Day thirty-five -- phonological reconstruction vs PreBabel (Chinese).
Question -- from "sangi39" -- A statistic you seem to miss again and again is that using phonological reconstruction of older forms of the Chinese languages, it can be shown that 90% of Chinese characters are derived from a semantic element and a phonetic element (which may also carry added semantic meaning).
Answer -- I do not truly understand this statement. If the "older forms of the Chinese languages" means the traditional Chinese characters (the Big 5), then the number should be 100%. In general, Chinese characters are divided into a few groups, the sense determinator words and the phonetic loan words are the two largest groups. Many people say that the phonetic loan word group accounts for the 90% of all Chinese words, and it is simply wrong. Although I did not say it out loud before that the sense determinator process is the dominating force in the constructing the Chinese word system, I want to make it clear now that phonetic loan procedure is only an auxiliary process. As 90% sense determinator words do carry sound tags, the old schoolers are simply mistaken them as phonetic loan words.
In "Lesson three" of my book "Chinese Etymology", it showed 4-dimensional growth paths for the Chinese characters.
+ Vertical growth,
+ Horizontal growth.
+ Silent growth
+ Phonetic growth
The details of this is available at,
The following is a quote from "The Columbia History of the World". What it said is simply "wrong". Those authors had no idea about Chinese Etymology.
On page 112, The Columbia History of the World, ISBN 0-88029-004-8, it states, "Structurally, the Chinese writing system passed through four distinct stages. No alphabetic or syllabic scripts were developed, but each word came to be denoted by a different character. The earliest characters were pictographs for concrete words. A drawing of a woman meant a woman, or of a broom a broom. Such characters were in turn combined to form ideographs. A woman and a broom became a wife, three women together treachery or villainy. The third stage was reached with the phonetic loans, in which existing characters were borrowed for other words with the same pronunciation. The fourth stage was a refinement of the third: sense determinators or radicals, were added to the phonetic loans in order to avoid confusion. Nine-tenths of the Chinese characters have been constructed by the phonetic method. Unfortunately, the phonetics were often borrowed for other than exact homophones. In such cases, the gaps have widened through the evolution of the language, until today characters may have utterly different pronunciations even though they share the same phonetic. The written language, despite its difficulties, has been an important unifying cultural and political link in China. Although many Chinese dialects are mutually unintelligible, the characters are comprehended though the eye, whatever their local pronunciation. One Chinese may not understand the other's speech, yet reads with ease his writing."
Question -- from "sangi39" -- I have recently been told by one of my friends studying the etymology of Chinese characters at Sheffield University (not as a course but as a module) that the phonetic element may also give a semantic hint.
Answer -- Although phonetic is only an auxiliary process, it does play some important roles. Again, the following is quoted from "Lesson three" of "Chinese Etymology."
1. As the sound of all sound modules does not arise from their composing roots, their meanings are inferred from their composing roots only.
2. The meaning of any word which does not carry a sound tag explicitly is inferred from its composing roots.
3. For phonetic loan words, the sound tag is acting only as an ID differentiator. By knowing the silent root or module, we know the entire word group. We know one; we know 100.
4. For sense determinator words:
1. If it does not carry a sound tag, its meaning is inferred from its composing roots only.
2. If it does carry a sound tag,
1. its meaning is inferred from its composing roots together with the meaning of the sound tag while the phonetic component of the sound tag does not make a direct contribution.
2. its meaning is inferred from its composing roots together with the sound tag while the phonetic plays a major role.
Again, this is available at,
Question -- from "sangi39" -- I never said Chinese characters couldn't be broken down into constituent characters, what I am saying is that the 3,000 characters developed by Chang (and by the way I'd like a source or two from other authors to clarify that event's occurrence) are more likely to have been created using semantic and phono-semantic elements based on the 3,300 standardized Small Seal characters of Prime Minister Lisi under the First Emperor Qin Shi Hunagdi, rather than only using a set of 220 root characters (of which I'd also like a source from another author to back up the claim) although breaking them down in such a way in the form they exist in today may act as a mnemonic to remember the form of the character itself. In my opinion you seem to be taking this idea of a character breakdown to create a mnemonic a step too far in claiming that such a method was actually used to create the characters in the first place.
Answer -- I talked about this issue in my previous post. The Creator created this universe. We physicists invent Physics. They are two different things. My physics, the "Super Unified Theory" (US Copyright number TX0001323231, issued on April 18, 1984) and Prequark Chromodynamics (http://www.prequark.org/), was invented 30 years ago. As soon as the "Large Hadron Collider" at CERN in Geneva gets its act together, there is a chance to test the validity of that physics. If it is wrong, it will be in the trash can in no time. Before then, my physics is not in the trash can but in a freezer, on the bookshelf of many university libraries. If it is proved to be true, then my invention is identical to the Creator's method. Yet, He did his while I did mine. I did not peek into His notebook. It took many years of my youth life to dream up my physics. Did the Creator drew up those physics laws before He did His act? I don't really know but don't think so. He probable just did without thinking while I did quite a bit of thinking day and night for many years.
On the same token, I think that Chang constructed those 3,000 characters without the 220 root word set on his desk. If he had it, he would have been able to construct those 3,000 characters in days, not 10 years.
This 220 root word set is my invention which can describe all Chinese characters, all 60,000 not just Chang's 3,000. The Kangsi dictionary did come up a 214 radical set, but that choice was and is not good. For 2,000 years, every Chinese character is viewed as an arbitrary blob. The Kangsi set did pull a head (the leading radical) out of those blobs, but the remaining body of the blob remains to be a blob. Yet, my 220 root word set show the exact anatomy of every those blobs.
Question -- from "sangi39" -- The thing is, we're essentially criticizing your work on the basis of a lack of external referencing, i.e. referencing the work of other authors and historical works to positively support your claim, that is, the use of past and historical sources which actually agree with you fully rather than using negative critiques of past work (basis a claim on negative evidence is a bit of a no-no where I come from), as well as the lack of linguistic and psychological terminology in place of mathematical formulae and no-like-for-like analogies and an overall lack of large-scale and in-depth testing over a long period of time.
Answer -- I am not here to seek praise but to seek critiques. The more flaws you can find for me, the better the PreBabel is going to be. I am a bit disappointed that your critiques are based on lack of external referencing, ... of other authors and historical works to positively support your claim, ... lack of linguistic and psychological terminology ....
All (each and everyone of them) old schoolers do not know,
1. The Lii character set is a mutant of the Small Seal set. That is, they are different spices. As I said, what they are doing is the same as describing the human evolution with the finding of Neanderthal.
2. Every Chinese blob character has an internal structure.
How can I find any positive support from them? The PreBabel is a science. The PreBabel (Chinese) is also a science. That is, both of PreBabel (Chinese)'s claim are testable.
1. Claim one: each and every Chinese character can be dissected with the 220 (+ 50 some variants) root words. This is a very simple test, simply try out one word at a time.
2. Claim two: While learning 3,000 Chinese characters takes 5 to 10 school years for a native Chinese kid via the old school way, it needs only 300 hours of good study for a 10 year old American kid if he learns Chinese characters via the PreBabel (Chinese). We already have many cases for anyone to study. Of course, more tests can be done.
PreBabel is the true universal language, it is available at