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Amdir_Flassion

Hanzi or Hanja Korean newspapers

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Amdir_Flassion

Are there any newspapers in South Korea that are written in Chinese characters or Hanja? How prevalent is the usage of Hanja in South Korea?

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ala
Are there any newspapers in South Korea that are written in Chinese characters or Hanja? How prevalent is the usage of Hanja in South Korea?

Not very prevalent at all today. Around 1% in body text. Chinese characters (Hanja) are usually only used (in parenthesis too) for names and some proper nouns. Occasionally it is used when ambiguity is likely. To overcome the vast number of homographs that would arise from using the phonetic Hangul (a glorified equivalent to Chinese's zhuyin fuhao or pinyin), today's Korean uses word spacing. Spacing convention has pretty much been standardized after 60 years of usage. Still, there are plenty of homograph ambiguities. Nevertheless, even headlines (which are very suited for Chinese characters) are mostly written in Hangul instead of Hanja. Hanja in headlines is about 5%.

See this link for more information on reduction of Hanja in Korean: http://www.ling.upenn.edu/courses/115/08/reduction.html

There's newspaper clips for you to see. They also give an example where 水道 (aquaduct)、首都 (capital)、修道 (piety)、囚徒 (prisoner)、受渡 (receipt)、隧道 (tunnel)、水稻 (wet rice) are all written the same in Hangul as "su-to" 수도 . But these ambiguities are considered by most Koreans as a small price to pay for abandoning the characters, since context can resolve most of them.

Contrast this to modern Japanese usage of Kanji: open up today's Asahi Shimbun and you see Chinese characters 60-80% in the body text and >90% in headlines. See this Asahi article about the conclusion of the Chinese National People's Congress: http://www.asahi.com/international/update/0315/003.html

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skylee
To overcome the vast number of homographs that would arise from using the phonetic Hangul (a glorified[/size'] equivalent to Chinese's zhuyin fuhao or pinyin), today's Korean uses word spacing.

Why "glorified"?

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Ian_Lee

Skylee:

South Koreans always glorify the Hangul that was invented in the 15th Century (but suppressed for wide usage until mid-20th Century).

My Korean teacher always bragged that Hangul is the most scientific phonetic language in the world. Moreoever, compared with the Japanese (Koreans always like to compare with the Japanese) whom still need to retain heavy volume of Chinese characters in their language, the Hangul is more nationalistic since it has gotten rid of any residual sinic influence.

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Quest

I've heard those stories too, that it is the most scientific blahblah, the best.... u get what I mean.

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smithsgj

But Hangul is fairly unique, isn't it, with its little pictures of the vocal tract? Truly iconic!

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ala

http://www.mozilla.or.kr/mozilla/ehanguel.html

I quote: "Koreans use their own unique alphabet called Hangeul. It is considered to be one of the most efficient alphabets in the world and has garnered unanimous praise from language experts for its scientific design and excellence."

"Hangeul with only 14 consonants and 10 vowels, is capable of expressing virtually any sound."

The above statement is a lie. The IPA is capable of expressing virtually any sound (and is thus more scientific), but certainly not Hangul. I can think of countless syllables in Chinese (Mandarin and Shanghainese), Japanese, and English that cannot be expressed by Hangul without a separate footnote. Hangul is just a limited alphabet that stacks up into syllabic units (boxes) so they can fit well with boxy syllabic Chinese characters.

"Throughout history, Hangeul has been at the root of the Korean culture, helping to preserve its national identity and independence."

This means, Korean history and culture are at the maximum 550 years old. This is contrary to the official governmental claim of 5000 years.

Don't get me wrong.. I think Hangul is great for Korean and cute with everything being all symmetrical (perfect circle, straight lines, perpendicular or 45 degree angles) and stuff, but it's not THAT amazing in its "excellence." And it's not like I can look at Hangul and immediately know how to pronounce it by having my mouth mimicking the shapes. Although there might have been a physiological reasoning behind the shapes, they are also quite arbitrary (sometimes choosing vocal cords, sometimes choosing shape of mouth or the tongue). Also the vowels are supposedly made from the Taoist trigrams (heaven, earth, etc), hardly scientific. There is also the old saying (from Japanese propaganda) that all the Hangul symbols were obtained with King Sejong being bored and looking at a traditional Korean door and its doorframe (with even the circle being inspired by the doorknob). Having seen a Korean door, the blasphemy does have a point. :) Not to mention that they were all defunct or in-use Chinese characters as well.

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sunyata

lol @ ala.. :)

hopefully, there are no koreans on this forum or you might be in trouble...

I agree with most things you say about Hangeul, but I do think that in comparison to Japanese, Korean has a much better/simpler system.

When I learned Hangleul - it took about 2-3 days to learn all the letters and in less than a week I couold read. Of course, there are some things I could not pronounce, but that is not the fault of Hangeul - it is the Korean language. Despite its relative similarity to Japanese (in pronunciation), Korean has many more complex and hard-to-distinguish sounds than Japanese IMHO.

Now, look at Japanese - in order to read, you have to learn katakana, hiragana and eventually kanji in comparison to mainly 24 Hangeul "letters" and a few of their difficult combinations.

Of course Koreans are proud and nationalistic - i would say most nations are in one way or another. Koreans are just more vocal about it, than say Japanese. And of course they still say that Japanese people descended from one of the Korean kingdoms :D

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nnt

IMHO, if Japanese is complicated, and Korean simple, it is all by design.

Korean Hangul was invented in order to promote cultural independence and to eradicate illiteracy (and achieved its goals), Japanese language system is, for the Japanese themselves, an indication of social status and education level: Japanese language system is deliberately elitist.

Although any Kanji can be thoroughly transcribed in any of the 3 phonetic systems (hiragana, katakana, romaji), people just knowing the latter are considered illiterate by the Japanese...And just in order to read anything in Japanese, you have to know Kanji and hiragana and katakana, Kanji (with its numerous different pronunciations for each single character) being the highest level of scholarship and complication...

After all, complication may mean stimulation to the mind, for I don't think illiteracy rate in Japan is very high, and Japanese writing system has not been an obstacle to economic and scientific development.

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Ian_Lee

I have studied both Japanese and Korean for some years back in college time.

For a Chinese speaker, I think it is easier to pronounce Korean since it is more scientific (but there are some exceptions like r/l sound would be changed to n sound if it is followed by...) but hard to understand.

On the other hand, it is easier to understand Japanese than pronouncing it. Ironically it is the Kanji part but not the hiragana and katakana parts which is hard to pronounce.

Another point is reading difficulty.

After prolonged reading of Korean, you will easily get dizzy with all those circles, square, triangle,....etc occupying your brain.

But that does not apply to Japanese. Even my Japanese teacher said that without Kanji neutralizing the script, a Japanese essay with only hiragana and katakana is hard to read.

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ala

汉字之争--韩国取代汉字的问题

  韩国的文化战争正酣。这场战争不是围绕排斥日本文化和欧美文化,而是在要求恢复使用汉字的人与主张韩国表音文字专用者之间展开激烈的文化争论。

  韩国法律规定,以表音字为专用文字。1948年独立之后,为了弘扬民族精神,政府制订了朝鲜拼音文字专用法,规定公文只能用表音字书写。但是鉴于历史的缘故,暂时允许兼用汉字。从1970年起,韩国小学、中学教科书中的汉字被取消,完全使用朝鲜表音字。在其后的30年当中,小学完全取消了汉字,初中高中仅向学生教授1800个汉字。这一原因造成韩国20--40岁的人几乎完全不懂汉字。他们被称为"表音字的一代"。

  带给这代人的后果,是古典文化修养欠缺,与传统脱离,完全脱离了东亚文化圈,深陷孤立与凄楚之中。韩国青年一代连汉字读法都不清楚,书写汉字就更困难了。很多人用汉字写不出自己的名字,父母的名字也写不出,走出学校进入社会之后还要自学汉字。

  韩国面向成人的汉字函授机构遍布各地。

  因为只能读表音字的年轻一代,占报纸、杂志读者的大多数,因此报界早早过度到全部使用表音字。随之而来的是,印刷文字由原来的竖排变为横排。于是通晓汉字的一代和专用表音字的一代的差异,在韩国被称为"竖排一代"和"横排一代"的差异。

*表音字简单易学却存在"盲点"

  韩国的表音字由10个元音和14个子音组成。其优点是简单易学。即使外国人,只要掌握了拼写组合方法,也能正确诵读。不过,能够诵读是一回事,能否理解其中的意思却是另外的事。全部使用拼音文字的朝鲜表音字存在严重"盲点"。

  韩国文字与日文词汇相近,有70%来自表意象形文字的汉语。如果仅以表音字记录事情的话,很明显会出现混乱。因为同音异义的字很多。

  仅以韩国的姓氏为例。郑和丁,姜和康,柳和俞,林和任等均同音。另外,单词中也存在不少同音异字。例如,故事、古寺、考查、古辞、告辞、枯死等22个单词同音;诈欺、士气、死期、社旗同音;电机,转机,前期,战记同音;输入、收入同音……报纸上也经常遇到,因使用表音字母令读者对其表达意思感到头疼,需要象猜谜一样猜想(试设想我们废弃汉字使用汉语拼音,去看古诗"大漠孤烟直,长河落日圆"的情况--幽灵),颇费时间。这一点好似日本人看用假名发送的电文,如果电文用假名和汉字一起使用,其意便可一目了然。作为象形文字的汉字,很容易从形状上辨认。而表音字却不行。由于限定使用表音字,韩国的报纸杂志、街头招牌几乎全部使用表音字。到韩国的日本人看不懂路标和商店招牌觉得为难。不识韩文路标的日本游客觉得在韩国比在香港更象外国。所有到过韩国的日本人全都抱怨看不懂街上指示图。

  受害最深的不是日本游客,而是只识表音字的韩国年青一代。他们到了日本成田国际机场一下飞机就不认识汉字书写的出口标识。作为非汉字文化圈的韩国在日留学生,要重新接受汉字教育。韩国的大学生读不懂混有汉字的书籍,想博览古典文学作品也饱受其苦。教授为学生缺乏汉字知识而惋叹。如此下去,韩国的古文化将葬送在下一代人手中。

  另外,还不不时发生这种笑话︰警察因看不懂身份证上用汉字书写的姓名,而放走犯罪嫌疑人。主张全部使用表音字的人们也注意到上述弊端,想把汉语置换到纯正韩语中。

  然而,象日本有与汉语无关的大和语言一样,韩国也有纯正的韩国语言。同大和语言相同的地方是缺少抽象性和语言的创造性。表音字的倡导者也造了一些单词,比如把飞机说成是"飞行装置"却推广不下去。韩国在全面使用拼音文字中,国民患上了该懂的知识却不懂的"知识贫血症"。

  

*100年前仅限于使用汉字

  韩国100年以前是一个仅限于使用汉字的国家。不仅公文如此,日常生活中的文字也同样。韩国的统治阶级、两班使用汉字写信、创作。德川幕府派到日本的朝鲜通信使,选用汉语造诣高的官员担任。他们与日本的儒学家、僧侣之间用汉字笔谈,并即席创作汉语诗词。朝鲜只是庶民与汉字无缘。

  朝鲜表音字创造于1443年。朝鲜王朝世宗下令创造庶民使用的简单易学的表音文字。学者们遵照王命,创造了由11个元音和14个子音组成的表音文字。这种钦定文字颁布之时,称为"训民正音"。然而,统治阶级仍然只限使用汉字。妇女、儿童使用拼音字。用拼音字书写的文章叫"谚文",受人歧视。

  甲午战争之后,韩国掀起"文明开化"运动。在称为"甲午更张"的改革中,封建制度受到冲击,韩国引进太阳历,从这时起书文从专门使用汉字过度到汉字与表音字结合使用。韩国沦落为日本殖民地时代,确定"国(指日本)汉文字并用"。当时,把朝鲜表音文字学者作为反日思想坚持者来对待,对他们进行了残酷的镇压。二战期间,总督府命令解散研究表音字的朝鲜语学会,有的学者被逮捕投狱。因有上述历史缘故,使用表音字成了民族主义标志,被视为反日爱国的象征。

  1945年,韩国从殖民地统治中解救出来。新生的韩国提倡国粹主义。表音字学者站在弘扬民族精神的最前列,提出全部使用表音字等于爱国。1948年政府一成立,立即制订了《表音文字专用法》,规定公文全部使用表音字。但是,公文的附加条款允许汉字与表音字并用。

*把拼音文字视为民族主义的象征

  韩国大力推广全面使用表音字起于1950年的韩战。战事中全国青年参军受训。他们由于学历参差不齐,读不懂混有汉字的教科书。于是首先在军队中统一使用表音字。而后扩展到全社会使用表音字。

  另一方面,朝鲜北部也从1949年起全面废除使用汉字,逐渐过渡到一律使用表音字。不过1968年在金日成指示下,修改了一律使用表音字方案,逐步恢复汉字教育。目前朝鲜小学生从五年级开始学习汉字,至高中毕业止学习1500个汉字。大学期间再学习1500个。共计教授3000个汉字。同样是在1968年,韩国的朴正熙总统下令从1970年起,公文中禁止使用汉字,强行废除教科书中使用的汉字。

  在朴总统坚决推行使用表音字的背后,强调的是土著民主主义以此解释自己的偏执。当时的朴总统企图终身独裁专制,于要求实行欧美式民主的人们针锋相对。以倡导土著民主主义,竭尽全力强调各国各自的土著制度和精神,在此基础上推行文字拼音化。总统的一句话就废除了汉字教育。

  独裁者在文化上胡乱多嘴,没有不出乱子的。

  鉴于社会舆论对废除汉字教育的批判压力,韩国政府开始修改全面废除使用汉字方针。

  1972年确定恢复中学、高中的汉字教育。1974年确定学习1800个基础汉字(初中900个,高中900个)。并允许汉字在国语和国史教科书中加到括号内使用。

  但是,在表音字使用占多数人的社会里,青年人对学习汉字无兴趣,考大学试题也不包括汉字知识,学生学习汉字没有压力。学习属于象形文字的汉字,适于从小学学起,从中学开始学习的话效果欠佳,造成一代人不识汉字的后果。

  

*两派争论逐步升级

  随着全面废除汉字教育,人们开始感到不方便,掀起各种形式的要求恢复汉字教育运动。

  170多个社会团体联合组成全国汉字教育推广总联合会,1998年11月17日召开总动员大会,提出"从小学接受汉字教育,摆脱文化危机"的口号。大会通过议案︰1,小学学习汉字1000个;2,小学至高中的教科书汉字与表音字混合使用;3,允许公文、路标、招牌等汉字与表音字混用;4,奖励新闻媒体采用汉字表音字混用方式。

  大会还向国会提议,"废除表音字专用法案"。赞同的7000多名政界、财界、学术界、宗教界、文艺界知名人士联合签名。

  但是,表音字专用者也没有沉默。1997年11月下旬,以韩国表音字学会为中心的表音字专用实践促进会,在诸多大报上发表声明,强调"在韩国解放半个多世纪的今日,更要坚定不移地使用表音字"。他们攻击对方大肆赞美汉字的用意,在于恢复到旧王朝时代,说汉字使用者企图将韩国国语作为方言、表音字只允许作为记述方言的"谚文"。该促进会认为,韩文的表音字功能与汉字相比不但绝对的好,而且能表现出民族自主精神,所以主张全盘表音字化。他们还主张坚决彻底地贯彻"表音字专用"方针,要求立即停止目前的中学汉字教育。此外,该促进会积极促成把制订发布表音字的10月9日定为法定公休节日。

  为维护表音字专用法,他们开展了轰轰烈烈的1000万人大签名活动。

  双方围绕着是否恢复使用汉字问题的争论升级到不仅是理论之争,扩展升华至民族感情层次。

  强调全面废除汉字给社会带来困惑的人们认为,最近政治混乱和经济危机是因为"表音字一代"人文知识欠缺所致,造成伦理、哲学、思想、道德上的混乱。在迎接亚洲太平洋时代,在中国、日本、台湾、新加坡、香港的汉字文化圈中,只有韩国使用表音字特别孤立,妨碍文化交流,阻碍经济发展。

  表音字专用者强烈攻击对方,为使其理论合理化,用尽诡辩、谎言招数,且不惜重金刊登广告造谣惑众。在政治腐败严重的情况下,出巨资掀起文化运动,如同搞政治运动,不知其目的何在。他们还纠集有权势人物,企图以金钱和权势左右韩国文化政策。

  韩国新闻界对双方褒贬各半,使得双方争论更加激烈。

*争论波及其它领域

  国会议员回避审议是否保留"表音字专用法"问题,对其敬而远之,采取不得罪任何一方的机会主义做法。原因是与自己权力得失无关。对议员们来说,允许同本同姓通婚、取消通奸罪和表音字专用问题是他们的三大雷区,言辞稍有不周,就会伤着自己的权位。韩国围绕汉字使用问题发生激烈争论,但令人不解的是有关英语早期教育问题却几无任何异议。韩国早期英语教育始于1995年,从小学三年级起学习简单的英语单词和会话。以" 分散学生宝贵学习时间"为由反对在小学实行汉字教育的人,对此却闭口不言。

  关于汉字使用问题,不仅仅局限于使用文字本身。它与古典教育应有的现状和信息革命时代汉字教育的方向密切相关。产业革命之后,西方社会也展开了围绕人文教育为中心,是使用希腊语拉丁语,还是使用现代语言进行古典教育的争论。争论结果,出现了重视古典教育传统的高级中学和以现代语为中心的实科学校。但是,西方关于古典教育的争论不涉及文字本身,无论拉丁语还是英语德语法语……,都使用一样的字母。

  目前,韩国有关汉字教育问题,因为作为汉字本家的中国还有新加坡已经改为使用简化汉字,即使恢复汉字教育,学会的汉字也有很多与中国本土不同。而且学会规定的1800个汉字,人名中不会的汉字也相当多。韩国大法院规定的人名使用汉字达2854个,另外,常使用的固有名词中汉字也至少占1000个。这样学生还要学习2000个左右的汉字。

*能否把文化传给下一代

  在当今计算器时代,韩国难以回避汉字问题。发明了计算机汉字转换功能,出现划时代飞跃,书写复杂问题得到解决。而韩国表音字最大弊端是文字字数过多。韩国在表音字专用思想指导下,计算机组件汉字转换功能落后,不具备汉字单词直接转换功能,再加上组件需求量少,如若普及表音字与汉字混用的计算机,开发出来尚需时日。

  关于是否恢复汉字教育,不光是部分学者和教育工作者的事,事关国家大计、文化根基问题。近几年来,中国每年接待几十万韩国游客。中国导游颇有感触地说,"日本游客每当听到用古诗、成语和典故介绍名胜古迹时,都知道其古文化渊源,听起来兴致勃勃。而韩国人听了却呆若木鸡"。

  韩国自古以来儒教传统浓厚。年轻一代对儒教最基本的《论语》却一无所知。儒教传统成为空架子。学过"衣食足,礼节知"的韩国人,衣食足却不识汉字。甚至出现历史系学生去图书馆,连自己国家的朝鲜、高丽时代的古籍都看不懂的情况。

  主张恢复使用汉字的人,批评表音字专用者患了文化封闭症,自己夜郎自大还觉得不够,还硬要把病患强加给下一代,增加"不懂文化的残疾儿"。

  这场文化之战在持续,何时能够终结目前尚不清楚,最大受害者是正在接受教育的一代人。

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skylee

ala thanks for the article. It is informative and objective. This one is so much better than the one about Chinese being so efficent/good blah blah blah posted under the topic "Mandarin speaking ability", which is quite insufferable IMO.

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smithsgj

I'll read it then. A project.

A plea to regular posters who are native speakers... if someone posts something long and in Chinese which is obviously claptrap, can you post a note to that effect as soon as you read it?

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roddy
if someone posts something long and in Chinese which is obviously claptrap, can you post a note to that effect as soon as you read it?

That's a very good idea. I'll also suggest that people don't just copy and paste in great big chunks of text without explanation or commentary - I find a link to the original, with a few relevant quotes and comments is much more digestible (whether in Chinese or English) and interesting.

Roddy

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skylee

Well it is hard to criticize :oops: (being unkind, obstructing freedom of speech, leading to confrontation, etc)

But Quest did say "ns" in response to that post. (It took me several minutes to figure out what that meant. :P )

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nnt
在迎接亚洲太平洋时代,在中国、日本、台湾、新加坡、香港的汉字文化圈中,只有韩国使用表音字特别孤立,妨碍文化交流,阻碍经济发展。

Well, Korea is not the only one country from the former CJK(V) region to have adopted phonetic transcription...The other one is Vietnam, and it has been all the better for it. Phonetic transcription is no obstacle to cultural exchange and has nothing to do with economic development.

A language has no virtue by itself. If needed, you can just learn another language (like English, Chinese, Japanese or French) or writing system...

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Ian_Lee

Nnt:

Actually that paragraph is somewhat right if you read the hidden meaning.

In the vast new market/production base of Mainland China where conglomerates from every country/territory try to establish bridgehead, HK & Singapore & Taiwan have certain advantage over other competitors owing to the same cultural and linguistic background.

Japan also has some advantages since its written form bears some resemblance to Chinese.

But only Koreans are handicapped to certain degree owing to the lack of teaching in Chinese characters.

Anyhow, Vietnam at the time being dces not need to worry since it lacks conglomerates in the same league of above countries/territory.

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nnt
Nnt:

Actually that paragraph is somewhat right if you read the hidden meaning.

In the vast new market/production base of Mainland China where conglomerates from every country/territory try to establish bridgehead' date=' HK & Singapore & Taiwan have certain advantage over other competitors owing to the same cultural and linguistic background.

Japan also has some advantages since its written form bears some resemblance to Chinese.

But only Koreans are handicapped to certain degree owing to the lack of teaching in Chinese characters.

Anyhow, Vietnam at the time being dces not need to worry since it lacks conglomerates in the same league of above countries/territory.[/quote']

The same debate as exposed in the pasted article had already taken place in Vietnam... one hundred years ago.

And the same arguments for/against using characters (considered at that time as "national writing") vs latinized phonetic transcription (initially considered as "French writing") had been used.

It was the generation of Vietnamese revolutionaries preceding Ho Chi Minh (around 1900) which adopted the latinized transcription, even though they still used classical Chinese and chữ nôm characters in their writings.

The efficiency of phonetic transcription (for learning, memorizing, printing) far outweighed the fact that it linguistically isolated Vietnam from Japan and China, two countries where many Vietnamese revolutionaries had taken refuge. The "conglomerates" were of a different kind at that time...

Present day Vietnam has been described by travellers as a "country-wide language lab", in which English and Chinese are the two most popular languages. Learning foreign languages (especially latinized English :wink: ) is good for cultural exchanges and business.

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ala

Using the Japanese statistics of 99-100% literacy is inappropriate in trying to defend the viability of Chinese characters as they are used now for Chinese. The reason is that Japanese also has secondary scripts (kana) that serve as a fallback when a character has been forgotten. If I had forgotten a character in Chinese as I'm writing, I can only scribble the outline. Imagine if I forgotten a lot them. Also, furigana (ruby text on top of characters) is widely used for obscure characters without stigma (in contrast to China and Taiwan). I only see ruby text on Chinese characters for children's books, foreigner's Chinese textbooks, and books for Chinese minorities. A lot of application forms, manuals, technical books etc have ruby text in Japan.

Does anyone know the literacy rate of mainland China? Taiwan?

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roddy

This article gives the figure of 85,000,000, of which 70% are women.

Its a fascinating article, and well worth the read - projects to eradicate female illiteracy in the western provinces. It also touches on woman's rights and childhood education.

Roddy

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