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Nov. 19, 2023, 5:37 a.m.
Extreme simplification and phoneticization
Extreme simplification and phoneticization
['ng', 'Mandarin', 'between', 'different', 'distinction']

Probably only Northeastern Chinese could understand. (source) "丿" is a stroke in the Chinese writing system, named "piě 撇" (defined as "a stroke that falls downwards towards the left"). "了" (le) is a suffix that represents perfect tense in MSM. So together, …

Extreme simplification and phoneticization

Out of curiosity, is there anything particularly blue about kohlrabi? Or is the second character unrelated to the color? You have asked such an excellent question that I will write a separate post on this puzzle, one that will lead us through Iranian, Turkic, and Greek languages. I can have difficulty hearing the difference between Mandarin syllables ending in -n, -ng, or sometimes even -zero, so it's easy for me to believe that le and lan might be slurredly homophonous. I always feel especially embarrassed about not hearing the difference between -n and -ng because, after all, that very contrast is robustly drawn in my native English. Presumably what's going on is some combination of Chinese people who don't make this distinction - I am told this is a feature of 江苏话, I think? ; the otherwise different phonology of Mandarin messing up whatever methods I normally use to distinguish -n from -ng; and perhaps the distinction between /n/ and /ŋ/ being somehow different in Mandarin than it is in English?

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