Author: shakyamuni

High time China Adapts a More Evolved Writing System than HanZi [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-2-18 22:57:15 |Display all floors

thanks for your post # 26.  I will try to find out more about the Japanese issue you mentioned.  I need to understand the linguist/expert's viewpoints on this issue.  Can you direct me to any source of material if you have any?

By the way, there is no ulterior or hidden purpose behind this thread.  It was an attempt to understand the issue, debate it.  But based on the reactions it has elicited, it appears to me that HanZi is more a matter of cultural pride than anything else.  Without it the Chinese seem afraid of losing cultural identity.  

However, I was disappointed by your "private invitation-only club" comment.  It reeks of xenophoba for the fast changing globalized world that we are all a part of.  But agin to each be its own.....

Zhu ni zhu nian kuai le !!!!!!!!!!!!

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Post time 2007-2-18 23:07:35 |Display all floors

Reply #22 shakyamuni's post

No question of nationalism. Its a question of pragmatism. It is the Chinese written language that has served as the cementing factor in unifying such a diverse country. Given the size of China and the diversity in accents and pronunciations, it is often quite difficult for someone from the north to be understood in the southern coastal regions, and vice versa.  There is however always the written language to fallback on, and when things are written down, everything becomes clear.
The concept of a phonetic approach is not unknown to the Chinese language. If you look up the Kangxi Dictionary (1662-1722), every character in it has its pronunciation indicated by a phonetic system called Yunqie (韵切), and it is not difficult to figure out the spelling system that is used. Indeed, when Buddhism was first introduced into China, China must have taken note of the phonetic nature of the Pali language in which the Buddhist scriptures were written.  During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) a monk by the name of Shou Wen (守温), due probably to the influence of Pali, did in fact create a system of alphabets, but the system was not accepted and did not gain currency. Whatever the drawbacks of a heiroglyphic form of writing, the biggest advantage we have derived from it, is the one unified China that we have today.

With the advent of telegraphy and the Morse Code, the advantage of a phonetic system over a heiroglyphic system became clear, as all that was needed was 26 codes for the 26 alphabets. In the case of the Chinese language, we had a code book that needed as many codes as there were characters. At that stage, the pressing need for a phonetic system for the Chinese language was evident.
However, with the advent of the computer age and the PC, the difficulty in electronic communication using the Chinese heiroglyphic system has been solved and the need for a change is not that urgent anymore, or indeed if there is a need for any change at all, given the over-riding advantage that the heiroglyphic system has in unifying our diverse nation.

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Post time 2007-2-18 23:19:22 |Display all floors

Reply #31 shakyamuni's post

The biggest advantage of the Chinese language in its current form is the cementing role it plays in unifying such a diverse country and people the size of Europe. How many countries do you have in Europe?

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Post time 2007-2-18 23:20:18 |Display all floors

to #21

No, I was laughing at tongluren's argument that since the Chinese have a character-based writing system, they have more moral "character," and that since most other countries don't have character-based writing systems, they have less moral "character," therefore the non-character-based countries are more likely to have AIDS and STDs. Which is the most ridiculous argument I think I've ever heard.

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Post time 2007-2-19 02:28:44 |Display all floors

It is not a matter of cultural pride. Do you think I won't want to be rid of the character system if I can do so while preserving the chinese culture? The bottomline is, the chinese character IS the fundamental of its culture. you cannot abolish character without the culture being fundamentally destroyed. And to call that a culture “pride” is a totally wrong statement.

Are we afraid that the chinese culture is threatened? You bet we are.

And about the xenophobic statement, I did say "If I have any say in that matter..." Well, rest assured that I do not. My xenophobic tendency actually belongs to only a very few minority. Actually, I am not sure you can even call that xenophobic, because I happen to think that the chinese in the mainland is doing a rather credible job of destroying their own culture. And I don't hate the westerners, I just prefer to talk to them in english.

Call it cultural elitism.

Anyway, no-one can stop you from learning about the chinese culture if you really want to.

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Post time 2007-2-19 02:34:30 |Display all floors
Every language is developing, particularly today when borders disappear. The question is: is Chinese writing system prepared for changes?
If not, maybe the whole Chinese languge will be replaced by another one (English?) one day.

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Post time 2007-2-19 02:35:08 |Display all floors

I made a reply but somehow it didn't appear. But anyway, here's a shorter version.

You don't call it a cultural pride when the elimination of character system will eliminate the chinese culture. Pride is a matter of perception. This is a matter of fact.

You can't call me xenphobic: I held many chinese in contempt when I think they are destroying their own culture and I don't hate the westerners: I just prefer to talk to them in English. If you must label my attitude, try "cultural elitism".

Lastly, no-one can stop you from learning about the chinese culture.

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