from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The branch of Sino-Tibetan that comprises Chinese.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Relating to the group of Chinese languages
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Same as Sinic.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. of or relating to the Chinese people or their language or culture
- n. a group of Sino-Tibetan languages
In your example, Sinitic languages have very strict syllabic rules.
It is often seen as a Chinese dialect within the larger Sinitic language family.
Seen from this perspective, Taiwanese are the ultimate Chinese dissidents, not merely asserting democratic values against authoritarianism, but dissenting from the very core of Chinese-ness itself: the fundamental idea that Sinitic peoples must be part of a Chinese polity.
Vis-à-vis the number of tones, Mandarin was the more economical of the Sinitic languages, settling with four tones; the so-called "fifth tone" as in the interrogative particle, 吗 ma being in reality a misnomer for what is the reduced variant of any of these four tones.
So I guess we'll have to try this: Vis-à-vis the number of tones, Mandarin was the more economical of the Sinitic languages, settling with four tones,...
Right after your first comment, I already adapted my text to read: Vis-à-vis the number of tones, Mandarin was the more economical of the Sinitic languages, settling with four tones; ...
(Mar 25 2008) Based on the input from Movenon, I realize now that my initial statement in the first paragraph of this entry ("Mandarin was the more conservative of the Sinitic languages, settling with four tones,... ") is too vague and may cause confusion.
When I wrote "Mandarin was the more conservative of the Sinitic languages", I failed to specify clearly what sort of "conservatism" I was referring to although I allude to it immediately after this phrase.
This certainly was the case during the late classical and early medieval periods that followed the era of the First Emperor, for we have abundant information concerning non-Sinitic peoples from abroad living in the EAH during these times.
Sanskrit is one of the most highly inflected Indo-European languages, while Tibetan belongs to the Sinitic family of languages and is far less inflected.