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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default pronunciation-borowing - Chinese can advise me better

    This is about pronunciation-borrowing from English, and I don't know if the following examples came through Chinese pronuciation filtering or directly from English to Korean.
    If any Chinese knows about this Chinese pronunciation for each one, please let me know or if even any native speaker. I mean Chinese do a lot of pronunciation borrowing like /kěkǒukělè/ for CocaCola. I want even native speakers to understand what I mean, about what's happening in other languages for English.

    kk196)Celcius => Seopsi /səpsi/(Korean)
    Fahrenheit => Hwa-si/hwasi/(Korean)
    Pan-Asia => Beom-Asia/bəm éiʃə/(Korean)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: pronunciation-borowing - Chinese can advise me better

    There is no such thing as 'pronunciation borrowing.' Words are borrowed, pronunciations are adapted. Generally, my Korean students feel confident that Korean pronunciations of international words are clear to English speakers, but they generally are not.

    Example: Bach, which my Korean students pronounce '/ba HA/'.

    You're right that lots of Korean words (60% or so) come from Chinese, but they were borrowed so long ago that the Northern dialects neighboring Korea had 8 tones rather than 4, and were pronounced quite close to Cantonese today, which hasn't changed much over the centuries.

    Examples: 학생, /hak seng/ = 學生 (Cantonese: /hok san/') vs Mandarin 学生 (/shue sheng/).
    Literature studies:
    문학, /mun hak/ = 文學 (Cantonese: /man hok/) vs Mandarin 文学 (/wen shue/).

    I also think you're right many scientific terms in Korean (and Japanese) are adapted from Chinese, which is the 'Greek' of the East, the go-to source for new words using old roots.

    Sometimes, the Japanese invent the 'Chinese' term before the Chinese do, as in Economics:
    経済学, now adopted into Chinese from Japanese.

    In any case, the pronunciations are fairly poor approximations and are not borrowed.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: pronunciation-borowing - Chinese can advise me better

    Thanks a lot for your deep understanding about pronunciation adaptation and the examples. I didn't expect some native speakers to understand such trend in Asia, but you do. In my opinion, Chinese do localization of English pronunciations in Chinese rather than adaptation, or maybe the two terms are identical. For example, they invented Dian Nao(meaning electronic brain for computer) or Se(wash) Noi(brain) (brainwash, I'm not sure of its Chinese pronunciation).

    I also heard that a Japanese scholar transformed tons of English pronunciations into Chinese letters in the early 19th century or so, which the three countries - Korea, China and Japan - share today.

    What I'm more curious about is if these words came through Chinese pronunciation adaptation(localization) to Korean or directly to Korean as these words' pronunciations seem to be similar to Chinese or even the Japanese may have done some of them. If anyone knows more, would you let me know?

    kk196)Celcius => Sepsi(Chinse) => Seopsi /səpsi/(Korean)
    Fahrenheit => Fasi(Chinese) => Hwa-si/hwasi/(Korean)
    Pan-Asia => fan-Asia(Chinese) => Beom-Asia/bəm éiʃə/(Korean)

  4. #4
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: pronunciation-borowing - Chinese can advise me better

    I can say almost certainly that they came through Chinese, then from Chinese to Korean.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: pronunciation-borowing - Chinese can advise me better

    To add a footnote -- the way the Chinese adapt their terms from Western ones is ingenious. Sheer wizardry. They have so many possibilities to deal with, because of the tones, and in spite of the phonetic differences. Example: from the Bible, the character of David, who slew Goliath. The Chinese scholars did not look merely at English: "David". Rather, they looked at the Hebrew, and Hellenistic Greek pronunciations, and had the two syllables "da" and "wei" to work with. There are 4 tones, and many homonyms, so "da" had from 4 to 10 possible characters, and similarly, "wei" had from four to ten, roughly speaking. That leaves about fifty or more possible "translations" of a mere name, David, as "Dawei". What did they choose? 大卫, both tone 4. The meaning? "Great Defense."

    So the need to translate foreign names honorably, and with meaning, outweighs the need to match modern Western linguistic frequencies -- modern English and modern French aside. The suffix 'si' shows they are both treated as scales of heat, and are conceptual Chinese translation-adaptations, not clumsy phonetic approximations. In fact, they are clearly abbreviations, rather than full terms.
    Last edited by konungursvia; 24-Mar-2013 at 02:45.

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