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Taibei

essay in Pinyin about Chinese characters and language

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Taibei

An extended essay written in Hanyu Pinyin, Hanzi Bu Tebie Biaoyi, is now available for download. This work, by Zhang Liqing, is interesting not just as something on which to practice reading Pinyin but for the many points it makes about Chinese characters and romanization.

This work originally appeared in Schriftfestschrift: Essays on Writing and Language in Honor of John DeFrancis on His Eightieth Birthday.

Here is the opening:

Dàduōshù huì Hànzì de rén rènwéi Hànzì shì biǎoyì wénzì. Jiù shì shuō Hànzì gēn biéde wénzì bù yīyàng, bùbì yīkào fāyīn huòzhě biéde yǔyán tiáojiàn; yī ge rén zhǐyào xuéhuì le hěn duō Hànzì, kànjian Hànzì xiě de dōngxi jiù zhīdao shì shénme yìsi.

Zhè dàduōshù rén yòu kàndào liǎng jiàn shìqing. Dì-yī, Hànzì zài Zhōngguó liánxù yòng le sānqiān duō nián, bìngqiě dào xiànzài hái zài yòng. Dì-èr, Hànzì zài Dōng-Yà jǐ ge guójiā liúchuán le hěn cháng yī duàn shíjiān. Yúshì, tāmen yǒu tuīxiǎng chū liǎng ge jiélùn. Yī ge shuō Hànzì chāoyuè shíjiān; lìngwài yī ge shuō Hànzì chāoyuè kōngjiān. Guībìng qǐlai jiù shì Hànzì biǎoyì, kěyǐ chāoyuè shí-kōng. Zuìhòu gèng jìnyībù, bǎ Hànyǔ yě lājìnlái, shuō Hànzì zuì shìhé Hànyǔ.

Shàngmiàn de kànfǎ hé jiélùn “gēn shēn dì gù”, dànshì bùxìng dōu hěn piànmiàn, bù fúhé zhēnzhèng qíngkuàng. Wèishénme ne? Hěn jiǎndān….

Again, here is the link to the complete text of the essay: Hanzi Bu Tebie Biaoyi (759 KB PDF).

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atitarev

Thanks, Taibei. My attempt to convert to characters, as far as I could understand. I had trouble with “gēn shēn dì gù”. I left the word segmentation untouched.

大多数 会 汉字 的 人 认为 汉字 是 表意 文字. 就 是 说 汉字 跟 别的 文字 不 一样, 不必 依靠 发音 或者 别的 语言 条件; 一 个 人 只要 学会 了 很 多 汉字, 看见 汉字 写 的 东西 就 知道 是 什么 意思.

这 大多数 人 又 看到 两 件 事情. 第一, 汉字 在 中国 连续 用 了 三千 多 年, 并且 到 现在 还 在 用. 第二, 汉字 在 东亚 几 个 国家 流传 了 很 长 一 段 时间. 于是, 他们 有 推想 出 两 个 结论. 一 个 说 汉字 超越 时间; 另外 一 个 说 汉字 超越 空间. 归并 起来 就 是 汉字 表意, 可以 超越 时空. 最后 更 进一步, 把 汉语 也 拉近来, 说 汉字 最 适合 汉语.

上面 的 看法 和 结论 “根深蒂固”, 但是 不幸 都 很 片面, 不 符合 真正 情况. 为什么 呢? 很 简单….

Here's an article, which has romanised Dungan script.

http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp171_chinese_writing_reform.pdf

Here's a Japanese romanised text next to English translation

http://sino-platonic.org/abstracts/spp006_japanese_literacy.html

--EDIT:

Thanks for suggesting the characters for “gēn shēn dì gù”, HashirKata :)

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HashiriKata
I had trouble with “gēn shēn dì gù”.

根深蒂固 = deep-rooted, ingrained

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Taibei

The article predates some of the main references for word segmentation, such as Yin Binyong's Xinhua Pinxie Cidian and the ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary. (Zhang Liqing, the author of the the article discussed in this thread, is an associate editor of the latter.) Consequently, the word segmentation is occasionally a little different than might be seen if it had been written later, e.g., the article has Zhongguo ren rather than Zhongguoren, and gen shen di gu rather than genshendigu. But these are minor.

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sjcma

I could read most of it but also got stuck at genshendigu, until I read the characters posted by HashiriKata. Genshendigu is not part of my spoken repetoire but upon reading the individual characters, I knew exactly what it meant because I knew what each individual character means. It seems a bit ironic given that this is an essay arguing for the use of Pinyin over characters.

BTW, I'm not trying to start a war of Pinyin versus characters so let's just not go there. I'm merely pointing out a personal observation.

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atitarev

Thanks, HashirKata :)

It seems a bit ironic given that this is an essay arguing for the use of Pinyin over characters.

成语 chéngyǔ are notoriously difficult to understand just by the the sound (well, by learners like by me, not by native speakers), as well personal names and anything from 文言 wényán or similar to it. Such expressions could be memorised as a whole unit but without characters they won't make much sense.

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