Department of Linguistics University of California, Berkeley
In a lecture given in 1786, Sir William Jones, Chief Justice of India and founder of the Royal Asiatic Society, noted the strong relationship in verbal roots and the grammatical forms of Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin. This similarity, he remarked, could not have been produced by accident; these languages must have originated from a common source. He added that Gothic, Celtic, and Old Persian may have come from the same origin. Others had also noted the similarity between Sanskrit and other languages by comparing words from different languages. Though he was not the first, Jones is often credited with the birth of Indo-European linguistics by eloquently stating that a common source, later to be identified as Proto-Indo-European, was the ancestor of these related languages. The discovery of sound laws in the 1860's helped to establish the foundation of comparative Indo-European linguistics. It is upon such regularly occurring sound laws that allowed comparisons to be made; exceptions to the laws needed to be explained. Today the study of IE linguistics draws on work done in phonetics, dialectology, typology, and other fields but the basis of comparison still rests on the set of correspondences between the languages.
The term "Mandarin" refers to a group of Chinese dialects spoken in most of northern and southwestern China. Mandarin is known as ("common language") or (Beijing language) in the People's Republic of China (PRC), ("national language") in Taiwan, and ("Chinese language") in Singapore and Malaysia. Mandarin can also refer to Standard Mandarin, loosely based on the dialect of Beijing, the capital of PRC. In everyday usage, however, Mandarin refers to a large number of dialects that vary in mutual intelligibility. The English term "Mandarin" comes from the Portuguese mandarim , borrowed from Sanskrit mantrin "minister".
Chinese is a written language of great antiquity with an unbroken history dating back to 1,500 BC. There are several main periods in the history of literary (written) Chinese:
Preclassical (1,500 to 500BC) The earliest records of this period are short oracle inscriptions on bone and tortoise shell and an anthology of 305 poems from which scholars have been able to get a great deal of information about the language of that period.
Classical (500BC to 200AD) This period begins with the earliest writings of Confucius and ends with the Han dynasty (206BC - 220AD). There are many prose works dating back to this period.
Postclassical (200AD to mid 20th century) The language of this period was modeled on the language of the Classical period. However, even though the written and the spoken language(s) began to diverge to the point that the written form was no longer comprehensible to most people, it continued to be used by administrators, scholars, and the educated elite. This period produced some of the greatest literature of the Tang dynasty (618 to 907 AD) and a large number of neo-Confucian works. This style endured into the first half of the 20th century when efforts began to reform the written language to bring it closer to the spoken form.
Modern (mid 20th century to the present) In 1956, Modern Standard Chinese was introduced as part of a broad-sweeping reform to promote literacy. It was based on the pronunciation of the Beijing dialect of Mandarin, the grammar of Northern Mandarin, and the vocabulary used in colloquial speech. Part of the reform movement included the simplification of the traditional characters and the development and dissemination of a phonetic alphabet, known as Pinyin .
El japonés tiene 13 consonantes y 5 vocales. Se forman 323 sílabas. El chino tiene 21 consonantes y 6 vocales (a, i, u, e, o, ü,): se forman 410 sílabas. Tres tipos de sílabas del chino: 1) La que se compone solamente con vocales 2) La que tiene una vocal especial después de una consonante 3) La que tiene la combinación de consonante y vocal El mismo kanji se pronuncia de manera parecida en el japonés y el chino. Sin embargo, aunque el japonés tiene la combinación de vocal y consonante, el chino no la tiene. Eg: Eki, iku, etsu Entre los tres tipos, 90% de las 410 sílabas son del tipo tres.