The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing:

'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which phonetic elements were added, and were to continue to label those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which semantic symbols were added, then the distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'
I am having a little trouble interpreting its meaning, and I was wondering if I could get some insights into the matter.

In particular, the syntactical analysis of the second independent clause is not clear to me, i.e.,
'were to continue to label those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which semantic symbols were added'.

There seems to be two possible analyses here, depending on whether 'those' is taken to be a demonstrative pronoun or a demonstrative adjective:
1) 'label' is complex-transition (to use Huddleston's terminology), with'those which were derived ...' as the direct object, and 'phonograms' as the complement; or
2) 'label' is monotransitive, with 'those phonograms which were derived...' as the direct object.
Syntactically, the second option seems more likely from a stand-alone viewpoint, yet, given an almost parallel construction in the first independent clause, it would seem that the first option should be favoured.
However, neither seems entirely satisfactory to me. Is there perhaps another possible analysis which I have missed? I suppose the question is really: Are the zhuanzhu phonograms or not?
Unfortunately, I am rather wont to mistake complex sentences upon first reading, but I can usually figure out the correct construction in the end. This sentence has thus far eluded me, so I was hoping someone might be able to shed some light. FWIW, I think this is a poorly written sentence.
Sebastian.
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The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: 'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms ... I was hoping someone might be able to shed some light. FWIW, I think this is a poorly written sentence.

Perhaps if you would identify the author, we would know from their other writings exactly what they had in mind.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
"Sebastian Hew" (Email Removed) wrote on 26 Dec 2003:
I suppose the question is really: Are the zhuanzhu phonograms or not?

See this page for one answer:
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~clp/China/structure.htm

Here is a second:
http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/Hsu/newton.htm

A third, under the heading "LOGOGRAPHS:
http://www.humboldt.edu/~cllc/writesys.htm
And a fouth:
http://shl.stanford.edu/Crowds/hist/zhong.htm
You can find more by googling "zhuanzhu".

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I suppose the question is really: Are the zhuanzhu phonograms or not?

See this page for one answer:

Thanks for these links. However, the point was how the sentence I quoted was to be interpreted, i.e., does it say that zhuanzhu are phonograms or not. At least, that was what I intended.
I am familiar with the general literature on zhuanzhu my personal feeling is that this category is too nebulous and one can well do away with it but what I want to know is what the author of that sentence meant by it.
Sebastian.
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 文字學概要 (trans. as 'Chinese Writing') by 裘錫圭 (Ch'iu Hsi Kuei), originally written in Chinese.
The solution, of course, is to refer to the original text, and I have requested the university library to acquire the same, but this will take some time so, in the mean time, I would appreciate any opinion on how the sentence I quoted should be interpreted.
I am of course, interested to know what the sentence says, but I think the sentence is also interesting just from the standpoint of English grammar, and how its syntax may be analysed.
Sebastian.
The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: 'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms ... was hoping someone might be able to shed some light. FWIW, I think this is a poorly written sentence. Sebastian.

I think there is a word missing (or is zhuanzhu implied from earlier context?) in this position:
'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which phonetic elements were added, and were to continue to label those phonograms AS SOMETHING ELSE which were derived from existing characters to which semantic symbols were added, then the distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'
Or maybe the writer is just trying to distinguish zhuanzhu and "phonograms"? In which case it is just unclear writing on his or her part.
I am fairly close to the material being discussed, but not sure how the author has defined his or her terms...

/Geoff
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The following sentence is from a monograph on Chinese writing: 'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms ... insights into the matter. In particular, the syntactical analysis of the second independent clause is not clear to me, i.e.,

It's certainly very badly put together, but I'd be be a bit surprised if it weren't intended in the following sense:

If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those
phonograms which were derived from existing
characters to which phonetic elements were
added, and were to continue to label as phonograms those which were derived from existing characters
to which semantic symbols were added, then
the distinction between phonograms and the
zhuanzhu would be more rational.

Brian
>
>
I also subscribe to the missing words hypothesis,
but have different words to add, and am not at all close to the material.

I would add "as phonograms", resulting in:
'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which phonetic elements were added, and were to continue to label as phonograms those phonograms which were derived from existing characters to which semantic symbols were added, then the distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'
Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also. (It looks like nonsense, but intimidating nonsense.)
Sebastian Hew asks about:
'If one were to label as zhuanzhu only those phonograms ... distinction between phonograms and the zhuanzhu would be more rational.'

I think this is just garbled. Either the writer is not a native English speaker and got it wrong, or at some point the sentence was reworded and the change was not carried through properly. Probably "those phonograms which" is 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 a bit surprised if it weren't intended in the following ... existing characters to which semantic symbols were added, then the 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 zhuanzhu are a type of phonogram, but then the then-clause speaks of "the distinction between" them, implying that both in standard terminology as well as the hypothetical terminology being discussed they are two different things. Perhaps it should read "the distinction between zhuanzhu and other phonograms".

Mark Brader, Toronto > "One thing that surprises you about this business (Email Removed) > is the surprises." Tim Baker

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