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Base on the "两岸三通" concept, should Simplified & Traditional Chinese be unified? if yes, how?
Thread poster: Summit

Summit
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Jul 11, 2002

As we Chinese always want to let the world know of our 5,000+ glorious years\' history.



With regard to Chinese characters, most of the Asian countries still using Chinese character in their writing, specially Japan. Korean government forbid this practice sometimes in mid 70s.



Ever since the liberation of Chinese People\'s Republic in mainland China, there was a group of people promulgating to simplify Chinese characters (because it is too complicate,too difficult, or try to learn from Japan to change what ever in order to distinguish themselves from others as a more sophisticated or intellectual?)



My point is: with so called Modern History of China,(中国近代史)only last for about 50 some years so far,(the Republic of China established in 1911), in comparison with 5,000 years, the culture scale should tip toward the side of tradition. 1% vs 99%.



Prior to my visit to China, or being exposed to Simplified Chinese, I am totally not aware of how an ancient culture can be altered so much simply by chaning the strokes of writing each character.



If simplified Chinese characters be the governing writing standard of Chinese in the future, then, should all those millions of passed-on books be re-printed into simplified Chinese? And millions of Chinese people be re-educated with simplified Chinese system?





To the best of my knowledge, traditionally, we have so called: 草书 which (similar to the simplified Chinese invented by those idiots, sorry)can fetch up with those who wish to simply their writing. But 截头藏尾,断章取意,一视同仁也不见是啥高超的伎俩。到最后,整个计划不得不草草了之,留下些不三不四的作品。



话说“文革”,似乎也有异曲同工之妙。所谓的“那个年代”上山下乡,文盲牵着知识份子的鼻子走,令人不得不三思过去这五十年来,文化背景是以何为根据?



我的本意只是希望拉拢同为中国人之间历史文化间的差距,而非加深,尽管我自知措词有些极端,还是希望能了解各位的看法。



All comments are invited (Con or Pro)

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-09-01 23:30]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-09-04 21:32]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-09-04 21:33]


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:20
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
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I am a supporter to simplify the Chinese characters. Jul 16, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-07-11 09:02, Summit wrote:



Prior to my visit to China, or being exposed to Simplified Chinese, I am totally not aware of how an ancient culture can be altered so much simply by chaning the strokes of writing each character.



If simplified Chinese characters be the governing writing standard of Chinese in the future, then, should all those millions of passed-on books be re-printed into simplified Chinese? And millions of Chinese people be re-educated with simplified Chinese system?







Hi, Summit,



I have to say that you brought up a \"touchy\" subject. It has been an endless debate in the ideological sphere. You know what I meant. Because you brought it up, I will have to say something here.



Personally, I support all the efforts to simplify the Chinese characters. For one thing, it is much easier and faster to write. Secondly, it is much easier to remember. Last but not the least, our concepts about tradition and culture need to be updated anyway. For example, the Chinese character for “family” or “home” is \"家\", which means \"a pig under a roof\". Such ancient architecture for Chinese house no longer exists. Another example is that the Chinese character for “good” is “好”, which means “a daughter plus a son” or “a girl plus a boy”. This indeed created a problem for those one-child families. I do not have any children and do not look forward to having any myself. But I am just fine and dandy.



English as a language does not rely on the alphabet letters to carry out and preserve traditions and cultures. Perhaps we can begin to think a better way to preserve, develop and celebrate the Chinese tradition and culture. How about “multimedia” and computers? If I offended anyone, I apologize in advance for being not “politically correct.”







[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-16 18:08 ]

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Summit
English to Chinese
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TOPIC STARTER
a Jul 20, 2002

Hi, Kevin,



Ever since I post this issue, I am well aware of that it might eventually lead to a political debate. How ever, that\'s not my intention. I was even thinking to ask you to delete this subject. (since you are the menderator in this forum)



Quote:


If I offended anyone, I apologize in advance for being not “politically correct.”





I don\'t care much about politics, in fact, I hated it. CCP vs. KMT is not my concern.



Quote:


our concepts about tradition and culture need to be updated anyway.



I did mention 50 years vs. 5,000+ years, I do agree with you tradition & culture need to be updated (transitionally); nonetheless, any tradition or culture changes should be based on evolution rather than revolution. wink: since you grew up in a simplified Chinese environment, I won\'t blame you of can\'t appreciate the beauty of Chinese characters, you just missed it.



Quote:


Perhaps we can begin to think a better way to preserve, develop and celebrate the Chinese tradition and culture. How about “multimedia” and computers?



Bravo, this is exactly my point. Now a day, people no longer need to use hand writing, typing is. So prior to this computer era, easier & faster might make sense, how about try to preserve our traditional culture by not to simplied Chinese characters in such a hasty way.



I would really appreciate that you can provide me with information as to:

The background, when and who simplified Chinese characters.



Thanks

summit



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-22 08:08 ]

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Summit
English to Chinese
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TOPIC STARTER
apology, typo, Moderator in liu of Menderator Jul 20, 2002

sorry, Moderator

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Brian & Fangfang Rutland
Local time: 19:20
English to Chinese
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In the spirit of academic pondering... Jul 21, 2002

As a non-native student of Chinese, I think this is a fascinating topic. I studied in the mainland, and I can tell you firsthand of the benefits of simplified characters to speed up learning. This, I think, was a primary goal in \'simplifying\' characters. I have observed, however, that since this process was instituted under a Communist regime, it has been viewed with skepticism--and even enmity (I have a Taiwanese friend who calls them \'Commie Characters\')--by non-Mainland Chinese, and Taiwanese in particular.



In my opinion, based on my observations living in China for about 4 years, the simplification of characters did not itself produce any loss of culture. In fact culture, inasmuch as it is enshrined in the characters, is still alive and well. In some ways having a difference between everyday writing and more formal or artistic writing helps maintain the artistic integrity of traditional characters.



I also noticed, that much like Japan, those who aspire to \'higher\' culture and a deeper sense of tradition, make it a point to study the traditional writing, learning it in the context of calligraphy.



To me personally, I think it would be helpful if simplified Chinese were adopted more widely. At the very least, it would hlep dumb foreigners like me to be able to read non-mainland (or Singaporean) printed materials. I think if in hundreds of years of using traditional Chinese characters as an art form has not diluted the writing form\'s stature in Japan, surely the Chinese can be trusted to simplify everyday writing without losing respect for the traditional ways, and the values those characters enshrine.


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:20
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The major function of Chinese characters is communication. Jul 22, 2002

Dear Brian,



Your brilliant input is very powerfully persuasive. You helped me (I hope Summit, too) to understand how important the Chinese character simplification work is from a foreigner抯 perspective. As I look at this matter, each Chinese character was created for the purpose of communication, and its communication function is the foremost reason that we keep alive those we use often, and abandon those that are no longer in use. If these symbols, such as Chinese characters, created for communication cannot EFFICIENTLY fulfill their job in facilitating communication, it is the time to make a change, and the change comes sooner will be better then later.



Kevin



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-27 18:52 ]


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:20
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Chinese characters should not be treated like Picaso's paintings. Jul 22, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-07-20 17:46, Summit wrote:



I did mention 50 years vs. 5,000+ years, I do agree with you tradition & culture need to be updated (transitionally); nonetheless, any tradition or culture changes should be based on evolution rather than revolution. wink: since you grew up in a simplified Chinese environment, I won\'t blame you of can\'t appreciate the beauty of Chinese characters, you just missed it.



summit







Dear summit,



Thank you for your comment to my previous message. I would like to particularly respond to the quoted paragraph you wrote above.



1. I believe revolution is a part of the process of evolution.



2. Yes, I grew up in mainland China. But I always love Chinese language and appreciate very much the beauty of Chinese characters. Because of this reason, I quit all other jobs and became a full-time translator 8 years ago so I can work with the language and characters everyday. I think there are not too many people so \"foolish\" as I am in this regard.



3. I am not so sure what you are referring to when you said \"you just missed it\". Perhaps you meant I missed the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Chinese characters. That is not true. I have lived in the United States for 17 years. My daily hobby is to read the publications and watch TV from China, Taiwan and United Stated. I am pretty sure I have inquired more than most Chinese people would do.



I think there is a confusion here that I should address. The Chinese characters are created for communication. That is the utmost important function. As for the beauty or appearance of the Chinese characters, that is the secondary consideration. Chinese characters should not be treated like Picaso抯 paintings that any alteration or change to the art work may cause damage and lose the value. I do NOT believe it works that way.



Kevin





[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-27 18:55 ]

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Libin PhD  Identity Verified
Chinese to English
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When and who simplified Chinese characters - Background still missing Jul 22, 2002

Quote:




I would really appreciate that you can provide me with information as to:

The background, when and who simplified Chinese characters.



Thanks

summit









Hi Summit,



Here is one Question and answer from my Chinese FAQ page. I intended to post something here before but balked as one needs to write quite long to make his points on this sensitive matter. I hope this Q&A is pertinent to your request. If you are interested, you can view the full page of the FAQs at http://www.asiana.com/faqs.html where the link I mentioned below will work.



>>>>

7. What is the difference between Simplified and Traditional Characters?



Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Chinese government has been quite active in Chinese character reform. On February 2, 1956, the government published a document called A Scheme for the Simplification of Chinese Characters (汉字简化方案). This scheme consists of three tables. Table 1 lists 352 simplified characters that cannot be used as radicals. Table 2 lists 132 simplified characters that can be used as radicals, plus 14 simplified radicals. Table 3 contains 1,754 characters that were derived using the 132 radical-capable simplified characters and the 14 simplified radicals. The three tables simplified a total number of 2,236 characters.



In 1977, the Chinese government published the Second Scheme for the Simplification of Chinese Characters. Table 1 contained 248 characters. Table 2 included 605 simplified characters and 61 simplified radicals. However, since the simplification was so radical, it was met with strong resistance from the society. On June 24, 1986, that second scheme was rescinded. Later in 1986, the first scheme was republished with a few words in the tables adjusted. As a result, the total number of simplified characters stands at 2,235 now.



It should be pointed out that the 2,235 simplified characters are calculated based on New China Dictionary (新华字典) published in 1962 with about 8,000 character entries. Considering that the total number of Chinese characters is more than 85,000, if the radical-capable simplified characters and the simplified radicals are applied to all the Chinese characters, the resulting number of simplified character will be much larger than the above number.



In the Chinese character simplification movement, there is one anecdote that is generally overlooked by the public, that is, the character reform was not started by the Chinese communist government, but rather by the National government before the new government took over in 1949. In 1935, the Ministry of Education of the then National Government issued The First List of Simplified Chinese Characters (第一批简體字表) which contained 324 simplified characters and required educational authorities of all cities and provinces to implement them. However, due to strong objection from high officials of the Kuomingtang government, the first simplification effort of Chinese characters in modern time was put on hold in the next year and was never implemented.



Just recently, on December 27, 2001, The Ministry of Education and The State Commission of Language and Character Affairs published The First Compilation of Variant Words (第一批异形词整理表) to be implemented on March 31, 2002. This publication is not exactly about Chinese characters, but about words, i.e., character combinations. The list contains 338 sets of words with variant form(s). The recommended form is given at the beginning of the entry followed by a dash line, after which the variant form(s) are listed. Here are a few entries from the list. You can click here to view the complete list.



按语-案语

成分-成份



百废俱兴-百废具兴

订单-定单



百叶窗-百页窗

订货-定货



保姆-保母、褓姆

独角戏-独脚戏



车厢-车箱

勾画-勾划



It also includes an appendix that lists 44 sets of non-standard words with characters that are already abolished by the previously issued \"A Scheme for the Simplification of Chinese Characters.\" This appendix serves the purpose of reminding people to avoid using those abolished characters (designated by an *) in words. Here are a few examples:



抵触(*牴触)

局促(*侷促、*跼促)



跖骨(*蹠骨)

渺茫(*淼茫)



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Summit
English to Chinese
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TOPIC STARTER
Sprit of forum Jul 23, 2002

Hi, Bin



Despite my subject issue is \"touchy\", \"sensitive\" or not, at least, the mission is fulfilled, namely letting all the visitors share the precious knowledge from all learned scholors.



I definitely will visit the FAQ web page http://www.asiana.com/faqs.html as you recommended, and would like to discuss and/or learn more from you should I have further question. One should have no say but learn without proper knowledge. Which is what I am lacking of so far, the background & processing stages to simplify Chinese.



I have saved this comment for my study of Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese. Your comment is quite informative and I do appreciate your enthusiasm in helping & sharing your knowledge with us as always.



Salute

Summit


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Libin PhD  Identity Verified
Chinese to English
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Agreed! Jul 24, 2002

Hi Summit,



I would be evry pleased to further this discussion and exchange ideas with you. We may not completely agree with each other, however, by listening to each other, we will have a better understnading of the issue on hand.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-24 08:45 ]


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Summit
English to Chinese
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still pondering, 子非鱼焉知鱼之乐 Jul 25, 2002

Hi, Dear Brian & Fangfang



Quote:


As a non-native student of Chinese, I think this is a fascinating topic. I studied in the mainland, and I can tell you firsthand of the benefits of simplified characters to speed up learning.





I do wish that I can confer with my brother-in-law prior to sharing your learning experience in Mainland China. He graduated from 师大 in Taiwan. One serious question I need to know is: Can speeding up the learning or writing Chinese merely be achieved by smiplifing Chinese? (if this become the issue of my subject). Or, what it can bring is nothing but confusion? The idea of 触类旁通 is embeded in most of Chinese characters, which I am sure, do help a lot in learning Chinese.



Quote:


I have observed, however, that since this process was instituted under a Communist regime, it has been viewed with skepticism--and even enmity (I have a Taiwanese friend who calls them \'Commie Characters\')--by non-Mainland Chinese, and Taiwanese in particular.





The subject I raised is totally irrelevant of any political considerations, for culture preservation only. Might it be Commie or Taimmie who care ?



Quote:


In my opinion, based on my observations living in China for about 4 years, the simplification of characters did not itself produce any loss of culture.





Who is there to judge, by all means ?





Quote:


In fact culture, inasmuch as it is enshrined in the characters, is still alive and well. In some ways having a difference between everyday writing and more formal or artistic writing helps maintain the artistic integrity of traditional characters.





Truly enough, but Mr. Kevin Yang mentioned that all words are created for communication purpose only, let alone the artistic way; otherwise, it would be categorized under Piccaso\'s 抽象派\'s work, calligraphy ?

p.s.: i really appreciate that you used such a solemn word \"enshrined\" to describe Chinese characters. wink: need to check with dictionary as to what \"enshrined\" might imply.



[qutoe]

I also noticed, that much like Japan, those who aspire to \'higher\' culture and a deeper sense of tradition, make it a point to study the traditional writing, learning it in the context of calligraphy.

[/quote]



Have you also notice & observe the \"Tea ceremony\" in Japan?



Quote:


To me personally, I think it would be helpful if simplified Chinese were adopted more widely. At the very least, it would hlep dumb foreigners like me to be able to read non-mainland (or Singaporean) printed materials. I think if in hundreds of years of using traditional Chinese characters as an art form has not diluted the writing form\'s stature in Japan, surely the Chinese can be trusted to simplify everyday writing without losing respect for the traditional ways, and the values those characters enshrine.





May be in the future, I would publish a book name : Dummy Dummy for Dummies



really no offense, just for the heck of it.

Sincerely wish to be one of your friend



Summit

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Summit
English to Chinese
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conversation vs. history (A drive vs. C drive) Jul 25, 2002

Quote:


Your brilliant input is very powerfully persuasive. You helped me (I hope Summit, too) to understand how important the Chinese character simplification work is from a foreigner抯 perspective.





有挟洋以自重之嫌





Quote:


As I look at this matter, each Chinese character was created for the purpose of communication, and its communication function is the foremost reason that we keep alive those we use them often, and abandon those that are no longer in use. If these symbols, such as Chinese characters, created for communication cannot EFFICIENTLY fulfill their job in facilitating communication, it is the time to make a change, and the change comes sooner will be better then later.





Without characters? no communication? how about verbal, gesture as far as body language can go? If for communication purpose, there is no need for writing, in you pinion. 字以载意,文以载道



Furthermore, one can\'t by-pass the function of writing is for the purpose of recording human activities & events as well. (even 甲骨文, the oracles). Thus, the function of word is to preserve (not voices) culture. (prior to the invention of record machine)



Respectfully



Summit

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Summit
English to Chinese
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TOPIC STARTER
In the pursuit of knowledge Jul 25, 2002

Quote:


I would be evry pleased to further this discussion and exchange ideas with you. We may not completely agree with each other, however, by listening to each other, we will have a better understnading of the issue on hand.





I would like to thank you very much for the provided thourough & detail informative references. The issue of Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese is imposed upon us not arouse by us. As far as any pre-law or law school student might be aware of, Latin is the basis of English.



I will study all those subjects very carefully. One thing for sure, I do benefited from your recommendation.



Summit

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Xiaoping Fu  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:20
Chinese to English
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汉字之美 Jul 25, 2002


汉字美吗?如果我从小懒于练习,写的字象苍蝇爬过似的,不能说不是汉字,可是不美。您从小苦练,颜柳欧赵都习过,写的也是汉字,笔走龙蛇,很美。我的字不美,是我写得不美,您的字美,是您写得美。人说字如其人,那么美不在汉字本身,美在人心。



汉字是一个符号体系,基本功能是记录和传递语言与思想。本身确无美丑可言。但是由于汉字的特殊结构,由于其象形、会意等特性,它比其他更抽象的表音符号体系,能够载寓更多的文化信息和审美意趣。就象一部车,容量很大。至于真正有多少货色,那是看书人、写字人的事。



譬如“武”字,有学者说“止戈为武”,就是说“武”字蕴含“以战去战”的深刻思想。可是认识武字,会写武字的人,有几个对它如此联想呢?在多数人心中,“武”不过是拳脚枪棒,飞机大炮而已。



再如“桥”字,木字旁。读到“枯藤老树昏鸦,小桥流水人家,古道西风瘦马”这样的诗句时,桥中之木与老树枯藤照应,才别有意趣,不可或缺。但是“电桥”与木毫不相干,“桥牌”不仅无木甚至无桥,是将错就错的翻译,可桥字照样用。



汉字之美与简体繁体关系也不大。繁体才美吗?我看未必。美学中有“美在简单”的理论,没听说过“美在繁复”。笔画多少与书法之美没有直接关系。“之”字笔画少,简无可简。可一篇《兰亭序》二十几个之字,形体各异,变化多端,美不胜收。怀素、米芾的草书,繁复的笔画早已面目全非,要简则简,要连则连,似行云流水,龙飞凤舞,大气磅礴。草书是汉字简化的始作俑者,能说损害了汉字之美吗?



书法家喜欢用繁体,这是事实。因为繁体笔画多,好象绘画的颜料多,有更多的挥洒空间。而且,书法作品多以古典诗词歌赋为素材。要读古典作品,当然要用繁体。我们现在说的繁体字,大概是隶书以后逐步定型的字体规范。但在这以前还有更古的文字,有大篆小篆,还有钟鼎文。对这些文字来说,隶书就是简化汉字。而这些都在书法家涉猎的范围。所以,简也罢,繁也罢,古也罢,今也罢,对书法艺术来说,都不是互相排斥,而是兼容互通的。



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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:20
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美哉!美哉! Jul 25, 2002

刚才拜读了李宾和小平两位先生的评论,很受启发。李宾报告了文字改革的现状,资料完整,很有收集意义。小平的评论如行云流水,象一首散文诗,同时颇具说服力。我希望也能听到台湾同胞和其它使用繁体字地区的人士就此话题发表自己的意见

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-25 22:14 ]


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