Counting Heads

Peter_Constable at Peter_Constable at
Wed May 28 15:49:50 CEST 2003

John Cowan wrote on 05/28/2003 01:46:40 PM:

> I don't think it is a counterexample, because "zh" really means "Sinitic
> languages"

Actually, I thinks is just slightly different from that since I doubt
anyone would ever dream of using "zh" for the Dungan language, which is
from the same family node within Sino-Tibetan but is spoken in Kyrgyzstan.

I'd say the denotation of "zh" is "Chinese languages spoken in China (and
possibly elsewhere)". Another possibility might be "Chinese languages
normally written with Chinese ideographs", but since it's not clear that
all of them are written or widely thought of as written (e.g. Jinyu (Ethn
CJY), Huizhou (Ethn CZH), Xiang (Ethn HSN), or Gan (Ethn KNN)), that
definition doesn't quite work well. It would have to be "Chinese languages
normally written with Chinese ideographs, or that would most likely be
written with Chinese characters, if written", but the determining factor
there is probably location of the heartland in China. So, I come back to
the first suggestion for the denotation I mentioned.

> and "zh-hakka" is a particular Sinitic language.  When _Hakka_
> in particular is written (as opposed to writing Standard Mandarin in
> either hant or hans and then reading the characters with Hakka
> then script (latn vs. hans vs. hant) is surely subordinate to Hakka-ness.

I'd certainly agree with you on that bit.

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485

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