Why do we need a Q?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by PsychoticEpisode, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. temur man of no words Registered Senior Member

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    Is there an opposing force for palatalization?
     
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  3. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    Ah yes, digraph, that's what I meant. "œ" is still a diphthong though
     
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Without a Q, there would be no computer password QWERTY,
    which is unbreakable by any hacker,
    and Ducks would have to Uack.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
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  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Well Coran or Koran is certainly not the same as Quran.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Not that I've ever seen discussed. Palatalization is, after all, a simplification of sounds by relaxation of the tongue. Sort of verbal entropy.
    It certainly is in English. Q is invariably pronounced "K" in our language. We don't have those uvular (glottal?) phonemes that Arabic and Farsi have. It's like the TH sound of English, Spanish and Greek. Not many languages have those phonemes.

    Spelling "Koran" with a Q in English, to represent a sound from another language that we can't pronounce anyway, is just as much an affectation as spelling "Keltic" with a C, because Irish doesn't happen to have a K.

    English spelling is hard enough for children to learn. We should not be screwing it up further by importing foreign words without normalizing their spelling to the few pathetic rules we have.
     
  9. EntropyAlwaysWins TANSTAAFL. Registered Senior Member

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    I completely agree with you, however, your plan would require effort and therefore unlikely to materialize.

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    Oh and on more or less unrelated note; have I mentioned how much I hate the US English spellchecker that seems to periodically reassert itself in my browser every time it updates.

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    Damn Zs.
     
  10. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    You could put a ck where the letter q is on the keyboard.
    Then Muslims would read the Ckoran, ducks would ckwack, Presidents would be ckuackuaversal, and people would use the secret computer password ckwerty.
     
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I've always liked "Q".

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  12. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Me too.

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    A Bus ckyoo
     
  13. draqon Banned Banned

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    Avenue Q: Q train: Queens

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  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Re: Avenue Q: Q train: Queens



    Don't the walls of the New York Metro have adverts on them?
    If not, why not?
     
  15. draqon Banned Banned

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    the outer walls on the other side of the tunnel (were passengers cannot touch the wall) do not have any adverts. Safety reasons, I suppose. I mean imagine some kid looking at advert and coming closer to see it better and falling inside on the tracks...ouch

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    The inside of the tunnel, when the train is in motion has adverts that are displayed outside in the tunnel itself and look like a motion picture. Basically one looks outside the windows while the train is in motion and sees a motion picture advert of whatever being advertised from a series of pictures posted outside in the tunnel.

    However these ads are never on the walls of the platform where people are waiting for the train to arrive.

    The advertisement is rarely but displayed along the walls of the metro but only on the sides where there is not tracks in between ads and people viewing advertisement.

    Furthermore ads are rarely but are on the center of the platform itself, usually in the center of the platform is this metal thing with the metro map and some advertisement.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The same is true of the Washington Metro. They don't illuminate the platforms well enough to read, so ads are only mounted on lighted kiosks which are paid for by the advertising revenue. We also have those flickering animated ads on the tunnel walls--which if you ask me are a little annoying.

    I suspect it's a national standard. (Not that we have that many subways in America. There are about a dozen "rapid transit" systems and not all of them have underground segments.) Washington experimented with letting advertisers paint the entire exterior of a subway car. That idea ran into trouble when one many of the anti-drug-prohibition organizations wanted to paint a cannabis leaf on one.
     
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Seems like a waste of advertising space.
    Waiting for a train to arrive, you will read anything available.
    On the Tube, the inside walls are covered with huge posters.
    You wouldn't need to get close to read them.
    I saw one a few weeks back of a TV chef, and his gigantic head was so covered in acne marks and blackheads, usually made invisible with actors make-up, that I actually felt a bit ill.
     
  18. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    There has to be some sort of way to figure out what the maximum amount of information vs. the minimum amount of characters one needs, with inputs for complications and length. So, for example, you can convey a lot of information in Chinese, because they have more degrees of freedom. However, the language is very complicated. Likewise with English. We have a very weird language because there are tons of exceptions. An example from the other end of the spectrum is Hawaiian. They have something like 13 letters in their alphabet, so the names of things are very long.

    Does anyone know if such a calculation exists.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Chinese is not complicated. There are no inflections so the grammar is very straightforward. No person, no tense, no gender, no number, no case. There are no articles, no prepositions, in fact the only parts of speech are nouns and verbs, with just a couple of (optional) particles whose practical purpose is merely to make it easier to parse the sentence.

    But your basic point is correct. Spoken Chinese is a more compact language than English. By my own not-very-scientific count, I'd say that it takes an average of seven syllables in Chinese to express what takes ten in English. And English itself is pretty compact.

    As a result, Chinese can be (and often is) spoken more slowly then English, which makes it easier for students and non-native speakers to follow.
     
  20. tim840 Registered Senior Member

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    well another thing we use qs for, speaking of chinese, is romanization of languages that dont use our alphabet. but in pinyin, the letter q is pronounced uniquely, and cannot be replaced. if we got rid of qs, learning chinese would be much harder.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The first transcription system I learned was the Yale. I think it's the best for English-speaking people who haven't actually studied Chinese and don't understand its phonetic structure, because none of the letter-to-phoneme mappings are counterintuitive. Chang/qiang, zhang/jiang and shang/xiang are chang/chyang, jang/jyang and shang/syang.
     

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