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Bob Kanefsky writes:
If UN*X is sensitive to the case of written commands, then surely future
state-of-the-art UN*X environments that understand spoken commands will be
tone-sensitive, like Asian languages in which a different tone makes it a
different word (especially if future computers all come from Japan).
Sigh. Japanese and Korean do not use tones. Mandarin uses four tones,
Cantonese uses seven. Japanese pronunciation is quite straightforward; the only
items that are even vaguely hard are the "tsu" (as in "bat soup"), the huffed
unbitten "fu" (as in, "Whu I'm tired"), the Spanish single-click "r" ("pero"),
the monosyllable consonant-y glides, e.g. "kyu" (as in "skewer" or "cue".
You don't say "SKEEyuwer"; please don't say "Keeyoto" when it's spelled "Kyo_to"),
and the double-length vowels [variously represented as a repeated vowel,
a vowel with a macron or accent-circumflex, or a following dash] as in the
difference between "Yoko Ono", the normal 2x "ooh noo", and Mr. Bill's
4x "ooooh noooo". Only the five Spanish vowels are used. That's it,
that's all. Spoken Japanese is easier to learn than even Spanish, having
no gender, no number, no person, no future tense, no determiners, no case,
basically no plurals, and basically four irregular verbs in the whole language.
Adjectives get declined for present/past tense and positive/negative;
word order is Subject Object Verb. Ridiculously easy.
Japanese kids all have 6 years of English required through high school.
I am ashamed to say that most American high schools do not even have a
Japanese program available. I encourage the readers of this net to learn
as much as possible about the language and culture of one of the most
powerful economic forces in the world.