- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 242 Hour
- Reading permission
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.