All right, I dug up a table of the different syllables that exist in the Chinese language.* And I figured now would be as good a time as any to reduce the horribly unphonemic pinyin to the truely underlying phonemes.
I was surprised to find out that most gaps are easily explicable, and that Chinese only has two phonemic vowels: a and e/o. I named e/o E, it seems that o occurs when it is near labials.
Now according to my theory, every word is made out of this phonemic structure:
Where C is the initial consonant.
Y is the glide y or w
V is the vowel a or e.
and N is the nasal n or ng.
All of these parts can be either there, or not, as long as there's at least one element, it'll be a valid syllable (although some are restricted)
Now there's some interesting things to be seen.
Labial+w initial clusters don't exist except when not followed by a vowel. Which is easy enough to understand due to the labial nature of that glide. Besides that, it's interesting to notice that the c, ch, s, sh, z, zh and r don't occur when there's no glide on second position.
The only problem I had was getting rid of the words with ü, like nü. Right now I have that one as /nyay/ which is almost definitely wrong I can't think of any good reason why a phonemic /nyay/ would display [ny] phonetically. Nevertheless, the ü glides are much too small of a class to actually be phonemic, or so I'd like to think. It is of course possible.
I was delighted to see that j/q/x were just allophones g/k/h in front of front vowels and the y glide.
now there's the word final r. that comes from enclitic er. I think that this might phonemically be /ra/ but I'll have to look into it.
Now I'll provide a little pdf, which will need some explanation. The first three pages are pretty much the pinyin spelling, but compressed into the phonemic system which I think looks right. The next three pages contain the same table, but this time with my proposed phonemic spelling. the purple background entries are the ones I'm least sure about.
Please enjoy, and this is probably very confusing, I'll try to structure it more later on.
*out of this terrible habit of mine, whenever I refer to Chinese, I mean mandarin Chinese, which is the only Chinese language I'm remotely familiar with. Please excuse this perpetual misnaming.
It seems like I'm not the only idiot who came up with the two vowel system:
See page four of this article.
I'm not really sure whether I should be happy or whether I should cry. On the one hand, it's amazing that I found this myself in one day, without any prior knowledge of this research, on the other hand, I did not find a breakthrough new theory. Haha. Oh well. They do still analyse that darned ü to exist though. I'd like to have that out of the way. But signs indicate that I probably cant. Oh well.
I'll soon make a full sketch of the Mandarin Phonology the way I see it.