taiwan or not really?

In Japan there was talk of a "Taiwanese Wave" (台流) and Taiwanese pop music in Mandarin once rivaled K-pop in popularity, but I haven't really heard of any Taiwanese artists getting popular outside of East Asia.

In cinema, the big breakthrough director is Ang Lee, but he only really hit it big after making blockbuster movies in English. Like HK cinema, Taiwanese cinema took a huge nosedive in the 90s due to piracy and is only recently showing signs of recovery.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-01-24, 6:46

The reasons why Chinese people tend to consider Chinese a single language are ultimately historical and are associated with cultural unity.
Prowler wrote:As for the Chinese government trying to improve Chinas' image abroad, what exactly have they been doing?

Doing business more with other countries, hosting the Olympics, buying up foreign businesses, setting up Confucius Institutes...


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