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From: "Mark Millman"<Mark_Millman@hmco.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Hethor's Talk
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 15:43:51 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

mantis wrote:

> > As for Korean, I'm hardly arguing with you--I'm
> > on record as saying that it is Chinese

to which Christopher R. Culver replied:

> My reason that I reject Chinese is because Sev
> doesn't seem to mention tones, which are present
> in Chinese but absent in Korean. Both are, however,
> nasal monosyllabic tongues.

But Severian, since he doesn't speak Chinese, might well not notice the
tones--they're not that obvious to non-speakers even in Cantonese, which is
the more heavily tonal of the two major dialects.  The tones could be
interpreted, especially by someone who doesn't speak a tonal language, as
simply the natural rhythms and inflections of speech in that tongue.  It's
interesting to note that Mandarin, which would, given the lack of state
resources available to most Cantonese-speakers, seem to be more likely as
the language of a spacefaring culture, is more heavily nasal than
Cantonese--so much so that even those who don't speak Chinese can sometimes
tell them apart by the sound.

Mark Millman

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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