Berthold Frommann wrote:
> Mr. Daniels,
> > Why aren't the seven basic brushstrokes the "graphemes" of Chinese?
> > Aren't they much more the "atoms" of Chinese writing?

Please leave a space before your response

> You could call them this way, but those mere basic brushstrokes just don't
> carry any meaning in themselves.

Neither do phonemes.

> > If you can't tell me what you want "graphemes" to do, I see no use for
> > the term.

> Well, regarding Han-characters, there are quite a lot of graphical elements
> which do have a meaning but are not part of any of the various lists of
> "radicals" (the most frequently used being the Kangxi-radical system).
> (e.g. 寺 ("temple"), which appears in many characters (詩, 侍, 時, 特...)
> but is NOT a Kangxi-radical.)
> Therefore, I would call the radicals an incomplete subset of the graphemes
> of Chinese writing.

So why is something that has "incomplete subsets" (whatever those are)
(I can't see whatever you typed in Chinese) a useful bit of terminology
or categorization?

> Mind by the way that some of the graphemes can be further subdivided into
> other graphemes, so graphically speaking, there are combinations of certain
> graphemes which have a distinct meaning.

Yet another way in which "graphemes" are not parallel to phonemes etc.

> E.g.: 音 is not just a mixture of 立 and 日, but a unit on its own.
> The term "grapheme" is used by Japanologists and Sinologists a lot,
> actually.

They probably haven't read my articles.

> Berthold Frommann
> (Free University Berlin, Department of East-Asian Studies)
> P.S.: I wouldn't use the term when describing writing systems other than
> Han, logographic cuneiform, hieroglyphics and the like.

Well, what's the use of a linguistics (or semiotics) technical term with
a meaning already covered by another term -- viz., logogram?

> As Marco Cimarosti
> pointed out, it's extremely silly to analyse "B" into I and 3.

See my reply to Earl Herrick in the Vancouver LACUS (1994). I think it's
silly, too.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...