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39degN

an article talking about simplified and traditional chinese

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Ian_Lee

Skylee:

Actually as I said, this topic usually leads to irrational discussion.

I would say I am biased towards the simplified script too. My neuro response to this script is the image about intellectuals being forced to kneel down with dunce cap on their heads during Cultural Revolution.

But frankly, I would say the difference between these two scripts are like Coke and Pepsi.

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Guest suowei

Ian_Lee,

Well, it's too easy to say an opinion is subjective, isn't it?

I think our main difference may be due to some kinds of generation gap. You are more used to write in traditional Chinese. It's fine because I know you are not alone. However, I don't prefer to use it. Based on my own experiences and the experiences with some Singaporeans I met, writing in traditional Chinese is the last thing they would like to dream about in their life! To them, writing in simplified Chinese is a big headache already. I know that you can find thousands of reasons to back up your points, but those reasons are simply too weak to convince us, whom are among the younger generation who uses the simplified Chinese since young of age!

As we know, language etc. will change along with the social development. What has been made it tick yesterday may not necessary be appropriate now. Through my own observation (being subjective this time) toward the trend of the usage, I dare to predict that more and more Chinese in the world will adopt the simplified Chinese in the future. If you want to bet, just hope we can live longer enough to be the witnesses (joking, don't take it seriously).

Last but not least, correct me if I am wrong, you have made me feel that you are so defensive. I also feel that you have no intention to try to achieve a common understanding through this argument. If you think you are objective by showing those points to support traditional Chinese, be it. Anyway, who can stop you?

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39degN
Hmmm.....But Mainland China is more "Japanized". Recently a scandal is brewing in Mainland because a restaurant is holding nyotai mori -- sushi served on a naked female body -- to demonstrate Japanese culture. I guess HK and Taiwan are far less "Japanized" on this aspect.

i have no new point there, but Ian, would you call a nation Australianized when they adopt some kangaroos in zoos?

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bathrobe
I also feel that you have no intention to try to achieve a common understanding through this argument.

Is the point of this forum reaching a 'common understanding'? IMHO, often it is the uncompromising statement of strongly-held personal views that leads to a new understanding of some issues, not some vague desire to be conciliatory all round. Even blatant point-scoring can lead to an appreciation of things you may not have understood before.

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Quest

I support simplification, but there should be room for discussion on how we simplify each character.

现在流行于港台的繁体字的主要缺点是:笔画太繁,影响书写、阅读速度,

Reading speed is definitely not a problem. however, I tend to agree that some strokes are really unnecessary and could be simplified for everyday use.

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39degN

that's because there are lack of people can be really able writing 行书 and 草书, they are not so complex in traditonal chinese.

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ala

Wasn't there a rumor that said simplified script was a step for full Romanization of Chinese? The idea was to get Chinese as phonetic to Mandarin as possible (and generating homographs and more phonetic "phonetic elements"), and then switch to Romanization. A transition phase.

True?

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ala

Perhaps a happy compromise between traditional and simplified script can be made. Personally, I really like a lot of the simplifed characters. There are some I find especially annoying though: 汉、华、东、车、专、吴、见、质、达、杀、杂志、后 (for 後)、远

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ala

汉字简化,得不偿失

作者:张钊

几十年来流行的观点认为:汉字的简化的是中国文字的进步,有利于文化的普及与发展,这是没有顾及到文字发展的基本规律,用情感和政治代替了科学的判断。苏联电影《列宁在一九一八》中有一段台词:“以后想问题要用脑子想,不要用骨头想!”我们就试着用脑子想一想这个问题。

   

  

  由少变多,由简而繁——汉字走向成熟的道路

  

  今天的人普遍认为:文字的发展都是从繁到简的,简化汉字不过是顺应了这个历史大潮流而已,这不符合中国文字发展的历史事实。假如我们相信殷墟甲文与商朝的实用文字类似甚至相同,拿它同东汉许慎编的《说文解字》来比较,就会发现:原来的一个字,分化成了几个字,笔画也随着加多了。比如,从原来代表闪电的“申”字演化出了加“雨”头的“電”,用来表示雷电的“電”;加上立人旁,用来表示屈伸的“伸”;加上“示”字旁,用来表示神仙的“神”①。

  

  上古字少,而语言中的词又很多,所以,有些字要身兼数职,一个字成为多个词的书写符号,表达不同的意思。兼职固然有省事的一面,但给阅读带来了很多困难。于是,要另行造字,力求一字一声、一意,字字专职②。随着时间的推移,字数由少变多;形体由单纯变复杂;字意分化、具体、单一、固定,正是汉字走向成熟的道路。可以肯定地说,汉字在那一千多年中是由少变多,由简而繁的;从东汉到汉字简化这两千来年间,汉字的总数还在不断增加,正体书写的形体没有重大的变化。所以,在中国的历史上,并不存在所谓“汉字简化的趋势”,就如同中国没有经历过先奴隶制、后封建制的过程一样。这些都是迷信历史唯物主义的人凭空幻想出来的。

   

  

  恢复同音假借——文字发展中的退步

  

  以意定音,以音定形,见其字而知其音,读其音而明其意,这是汉字的一大特点(见段玉裁《说文解字注》)。古人注释文字,往往只需指明某字在某处的读音,意思就一目了然了。

  

  上古时,字数少,又没有字典,写作时找不到确当的字,用读音相同的字来代替,这就是令人头痛的“同音假借”。字的发音是变化的,不同字的发音经历着不同的变化。几百年前读音相同的字,几百年后就可能相差很大,而使人难以看出它原来是哪个字的代用品。我们今天读上古的文学作品,文字是其中很大的障碍:很多的字,在不同的文章、不同的段落中的意思不同,因为他们是其他字的代用品。后来字数多了,有了字典,字的读音和意思渐渐地固定下来,借代就越来越少了。即便是多音字,他们的读音和字意也是相对稳定的。尽管如此,一字多音,从来就是汉字中难弄的部分,精于文字的人都有意避免它。后代的人再用同音字来借代,就是文法上的错误了,章太炎把它叫做“借声”,其实就是我们今天说的“别字”。

  

  简化汉字恰恰把很多意思毫不相干,而仅仅读音类似的几个字,用一个笔画较少的字来顶替,人为地造成“别字”的使用。比如,“只有”的“只”和“一隻”的“隻”;“頭髮”的“髮”与“发展”的“发”;“後來”的“後”与“皇后”的“后”;“干戈”的“干”与“才幹”的“幹”等等。这样的例子,不胜枚举。这是文字发展中的退步!

   

  

  消减偏旁部首——阉割了汉字的优点

  

  假如我们一定要说汉字的优点,它的形体给出的,意义和读音上的丰富信息,必然是不可忽略的。许慎把汉字分成“文”与“字”两类:“文”是偏旁、部首和单纯字(偏旁、部首原来都是独立的字);“字”是由“文”组成的复合字。“文”通过象形、指事、会意等方式,提示字的意思;通过形声等方式,提示字的读音③。比如,“車”字,看着就象一根轴贯串着两个轮子,中间是载人载货的部分;“苗”字指明是草长在田上;“上”与“下”都明白地表达出各自的意思。俗话说:有边儿读边儿,没边儿读中间儿,很好地说明了偏旁、部首对读音的提示功能。

  

  简化汉字在很大程度上把偏旁、部首的这些重要功能消减了。首先,简化汉字把很多汉字表音或表意的部分去掉。比如“頭腦”的“頭”字,本来由表音的“豆”和表意的“頁”组成。一切以“豆”为音符的字读都读“豆”;一切以“頁”为意符的字都与头面有关系。这样,看到这两个字根,就能猜出字的读音和所指。而简化的“头”字,从字面上,我们既看不明它的读音,更看不出它意思所指。其次,简化汉字甚至把很多偏旁、部首都改了样,使他们完全失去了提示字意的功能。比如,简化的“车,就不会令人联想起车子的原形;简化的言字边也看不出与口舌的关系。

  

  所以,简化汉字是把汉字中很多对于学习、认识和阅读致关重要的部分改掉甚至取消了,给汉字动了大手术,把汉字的优点阉割了。

  

  

  豆腐搞成肉价钱

  

  很多汉字由偏旁、部首这些字根组成,会用这些字根,学起就比较快捷、方便。简化汉字把这些改变或去掉了,学起来没有规律可以遵循,得靠死记硬背。同时,简化汉字将若干分工细致的字重新归纳成一个多音、多意字,使汉字的字数骤减。从表面上看,减少了学习的总量。但由于多音、多意字的增加,学习单字所要花费的功夫增加了。原则上讲,字越多,字意越单一、固定,普通人学习和使用起来就越容易;而字数少,取意广,功能多、变通,则只适合那些善于举一反三、灵活应用的人。我觉得,汉字的简化,实际上加大了学习的难度。

  

  同样,因为简化汉字丧失了大量象形、会意和形声等方面的重要信息,增加了阅读和理解的难度。汉语白话文中词的多音节化,虽然可以在一定程度上弥补这些缺陷,但远远不能把他们完全抵消。

  

  在使用上,问题就更加突出。因为多音和多意字大大增多,严重地妨害了使用者对文字精确的驾驭。加上现代汉语白话文在大陆这几十年日新月异地变化,当代文学作品的语言、文字质量都严重地受到了影响。除去内容上的缺陷,语言、文字的限制恐怕将成为这些作品传世的最大障碍。

  

  简化汉字有着不能掩抑的优点:字数少、书写简便。这也是当年作这项事业的人们最有力的理由。但为了这点便利,造成学习、理解、阅读和使用上多方面的困难,代价是很重的。

  

  好朋友的妈妈有句口头禅:“豆腐搞成肉价钱”,用来形容简化汉字,真的很确当。

   

  

  割断了文化的发展

  

  中华民族的文化经历过两次大的文字改革:两千多年前,秦始皇强制推行秦地的文字,一举废掉了大多数知识分子习用的六国文字③;两千年以下,我们造出几千个新字,一举废掉了延用两千年的汉字,两次都出于政治的动机。

  

  历史上有人赞扬秦始皇“书同文”的功劳,在今天大陆知识分子眼里,更是万世不朽的丰功伟业。然而,秦朝仅仅传了三世,是历史上最短命的朝代,文字的改革也未能阻止它的夭亡。“书同文”给我们的文化却掘下了一条深深的堑沟,带来了不能弥补的损失。先秦的书籍不仅被大量烧毁,少数幸存下来的,也无法阅读。汉朝的传注学之兴旺,是历史上绝无仅有的:两汉学者们发掘、篡改、伪造、翻译、整理和注解古书,使儒家著作流传下来,成了万代的经典。但春秋战国,史称“百家”,其间淹没、散轶的,何止十之八九。这是祖国文化的一大灾难。

  

  汉字的简化和白话文的日语化(我们本来不是没有白话文,《金瓶梅》、《红楼梦》全是用白话写成的),如同两把快刀,再一次割断了文化的发展。今天大陆人中,认识未简化的汉字,能读中文书的人,凤毛麟角。凡民国以前的文章,一概成了古董、绝学。文化要继承、发展;政治要借鉴、改革。但是,继承了,才能发展;借鉴了,才能改革。否则,一切从头做起,摸着石头过河,不栽跟头才奇怪呢?周有文、武、周公,而孔子说:“鉴于二代”;汉有萧何、曹参,而史称:“汉承秦制”。历史上聪明毓智的人们成功的经验正在于学习、借鉴前代的成就和教训。我们经历了百十年的混乱,纲纪制度,破坏殆尽;文化风俗,荡然无存。因为语言文字的缘故,既难于学西,又不能承中,想起来,令人痛心万分。

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eric

sunyata:

why do you say simplification improved literacy rates in China? Can this be substantiated? I am willing to bet that along with the new simplified system, many other things were changed (like the education system?) so it can't be attributed to the simpler characters. This is why i asked if you thought literacy rates in Taiwan or HK were lower: if they did not have the advantage of simplified characters, wouldn't it be fair to assume that (all people being equally able to learn languages on average) they would suffer from lower literacy rates because Traditional characters are harder to learn?

I actually think they can be easier to learn because there have more distinguishing characteristics to set them apart from one and another. Furthermore, some characters might actually still look more like the things they represent.

Assuming most people are using reasonable font sizes, I would agree with you that the difference is negligible. However, at small sizes, I find reading simplified words to be just as difficult... Maybe that's just me?

maybe instead of translating, i should have said transcribing? because even old texts are not grammatically modified when put into simplified characters right? (usually put aside further modern translations).

I'm thinking that they just didn't transcribe some of the old texts (on purpose?).

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pazu

要讓所有人都懂書寫, 必先滅掉所有書寫系統; 要滅盲就先刺盲其他人; 要滅貧就先讓所有人都貧。

這是大思想, 大道理。

這其實是道家思想及共產運動的完美結合。

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Ian_Lee

Suowei:

Please read an earlier thread which we have discussed this topic thoroughly:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/viewtopic.php?t=895

Why do I call your opinion subjective? Because you wrote that the simplified script is easier to learn, read and write than the traditional script. But since obviously you are not brought up learning both scripts, how can you tell? Isn't that subjective?

As I wrote in the previous thread, cultural clout doesn't depend on the size of the population. Whichever script will become more dominant depends on the cultural clout of that certain place.

By the way, your constant citing of Singapore as an example is hardly appropriate since Singapore's Chinese language education has been completely halted for over 10 years under Lee Kuan Yew's policy.

Its population would love to do away completely with the Chinese language study if the government hasn't made a U-Turn on its policy recently.

Moreover, what do you mean the "younger" generation of Chinese will learn simplified script?

I have no doubt that all youths in Mainland will learn simplified script in school like you and your parent did. But the youths in HK and Taiwan will still learn traditional script as I and my parents did.

And of course, the 53,000 immigrants from Mainland that settle in HK annually who are mostly children and youths, have to readjust in school by switching from the simplifed script to the traditional script.

By the way, your stance on simplified script isn't only defensive but over-zealous.

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Guest suowei
Whichever script will become more dominant depends on the cultural clout of that certain place.

Ian_Lee,

I refer to your statement read “whichever script will become more dominant depends on the cultural clout of that certain place”. It is a description of the fact that exists in Hong Kong & Taiwan. Why should I have a doubt about it? As I said in my poster dated 09 Apr 2004, if you are more used to write in traditional Chinese, just be it, who can stop you! Whatever, either simplified or tranditional script is still called CHINESE.

Secondly, I refer to the following statement read “Its population would love to do away completely with the Chinese language study if the government hasn't made a U-Turn on its policy recently”. It’s your own assumption (being an example of your subjective opinion), isn’t it? Otherwise, could you show us your sources or independent survey or Singapore official documents to support your statement, please?

Finally, do you mean that only those who know how to write both scripts are eligible to speak on this topic? Otherwise, he/she will be most likely to be not only defensive but over-zealous? If the logic stands, may I know if you know how to write both scripts?

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Guest suowei
Is the point of this forum reaching a 'common understanding'? IMHO, often it is the uncompromising statement of strongly-held personal views that leads to a new understanding of some issues, not some vague desire to be conciliatory all round. Even blatant point-scoring can lead to an appreciation of things you may not have understood before.

Bathrobe,

Ha Ha, you are indeed a wiser speaker. Agree with you about this forum.

Perhaps we should all find some kinds of extreme positions, if any, so as to force other to appreciate things they may not have understood before.

Ha Ha Ha Ha ......

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Guest suowei
要讓所有人都懂書寫, 必先滅掉所有書寫系統; 要滅盲就先刺盲其他人; 要滅貧就先讓所有人都貧。

這是大思想, 大道理。

這其實是道家思想及共產運動的完美結合。

Pazu,

You are the biggest joker I've never met.

BTW, do you know how to write?

If so, how you write?

Do you always bring needles along?

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Guest suowei
Reading speed is definitely not a problem. however, I tend to agree that some strokes are really unnecessary and could be simplified for everyday use.

Quest,

Yes, you are right. It doesn't always affect the reading speed.

But some characters are quite similar and it takes slightly longer seconds to recognize them. For example, for these two tranditional Chinese characters 麤虣, how long will take you to recognize them? The clock says. I wish to tell you, the first character is quite commonly used.

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skylee
麤虣

Pardon my ignorance. But I don't know these two characters and didn't know that the first one was quite commonly used. Would you tell me their pronunciations, meanings and usage please?

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nnt

麤 = variant of 粗 cu1

虣 bao4 means 暴 but it doesn't seem that those two characters are variant

Anyway 麤虣 and 粗暴 are synonyms

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skylee

thanks a lot, nnt (actually I have good dictionaries 8) ).

I wish to tell you, the first character is quite commonly used.

How common, suowei?

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bathrobe
麤...is quite commonly used
If it's so commonly used, how come skylee's never heard of it? And she's from that stronghold of traditional characters, Hongkong! I don't think I've ever seen it, but I'm not Chinese, so I don't count.

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