Influences on other languages

Discuss the Chinese language.
madhavi
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Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 8:43 am

Influences on other languages

Postby madhavi » Thu May 20, 2010 10:03 am

Throughout history Chinese culture and politics has had a great influence on unrelated languages such as Korean and Japanese. Korean and Japanese both have writing systems employing Chinese characters (Hanzi), which are called Hanja and Kanji, respectively.

The Vietnamese term for Chinese writing is Hán tự. It was the only available method for writing Vietnamese until the 14th century, used almost exclusively by Chinese-educated Vietnamese élites. From the 14th to the late 19th century, Vietnamese was written with Chữ nôm, a modified Chinese script incorporating sounds and syllables for native Vietnamese speakers. Chữ nôm was completely replaced by a modified Latin script created by the Jesuit missionary priest Alexander de Rhodes, which incorporates a system of diacritical marks to indicate tones, as well as modified consonants. Approximately 60% of the modern Vietnamese lexicon is recognized as Hán-Việt (Sino-Vietnamese), the majority of which was borrowed from Middle Chinese.

In South Korea, the Hangul alphabet is generally used, but Hanja is used as a sort of boldface. In North Korea, Hanja has been discontinued. Since the modernization of Japan in the late 19th century, there has been debate about abandoning the use of Chinese characters, but the practical benefits of a radically new script have so far not been considered sufficient.

Derived Chinese characters or Zhuang logograms are used to write Zhuang songs, even though Zhuang is not a Chinese dialect. Since the 1950s, the Zhuang language has been written in a modified Latin alphabet.[8]

Languages within the influence of Chinese culture also have a very large number of loanwords from Chinese. Fifty percent or more of Korean vocabulary is of Chinese origin, likewise for a significant percentage of Japanese and Vietnamese vocabulary. Chinese has also lent a great deal of many grammatical features to these and neighboring languages, notably the lack of gender and the use of classifiers.[citation needed]

Loan words from Chinese also exist in European languages such as English. Examples of such words are "tea" from the Minnan pronunciation of 茶 (POJ: tê), "ketchup" from the Minnan pronunciation of 鲑汁/鮭汁 (koe-tsiap), and "kumquat" from the Cantonese pronunciation of 金橘 (kam kuat).

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