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Re: Chinese writing systems

From:FLorian Rivoal <florian@...>
Date:Monday, November 4, 2002, 7:07
>>It would get china closer to some part of the world, but again, more >>distant with some other asian nations which have had strong relations >>with china for hundreds (thousands?) of years. > >In what ways, and what Nations? > >Japan has it's own system that uses 1,946 Kanji and Hiragana and Katakana.
This is a common mistake. Japan does not only use 1946 kanji. School program include this number, but japanese people usualy know more. University students, and teacher usualy know as much a 4 to 6 thousands, which is almost as much as chinese people.
>North Korea doesnt use Hanzi at all.
In the official script. Yet the north korean students in my class(chinese language class) do have a certain knoledge of hanzi, as most educated people in north korea do.
>South Korea uses a mixed system, but >still uses quite a bit of Hangul.
Yes, they mainly use hangul. but also use quite a lot of hanzi, (called hanja, if i ma corect).
>Vietnam gave up Hanzi ages ago and uses. >a modified Roman system.
> Tibet has it's own writing system.
tibet is not a country. China claims, and it is internationaly admited that it is part of china. I don't want to enter the debate of knowing if tibetan people are happy this way, but there is no other governement in tibet than the chinese one. And though tibetan language has (now) are freedom of existance, mandarin is still the official language there. Taiwan is not part of china (though china would like things to be so), but speeks mandarin, and write hanzi. I beleive(but i am not sure for this one) that chinese is still one of the official languages in singapore. And the chinese diaspora, rather present in most countries in the world, and often having a strong position in many asian countries, write hanzi when they need to write their language, since up to now, there is no other way to write it. I think china makes more efforts for international (western) understanding than you seem to think. At least more than... let's say france. Here (in shanghai), all subways, buses and taxi have anouncement in english. It is reasonably possible to order your menu in english in fast foods. Some supermarkets have subtitles on the products labels. All street names are subtitle in a mix of pinyin and english (West Zhong shan road, People square, nanjing road, yan'an highway...) Though you obviously miss something, it is possible to live here without speaking chinese, as many expatriates do. On the other hand, not only efforts are made to let foreigners survive around, but also to help themThere are several chinese news papers printed in english. All universities have chinese teaching classes for foreigners willing to learn. China is willing to improove international communication, but not by altering its language.


Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>