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Chinese Checker

December 02, 1990

Re "The Mother Tongue" and Gene Fellner's Oct. 28 letter:

Chinese has a large vocabulary, as do other languages such as Arabic, but linguists believe that the predilection of English for foreign words and neologisms makes it the largest.

Furthermore, Fellner is wrong if he means to suggest that English has shallow roots; and the existence in English (and thousands of other languages) of tense and number can hardly be considered a handicap.

As for "Stone Age" relics, how about the Chinese logographs? Other languages outgrew logographs thousands of years ago. Even the Koreans and Japanese, who borrowed Chinese logographs, have discarded or simplified them, or complemented them with syllabaries.

Finally, re "ethnocentrism," which are the people who continue to refer to their land as, literally, the "Middle Country"?

JOSEPH MIRE

LONG BEACH

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