Lettered Words in Chinese: Roman Letters as Morpheme-Syllables
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Department of Linguistics
Citation:Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 59 (2010), 44-51.
In English individual letters are used to represent syllables, morphemes, and words in abbreviations. These uses of letters have been borrowed readily into Chinese, while the use of letters to represent phonemes in spelled words is less common. I discuss why the use of letters to represent units larger than the phoneme is more common in Chinese than their use in spelled words and what this reflects about Chinese morphology. I also argue that since abbreviations and letter-symbol words use letters as components of their structure, they show an interaction between orthography and morphology that should be recognized in morphological studies.
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