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Thread: Spoof News: China Plans to Phase Out Chinese Characters ?

  1. #1
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Talking Spoof News: China Plans to Phase Out Chinese Characters ?

    What if you were to vote on this plan:

    Should China discontinue use of Hanzi (Chinese characters) and gradually move on to Pinyin Romnazation ?

    In order not to give you the wrong impression that this has actually been decided in China, below is quoted the "spoof" article with disclaimer.

    Chinese characters to be phased out in China


    Quote Originally Posted by Language news
    Chinese characters to be phased out in China
    By Wen Gaige
    Beijing, China

    Thursday, 1st April 2004

    The Chinese government announced today that it plans to phase out Chinese characters and replace them with Hànyŭ Pīnyīn, a system for writing Chinese with the Latin alphabet. This change will be incorporated into the five year plan commencing in January 2005 and should be completed by the end of 2010.

    A spokeswoman for the Latinisation Committee (Lādīnghuà Wĕiyuànhuì), which has been set up to oversee the change, told our reporter that Hànyŭ Pīnyīn will be introduced first in schools, then in official publications, and then in all other printed materials. She went on to say that the switch to the Latin alphabet will dramatically reduce the amount of time children need to spend learning to read and write Chinese, and will help to increase literacy among adults.

    The form of language used will be based on the Mandarin spoken by educated people in northern China. Written standards will also be established for other major varieties of Chinese, such as Cantonese, Min, Wu and Hakka.

    A spokesman for the Chinese Character Preservation Society (Zìbăohuì) claimed that abolishing the characters would cut the people off from over 3,000 years of literary heritage, and that the large number of homophones in Chinese would make any system based on the Latin alphabet difficult to read.

    The Latinisation Committee responded to these points by stating that Hànyŭ Pīnyīn versions of the major literary classics will be produced, and that grouping syllables into words will help to reduce the ambiguity of homophones.

    The progress of these changes will be observed with interest by the people of Taiwan and Singapore, though they are not planning to abandon Chinese characters just yet.

    Note: This article is a spoof intended for your amusement. The organisations and individuals mentioned are figments of the author's imagination. Various proposals have been made to replace Chinese characters with the Latin alphabet, though none have met with widespread support yet.

    Copyright © Simon Ager 1998-2004
    Last edited by lexico; May 13, 2005 at 03:37.
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  2. #2
    basketballman Dream Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    What if you were to vote on this plan:

    Should China discontinue use of Hanzi (Chinese characters) and gradually move on to Pinyin Romnazation ?

    In order not to give you the wrong impression that this has actually been decided in China, below is quoted the "spoof" article with disclaimer.

    Chinese characters to be phased out in China


    as a Chinese person, I am STRONGLY AGAINST this idea!

  3. #3
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    Why just not throw away everything that makes Chinese so different from western people? ... What have they started...t'is sad
    ~ Parempi hullu kuin tylsä - Better crazy than boring ~
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  4. #4
    basketballman Dream Time's Avatar
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    there are plans to replace Chinese characters with Latin, it is true...
    and if it does happen, i don't know how i should feel.
    China has been going through Westernization..we are starting to lose our culture by bits and bits...some of our historical buildings have been destroyed by the Chinese Communist government, and now we are talking about replacing Chinese characters with Latin...STOP IT

  5. #5
    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    Is it me, but weren't the words used for the thread SPOOF NEWS?
    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...
    Remember the Siruis Cybernetic Corportations motto: Share and Enjoy

  6. #6
    basketballman Dream Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius
    Is it me, but weren't the words used for the thread SPOOF NEWS?

    it is 'spoof news', but it is true that there are proposals to place Chinese characters with latin alphabet, and it is very dangerous for the culture

  7. #7
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Time
    it is 'spoof news', but it is true that there are proposals to place Chinese characters with latin alphabet, and it is very dangerous for the culture
    Nope, the culture is not endangered by changing the writing system.
    Culture is evolving continually, anyway, whether the writing system changes, or not.

  8. #8
    basketballman Dream Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    Nope, the culture is not endangered by changing the writing system.
    Culture is evolving continually, anyway, whether the writing system changes, or not.
    chinese characters have very important values in the culture, and there is so much history behind it, i don't like simplified chinese either, they said it helps the people to learn the language quicker, apparently that doesn't help at all, as China has millions of illiterate people. if they want everyone in the country to be able to read and write chinese, they should do it by putting people in school, not by changing the writing system.
    the chinese government has already destroyed many historical buildings, they are westernizing the country, as a chinese person i really hate that to happen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Time
    chinese characters have very important values in the culture, and there is so much history behind it, i don't like simplified chinese either, they said it helps the people to learn the language quicker, apparently that doesn't help at all, as China has millions of illiterate people. if they want everyone in the country to be able to read and write chinese, they should do it by putting people in school, not by changing the writing system.
    the chinese government has already destroyed many historical buildings, they are westernizing the country, as a chinese person i really hate that to happen
    for the historical buildings, they are deconstructed, because they are not longer productive/functional. that's my assumption, especially here in ireland, our econonomy is suffering from maintenancing such buildings. they are not economic, to heat/in terms of area usage and so on. just 30 percent higher costs, but this makes a deciding difference. and, they are unconfortable as well, leaking roofs and all these things.
    "i observe our economy additionally suffers from high maintenance costs"

    for the writing system, it is carricature, if people write japanese(in roman letters), first letter "Big", and even applying their grammar rules to it. probably japanese is the simpliest of the asian languages, and soon, all the countries are going to agree to it. most of it is indeed traditional chinese. and, it includes a lot english words, the roman spelling is emulated.
    "it seems like carricature to me right now" is more correct

    sorry, most of us western people can not derive anymore, what the letters are symbolizing. in school, i can remember, we made up ill-fashioned identities, for example "F"=fish and so on. this causes all the stupidity we have now, it allows to use words, without understanding them.
    "personally, i have difficulties to derive what the letters are symbolizing"

    indeed, the wallpaper of english is thinner than i assume sometimes. i wonder, that people are understanding each other.
    "it appears thin to me sometimes"

    greetings from orwell, short-speak, double-think and so on.

    chinese is called "language of the living symbols", as far as i can remember.
    i remember, i have read "language of the living symbols" attached to chinese language.

    roman letters utilize a system of 600000 words, to establish abstract identities. this is very useful, i.e. for computer programming. indeed, for human communication, i would prefer chinese/japanese.
    "it appears useful to me, as i am a programmer"

    i already dropped "everybody" "no-one" "must" "can not" "have to". now, i even try to minimze "is" and "be". of course, i do not use "will" anymore. because, we do not know tomorrow. we can only make assumptions.

  10. #10
    ~~ 铠赞's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    What if you were to vote on this plan:

    Should China discontinue use of Hanzi (Chinese characters) and gradually move on to Pinyin Romnazation ?

    In order not to give you the wrong impression that this has actually been decided in China, below is quoted the "spoof" article with disclaimer.

    Chinese characters to be phased out in China


    100% disagee.....I hate pinyin....Hanzi is the most beautiful writing(My opinion)

  11. #11
    born in the USSR Void's Avatar
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    Question i am, probably, inarticulate, but...

    It`s not for a first time when people in Linguistic`s treads said that language
    has not much to do with a culture. Why it is believed so?

    Since we are talking about written language i'll try not to digress much to
    the spoken one and to be short

    Besides many other differences between spoken and written language there is one very important - origin and therefore different psychological makeup. People are being taught to write.
    What does it mean "to write"? To express spoken language (one`s thoughts as a fact) in a set of special symbols. Then what is "to teach to write"? A complex process explaining how to put sounds, letters, words, phrases, ideas into the paper, how to correlate spoken language with a symbol, which represents it.

    And a way (technique, methodology) is not an inherent part of a culture? A symbol itself is not a part of a culture? (no matter what are we talking about - phonetic alphabet or hieroglyphs)

    why some nations use such complex characters? Can you easily answer? Here is wild guess (don`t kick with the boots too hard, though ) There are always talks about differences in eastern (asian) and western mentality. Well, what if at ancient times due to some causes creative thinking prevailed over analytical. And there was no other way for the mind than to create a number of pictographs. Later situation changed, but hyeroglyphs became an innate part of a nation, making it almost impossible easily to reduce the variety of elements of a spoken language only to a finite set of symbols. It meant to change (quite radically, i think) the patterns of thinking, even the way a state was organized (ecpecially if it already had a great archieve of documents). And a second - if these writing - "invention" of that nation and was not introduced from outside (by more powerful country) - why to abolish?

  12. #12
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void
    It`s not for a first time when people in Linguistic`s treads said that language has not much to do with a culture.
    [...]
    And a way (technique, methodology) is not an inherent part of a culture? A symbol itself is not a part of a culture? (no matter what are we talking about - phonetic alphabet or hieroglyphs)
    Of course writing is part of the culture, but it is not the culture. When the writing system changes that does not mean that the culture itself is endangered.

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    Even though I do agree that it takes a lot of effort to learn hazi, I think it would be a real shame if they decided to stop using them... There are a couple of important points in this that should be considered such as homonyms and the great number of various dialects throughout China. Isn't it the case that with hanzi, people are able to read for example newspapers in Chinese despite dialect boundaries? Also, when you think about pictograms, why didn't pictograms in China change into an alphabet as they have elsewhere? I'm quite sure someone has an answer to that, though.

    I think that the more likelier change (as opposed to completely abandoning the characters) would be for the government to continue simplifying the characters but this is also slightly problematic as it makes the characters more arbitrary...

    Someone told me that learning hanzi prevents dementia - isn't that one more reason why people should continue studying them?
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months

    - Oscar Wilde

  14. #14
    born in the USSR Void's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    Of course writing is part of the culture, but it is not the culture. When the writing system changes that does not mean that the culture itself is endangered.
    yet, it is not clear in science how much does the language affects the culture. Certainly, it doesn`t make the culture, but besides many other functions it`s also an instrument to preserve many cultural achivements, to
    bequeath the culture to the descendants. And when the language is gone, what is passed over. Why then we have such notion as "extinct culture"?

    It is also said, that the world view imprinted into the language spire in a culture like a grain which turns into a wheatear...

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    born in the USSR Void's Avatar
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    Talking returning to the topic

    i would vote for keeping with Kanji

  16. #16
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void
    yet, it is not clear in science how much does the language affects the culture.
    IMO, not much. It's the other way round: Culture affects language.

    Certainly, it doesn`t make the culture, but besides many other functions it`s also an instrument to preserve many cultural achivements, to
    bequeath the culture to the descendants.
    Preserve many cultural achievements? Only insofar as to write down what's going on in culture, but that can be done in virtually any script adapted to the particular language.

    And when the language is gone, what is passed over. Why then we have such notion as "extinct culture"?
    Because people seem to need easy labels.

    Cultures may have gone extinct (though many, which may be called extinct by some people, probably simply evolved), but most probably not because the language was lost, & surely not because the script changed. Just because the Koreans changed from Hanzi to Hangul doesn't mean that this change of script ended Korean culture.


    If it comes to a vote regarding Chinese Hanzi, I would abstain. That's for the Chinese to decide.

  17. #17
    {ɏZ݂!! marcus314's Avatar
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    How about phasing out the simplified Chinese characters and retaining the traditional characters?

    [Can someone correct me with the following if it's wrong?]

    The traditional characters are used in mainland China for official documents and governments. It has been going on for many hundreds of years. The simplified, on the other hand, the simplified characters were introduced during Mao's leadership.

    I personally see no point in understanding the simplified characters at that time when the traditional characters were still present........now people learning Chinese would have to go through the pain of learning two systems for some Chinese characters.....

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    CzN Creator Ermac's Avatar
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    Damn westerners and their world domination plans!!

    The system is fine the way it is.

    and although some of the historic buildings may be leeching to keep in them in repair well that shouldnt really be a factor in it.

    they are apart of chinese history, money should be no obsical(sp).

    - Ermac

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    Comfortably Ignorant Faustianideals's Avatar
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    I was learning the Chinese characters at a public college too! Blasted, why would they do that to their language? It's almost like slaughtering it.

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    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexriversan

    sorry, most of us western people can not derive anymore, what the letters are symbolizing. in school, i can remember, we made up ill-fashioned identities, for example "F"=fish and so on. this causes all the stupidity we have now, it allows to use words, without understanding them.
    "personally, i have difficulties to derive what the letters are symbolizing"

    the point of relating a letter with a word is to help children see connections in the english language. it is not used to create "identities". the roman alphabet is not a system of pictures and it doesnt need to identify each character with something. if you want to understand words and find out where they derive from why dont you read a dictionary. you said "its allows us to use words without understanding them" most western people have english as their frist language and when CHILDREN begin learning their native language they associates words with thoughts and pictures, why? because they are children when they learn and cannot read. im sorry alex but your post was the dumbest thing i have read in a while.
    ooo~

  21. #21
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ermac
    Damn westerners and their world domination plans!!
    I don't think, Westerners will have any influence on that decision. The Chinese are too nationalist to let the West play a role.

    Talking about buildings: money is an obstacle, whether you want it, or not. To keep all older buildings intact would be a waste of money, time & space. Something a developing (even as rapidly as the PRC) country cannot really afford.

    The old stuff should be properly researched & documented, but it's not necessary to keep all of it. Some representative locations for each style, period, a.s.o. can & should be kept as tourist attractions, but else ...

  22. #22
    silent-buddhist Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ermac
    Damn westerners and their world domination plans!!

    The system is fine the way it is.

    and although some of the historic buildings may be leeching to keep in them in repair well that shouldnt really be a factor in it.

    they are apart of chinese history, money should be no obsical(sp).

    - Ermac
    good spelling,

    well evolving is the human nature of life, and things change, those that stay adn moan about things, die out and become forgotten, its about leaving a mark on tomorrows world.

  23. #23
    born in the USSR Void's Avatar
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    i read one idea recently.
    That there is one speciality about East comparing to the West. Peculiarity which provided a bit better cultural succession through the ages. This is hieroglyphic script. Comparing to alphabet it has one advantage: semantemes stays intelligible even if phonetics of the language and/ or the ideological concepts change.
    So, medieval chinese could read Confucius or Lao and felt the captivation of their ideas more that medieval european monks studying Bible, `cause words change their meaning depending on
    a) translation
    b) intonation
    c) reader`s erudition
    d) and his system of associations
    Hieroglyphs are monosemantic almost like math symbols.
    That`s why cultural disruptions within Chine were lesser than those of the Europe (for example, between classic (greco-roman) and medieval (roman-germanic))

    So, how much true is this
    1) Are hieroglyphs monosemantic?
    2) Doesn`t their meaning change with time?
    3) Were Chinese culture and history that homogeneous?

  24. #24
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void
    That there is one speciality about East comparing to the West. Peculiarity which provided a bit better cultural succession through the ages. This is hieroglyphic script.
    Actually, hieroglyphs are Egyptian. Chinese hanzi are logograms, like hieroglyphs. Unlike the hieroglyphic system, which is consonant-based (& actually not only logographic, but combined with syllabic & alphabetic elements: one hieroglyph could be used to simply represent one sound), hanzi are syllable-based.

    So, how much true is this
    1) Are hieroglyphs monosemantic?
    2) Doesn`t their meaning change with time?
    3) Were Chinese culture and history that homogeneous?
    1) For a large part Chinese hanzi are definitely not monosemantic.
    2) It does.
    3) Not as homogenous as many Chinese (want to make) believe. Neither was European history as much disrupted after the West-Roman empire fell as some want to make us believe.

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