Author: pnp

Are The Chinese Losing Their Ability To Write Chinese? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-11-27 13:25:39 |Display all floors
This post was edited by pnp at 2017-11-27 13:26
Ted180 Post time: 2017-11-27 00:36
Non-phonetic alphabets are clumsy. The traditional Mandarin ideographs should be confined to "high c ...

No, Chinese can never be 'replaced by pinyin', it is very much a part of Chinese culture.  They should make it easier for foreigners to understand, by including hanyu pinyin with the tone indicators, alongside the Chinese characters, in all public signs!

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Post time 2017-11-27 21:20:22 |Display all floors
pnp Post time: 2017-11-27 13:25
No, Chinese can never be 'replaced by pinyin', it is very much a part of Chinese culture.  They sho ...

The basic idea of handwriting (and learning it) is to look at something and then copy it many times. This is quite simple process (even with local charactersitics like remembering stroke order). The ability to learn it for future generations will not be lost, even if handwriting disappears from culture temporarily and the need for it comes again later.

Cultures change, and that's how new cultures are born too. There was no culture (Chinese or other) until sufficiently sustainable development occurred to last long enough to be called "culture" by later generations.

I think, that it is somewhat arrogant for current generations (and especially the older ones) to think that this is the peak of all cultural development, and block further development only on that ground.

In this thread I have yet to see a sustainable argument to defend the idea why handwriting should remain in advanced human cultures in future. People only state that it should, without giving any real reason.

As I wrote earlier, in my opinion technology (starting from printing press and continuing with mobile devices of today) has only made ability to read and write only much more important.

And here we get to two dimensions of writing.

One is the technical process in which you put your messages in whatever media.

And the second is to have sufficient vocabulary and grammar and ability to construct them in sentences so that your messages get understood.

It doesn't matter how many characters you can write, if you cannot build anything meaningful with them.

Most people in China and elsewhere already do not need handwriting for more than filling occassional form or writing their signature in store receipts. And both of those are increasingly possible without any handwriting too. Forms go on web, and identification is done by mobile device - or you fingers or eyes.

Even (or especially) those who write for living (authors for example), use computers for that.

Personally I am too old to send out handwritten love letters, and in case of some catastrophy that makes all electronic devices useless, I would have more to worry than my ability to write.

That said, I can still handwrite in my own language and English if need arises. Even if I didn't, there would be other skills that I would consider more important than writing by hand - such as speaking and reading Chinese for example. And even then, it would be sufficient for me to be able to read digitally printed characters and good sentences, and not so much random hieroglyphs in random order written by a random dude.




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Post time 2017-11-27 21:33:17 |Display all floors
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Post time 2017-11-27 22:26:53 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2017-11-27 21:33
I think what you overlooked is the fact that learning to READ reposes first of all on your abili ...

Well I don't read or write Chinese, so I cannot argue about that.

But I disagree about having to handwrite a western language in order to learn or remember how to read it.

Besides, the OP as well as various subsequent comments (yours included) highlight the possibillity (and I don't argue with that) that typing on mobile devices and other hardware is weakening people's handwriting skills - if that is the case, doesn't it only prove that people can read and write (and probably do it more than they would if such devices didn't exist) even if they are losing their handwriting ability?

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Post time 2017-11-27 22:46:54 |Display all floors
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Post time 2017-11-27 23:10:50 |Display all floors
This post was edited by Jaaja at 2017-11-27 23:11
seneca Post time: 2017-11-27 22:46
If people only learn to "read" without learning how to write, they would have to devote an enormou ...
have to devote an enormous amount of time getting their brain hard-wired so they can remember the hundreds of thousands of letter combinations that the English lexicon provides

Perhaps that's again the phoneme principle coming from my own language, but I don't think that I need more than the 26 letters in English alphabet (52 considering uppercase and lowercase) and sufficient vocabulary and grammar to build those hunders of thousands of letter combinations from them.

Besides, I think that you are ignoring the fact that just like people are losing their handwriting ability thanks for digital devices, learning to read and write is (or should be) also going through evolution thanks to those same devices.

Certainly it could be troublesome to learn the 52 letters by just reading a book and not writing them on paper yourself.  But if you no longer do much reading from paper books, you should also considering learning the letters from software applications. The learning process in such can be made much more interactive and fruitful than the old way of pen and paper.

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Post time 2017-11-28 12:21:13 |Display all floors
This post was edited by pnp at 2017-11-28 12:23
Jaaja Post time: 2017-11-27 21:20
The basic idea of handwriting (and learning it) is to look at something and then copy it many time ...

It would be a real pity if, through reliance on the modern cellphone, the Chinese lose their ability to write their own language which was handed down to them from thousands of years.
Chinese characters are not just like the words of other more modern languages; it has great cultural and historic values, having evolved from pictures carved on stones, then on bamboo, etc   It must not be viewed as just another communication tool, a function which modern devices can do too;  it's value lies in its historical past and ancient civilization, something too valuable to be replaced by modern devices!

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