Jul 9, 2004 10:22 AM ®É¡AJohn Cowan ´£¨ì¡G
>Modern Mandarin Chinese definitely isn't monosyllabic,
>though most of its morphemes are (with the exceptions I
>mentioned earlier). The other Sinitic languages are
>closer to monosyllabic, and their common ancestor Middle
>Chinese was even closer.

At 09:49 AM 7/9/2004, John H. Jenkins wrote:
>Well, I'm not sure that Cantonese, at least, is any more monosyllabic than
>Mandarin. The sentence should be rewritten. It's intent is to say that
>since Chinese is isolating, has morphemes which are almost always one
>syllable, and forms almost all words as compound, its
>current writing system (whatever you want to call it) works well.

I'd actually still maintain that Cantonese is much more close to
"monosyllabism" than Mandarin is. Given that Cantonese has assimilated
and/or inherited polysyllabic (specifically disyllabic) lexical items from
inter-Sinitic contact and the nature of compounding neologism, I'd still
think that the relative non-need for phonological bulk suffixes, cf.
Mandarin -zi, -tou, etc., reduces the ratio of monosyllabic versus
polysyllabic lexical items in Cantonese.

At 09:49 AM 7/9/2004, John H. Jenkins wrote:
>(Indeed, I'd argue that for all its complexity, the current writing system
>for Chinese works better for Chinese than would an alphabet, which is one
>reason IMHO why pinyin failed to become the main way of writing Chinese as
>was originally hoped. When you gave your list of polysyllabic morphemes,
>since you did it in Mandarin romanization, it was a lot harder for me to
>understand than it would have been in hanzi.)

I completely agree!