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Sebastian Hew asks about: I think this is just garbled. Either the writer is not a native English speaker and ... meant to be "as phonograms those which" or else "as phonograms those phonograms which", giving the following result: Brian Scott:

It's certainly very badly put together, but I'd be be ... distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.

Unfortunately, even with this correction the sentence is still incon- sistent with itself. Throughout the long if-clause it's clear that ... terminology being discussed they are two different things. Perhaps it should read "the distinction between zhuanzhu and other phonograms".

Obviously. I was specifically dealing with the main problem only.
Brian
The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: 'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms ... existing characters to which semantic symbols were added, then the distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'

My understanding of this passage is as follows.
'If those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which phonetic elements were added were labeled as zhuanzhu only, and hanzi which were derived from existing characters to which semantic symbols were added were labelled as phonograms, then the distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'
(Hanzi being Chinese characters)
Does this clarify it more?
Dyl.
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The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: ... distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'

My understanding of this passage is as follows. 'If those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which

On second reading, change that to
'If those hanzi which were derived from existing characters to which
The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: 'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms ... existing characters to which semantic symbols were added, then the distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'

Some people take this view:
Characters exist.
When, and only when phonetic elements are added, they are known as zhuanzu.
When no phonetic element is added, but a semantic symbol is added, the character is known as a phonogram.
Of course, what happens when you add a semantic symbol to a zhuanzu or a phonetic element to an already semantically enhanced phonogram, I am not in the way of knowing.

John Dean
Oxford
De-frag to reply
Perhaps if you would identify the author, we would know from their other writings exactly what they had in mind.

What I have is a translation by Gilbert Mattos and Jerry Norman of the monograph entitled æ–ý喗喸æ>‚è>* (trans. as 'Chinese ... think the sentence is also interesting just from the standpoint of English grammar, and how its syntax may be analysed.

Do you think you were being helpful by snipping the sentence in question from your message?

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
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What I have is a translation by Gilbert Mattos and ... of English grammar, and how its syntax may be analysed.

Do you think you were being helpful by snipping the sentence in question from your message?

I don't know that helpful comes into it, really. The sentence in question didn't seem to be particularly relevant in my response, so I trimmed it to keep the length of the post down. Should I infer that you are criticising me for it? Perhaps I did trim a little too much I probably should have left just the quoted sentence but it has always seemed faintly ridiculous to post a short reply at the end of a long quotation. You quoted my original post in extenso for a one sentence response, and I thought the length of the quotation a little excessive. Some happy medium is probably best.
Sebastian.
The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: ... distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'

Some people take this view: Characters exist. When, and only when phonetic elements are added, they are known as zhuanzu. When no phonetic element is added, but a semantic symbol is added, the character is known as a phonogram.

That makes no sense whatsoever. Even an incompetent translation team could not have intended that.
Of course, what happens when you add a semantic symbol to a zhuanzu or a phonetic element to an already semantically enhanced phonogram, I am not in the way of knowing.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
Some people take this view: Characters exist. When, and only ... symbol is added, the character is known as a phonogram.

That makes no sense whatsoever.

I'm afraid I can't make allowances for your interpretational skills. My post was intended for the average standard of ability here
Even an incompetent translation team could not have intended that.

I bow to your superior knowledge of incompetence.

John Dean
Oxford
De-frag to reply
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Tell me, o clever dean, why would someone apply the label "phonogram" to an entity that contains no phonetic element, but only a semantic indicator?

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
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