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Old 09-18-2015, 09:25 PM
 
919 posts, read 604,178 times
Reputation: 369

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Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
The good thing about smartphone and computers is that it takesmuch of the handwriting out of the equation. What I like about Chinese characters is that I can know what the meaning is without actually knowing how to pronounce it. I can see the unique stroke order and know what it means. Can't do that with a phonetically based alphabet. On the other hand, people can make various excuses for keeping Chinese characters, but everyone knows the real reason is cultural above all else. People are not gonna overthrow the PRC government just because they suddenly decide to phase out Chinese characters in a number of years. But, as a foreigner, it's not my place to say what the Chinese and Japanese should do with their writing systems. The only perspective I bring to the table is, besides cultural and "logical processing", why keep them when Vietnamese and Korean ahave made Chinese characters obsolete? But, this debate follows every single spelling/writing reform across the world. The vast majority of people don't like change, but when change does happen they just accept it. This is also happening right now with the proposed Portuguese spelling reforms to standardize Brazilian and Portuguese spelling.
Well said.

I want to clarify one thing though. There are tons of affixes in English, which represent their meanings.
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:56 PM
 
6,588 posts, read 4,108,525 times
Reputation: 16948
One way to express the efficiency of Chinese characters to a non-Chinese speaker is to use the analogy of numerical digits.

Consider the digits "0" and "1" :

0 = zero

1 = one

10 = ten
11 = eleven

100 - one hundred
1st = first

0.1 = one tenth

Then, in other languages, these digits have different pronunciations! In Japanese, 1 is ichi, 10 is juu, and 100 is hyaku. So, isn't that all confusing and a burden on the memory? Wouldn't it be easier to get rid of the digits and just spell out each word alphabetically in English and every other language?

No, it would not be easier. It is much easier to use digits which convey meaning directly to the eye than their alphabetical or phonetic equivalents. Think about that on a larger scale and consider why it might not be simpler to eliminate Chinese characters and write words phonetically instead. Consider also that Chinese characters are uniquely suited to the Chinese language(s). For grammatical reasons they are not well suited to languages such as Japanese or Korean, hence why these languages found it necessary to devise secondary phonetic systems to supplement them.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:20 PM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,196,156 times
Reputation: 11624
Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post
One way to express the efficiency of Chinese characters to a non-Chinese speaker is to use the analogy of numerical digits.

Consider the digits "0" and "1" :

0 = zero

1 = one

10 = ten
11 = eleven

100 - one hundred
1st = first

0.1 = one tenth

Then, in other languages, these digits have different pronunciations! In Japanese, 1 is ichi, 10 is juu, and 100 is hyaku. So, isn't that all confusing and a burden on the memory? Wouldn't it be easier to get rid of the digits and just spell out each word alphabetically in English and every other language?

No, it would not be easier. It is much easier to use digits which convey meaning directly to the eye than their alphabetical or phonetic equivalents. Think about that on a larger scale and consider why it might not be simpler to eliminate Chinese characters and write words phonetically instead. Consider also that Chinese characters are uniquely suited to the Chinese language(s). For grammatical reasons they are not well suited to languages such as Japanese or Korean, hence why these languages found it necessary to devise secondary phonetic systems to supplement them.
On the other hand writing 34 is a lot easier than 三十四. Even the Chinese and Japanese found it far easier to write Arabic numerals than using characters. The comparison isn't really equivalent. In fact, you further prove my point. Especially, when it comes with Japanese. If Chinese characters are suited to the Chinese language then Japanese can phase out Chinese characters because Chinese characters are not perfectly suited to Japanese. Replace all nouns with the Latin alphabet and use accent marks to denote the pitch accent so that way words that are spelled the same can be still differentiated with the accent mark and you can actually have a guide for pronunciation, and leave verb endings with hiragana. When we're talking in terms of logic, and not culture, then anything can be possible. Chinese characters only exist because of cultural reasons. There is no logical reason to have such an outdated writing system which was being phased out throughout the world for the past thousand or so years. I have to stress again that I don't care what the Chinese and Japanese do with their writing system, all I'm just saying is that it is not impossible to write any language with a phonetic alphabet. All it takes is willpower and to forget the past and for governments to realize that it doesn't matter if you get rid of them; the people will get angry and will stamp their feet but in the end they will comply and then will wonder what the big deal was in the end. This happened during the simplification process in mainland China. Mao wanted to simplify them even further but due to public opposition the PRC stepped away from it but they could have ran it through if they wanted to to be honest.
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Old 09-19-2015, 04:22 AM
 
919 posts, read 604,178 times
Reputation: 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
all I'm just saying is that it is not impossible to write any language with a phonetic alphabet.
I wonder if it is possible to write any language with Chinese characters.

Actually I used to write Japanese with Chinese characters on chat room, in order not to make others understand what we, me and a Taiwanese friend who speaks Japanese, were talking about. Say, 孔你其哇 for Konnichiwa
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Old 09-19-2015, 06:26 AM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,196,156 times
Reputation: 11624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanagisawa View Post
I wonder if it is possible to write any language with Chinese characters.

Actually I used to write Japanese with Chinese characters on chat room, in order not to make others understand what we, me and a Taiwanese friend who speaks Japanese, were talking about. Say, 孔你其哇 for Konnichiwa
I'm pretty sure it is. You just have to "translate" every word into the Chinese accent so it fits the characters. Hell, if Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese did it, I think any language can be written with Chinese characters. The concepts will be the same, just the arrangement will be different to fit the sound and grammatical patterns of the new language. But if doing it right now, everything will be just 当て字

Lol me and a Korean friend did something similar with Hangul. We wrote in English using the Hangul alphabet, and we were very successful
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Old 09-19-2015, 09:30 PM
 
919 posts, read 604,178 times
Reputation: 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
I'm pretty sure it is. You just have to "translate" every word into the Chinese accent so it fits the characters. Hell, if Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese did it, I think any language can be written with Chinese characters. The concepts will be the same, just the arrangement will be different to fit the sound and grammatical patterns of the new language. But if doing it right now, everything will be just 当て字

Lol me and a Korean friend did something similar with Hangul. We wrote in English using the Hangul alphabet, and we were very successful
Haha, that's great!

So phonetic alphabet system is not superior to Chinese characters in this regard as well.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:04 PM
 
448 posts, read 500,265 times
Reputation: 170
Chinese with more education will not support the idea of writing Chinese with european alphabets. China is a civilisation of long history and was not fully colonised. Late Qing dynasty Chinese commoners and the Empress Dowager Cixi were extremely anti-western therefore this idea would not have. Secondly, up until the recent decades, most Chinese do not have any education with european alphabets, most did not know abcdef.... To teach most Chinese the pronounciation of words with alphabets was also an extremely difficult task.

Most Chinese including modern Chinese do not learn the pronounciation of Chinese characters by pinyin. Most learn by frequent exposure by listening to their parents, teachers and televisions as a child. It is the non-Chinese who learn by pinyin the most.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:36 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,278,474 times
Reputation: 7586
Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
The good thing about smartphone and computers is that it takesmuch of the handwriting out of the equation. What I like about Chinese characters is that I can know what the meaning is without actually knowing how to pronounce it. I can see the unique stroke order and know what it means. Can't do that with a phonetically based alphabet. On the other hand, people can make various excuses for keeping Chinese characters, but everyone knows the real reason is cultural above all else. People are not gonna overthrow the PRC government just because they suddenly decide to phase out Chinese characters in a number of years. But, as a foreigner, it's not my place to say what the Chinese and Japanese should do with their writing systems. The only perspective I bring to the table is, besides cultural and "logical processing", why keep them when Vietnamese and Korean ahave made Chinese characters obsolete? But, this debate follows every single spelling/writing reform across the world. The vast majority of people don't like change, but when change does happen they just accept it. This is also happening right now with the proposed Portuguese spelling reforms to standardize Brazilian and Portuguese spelling.
I agree.

I deeply resent the idea of adopting a phonetically based Chinese language simply because our culture and identity is closely hinged on the richness of the language we use. Chinese characters carry so much information than their pronunciation. They represent how the ancient Chinese came to understand the objects and things around them, which to a large extend shaped the Chinese culture. To me, to abandon the Chinese characters is equivalent to abandoning the entire Chinese culture - no exaggeration here.

From a practical perspective, it also makes little sense. For example, the classical poems are written in 20 or 28 characters, 5 or 7 characters in each row, which gives the impression of order and beauty. If replaced by Pinyin, they will be of difference length because some words contain 3 letters while others may contain 6. This is why English poems always look messy to me. In terms of printing or even online display, pinyin will be twice as long as Chinese characters - what a waste of paper and space!

Additionally, there will be too many words with the same spelling yet different meaning, even with the tones explicitly spelt out. It would be difficult or take more time to process. The Chinese don't really need to read the word in mind in order to understand it, we learn it visually, or phonetically. Chinese characters are far more efficient in western alphabets in that each character contains far more information than a letter or a combination of letters, and if we replace them with roman letters, much of the additional information is lost.

I really don't see much of an advantage of switching to anything else. Typing is not an issue at all. Even mother 70 year old mother who knows little Pinyin can type on her smartphone with little difficulty. To say the students spend too much time memorizing words is ridiculous - it is like saying learning math is useless.

In terms of learner friendliness... as I said, if the language is important enough, people will learn it no matter what. English isn't exactly easy to learn for the Chinese, when the Chinese language doesn't have any conjugation or tense, but we managed. Languages are just difficult in different aspects.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:43 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,278,474 times
Reputation: 7586
To the English speakers who support this kind of silliness - do you support changing English by eliminating all the irregularities in English so that it becomes easier to learn?

For example: the past tense of "go" should be "goed", not "went". And why do you add a "s" to their person, singular verbs but not any of the others? It makes absolutely no sense.

In terms of pronunciation, English is a huge mess. "ough" can have 6 different pronunciation depending on the words, and the letter "a" can have 4 or 5 - why shouldn't they be pronounced the same under any circumstances, like in Spanish? See how stupid my request is?
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Old 09-25-2015, 04:46 AM
 
919 posts, read 604,178 times
Reputation: 369
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
To the English speakers who support this kind of silliness - do you support changing English by eliminating all the irregularities in English so that it becomes easier to learn?

For example: the past tense of "go" should be "goed", not "went". And why do you add a "s" to their person, singular verbs but not any of the others? It makes absolutely no sense.

In terms of pronunciation, English is a huge mess. "ough" can have 6 different pronunciation depending on the words, and the letter "a" can have 4 or 5 - why shouldn't they be pronounced the same under any circumstances, like in Spanish? See how stupid my request is?
I can't agree more.

BTW,
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
To the English speakers who support
can be written as 兔底英格力士死屁可儿子互色珀尔特. It is time to talk about if we should use Chinese characters instead of alphabets for English, isn't it?
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