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woodcutter

The most beautiful signs in the world?

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woodcutter

Modern East Asia is a forest of sign boards, so the aesthetic value of a national script is an important part of the environment. It seems to me that the somewhat pictorial writing of Japan and China is far more beautiful than the bland Roman of Vietnam, or the grim scientifically inspired Hangul of Korea. The western world is waking up to the beauty of Chinese writing, and characters are appearing everywhere.

NBA star Alan Iverson even has the character for loyalty inscribed on his neck. He would be unlikely to do that in Pinyin! If China were to abandon the use of characters it would be a terrible act of barbarism, unnecessary at this time when the Chinese economy is surging forward.

Furthermore this kind of Orwellian language reform has Orwellian consequences, cutting a nation off from its past and culture. The wall between the people and their history no doubt helps the governments in North Korea and Vietnam maintain their over generous helping of control.

In short, the brutal 20th century saw plans to phase out characters. Our post-modern century will probably, on the contrary, see the ever widening appreciation of one of the wonders of world civilization.

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xuechengfeng

Drawing an Orwellian parallel here is quite, well.. awkward?

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ala
Drawing an Orwellian parallel here is quite, well.. awkward?

I agree.

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nnt
The wall between the people and their history no doubt helps the governments in North Korea and Vietnam maintain their over generous helping of control

Hangul is used in South Korea too.

And you shouldn't worry too much about these peoples forgetting their history and culture. Vietnamese "Quốc Ngữ" has helped Vietnamese to get rid of colonialism, and even Vietnamese abroad have not thrown it away. Chinese characters, Hán Việt, Nôm characters and Latinized alphabet are integral parts of Vietnamese culture.

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woodcutter

I think the language reforms were tolerable for the Koreans and Vietnamese - there were at least nationalist positives to offset the unfortunate situation of people only having historical writing translated or interpreted for them rather than being able to read it. The reform of language makes totalitarian control easier rather than inevitable (and of course the PRC has had a stab at it). And wouldn't it be a shame if the English couldn't even attempt to read Shakespeare?

There are no such positives for that kind of (ugly!) reform in China, and the promulgation of another script in China would eventually relegate the characters to the realm of academic study, which would be tragic.

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nnt
And wouldn't it be a shame if the English couldn't even attempt to read Shakespeare?

You should read what dmoser said about Shakespeare's language in another thread.

Btw, do you know latin? Has the Reformation cut the protestant countries from their latin past? How many people in "latin countries" and anglo-saxon countries still learn and speak latin?

"Unfortunate situation" of those (democratic or not)countries whose litteratures before 1550 need translation!

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woodcutter

It would be a great help to my understanding of my nation's past to be able to read Latin, and if I came from a (latin based) romance-language speaking nation it would be a disaster for the government to reform my native tongue into oblivion. Since I am a descendant of an unruly German tribe, and speak a germanic tongue, however, the Latin analogy doesn't work.

Bring back the runes! They IMPOSED Latin writing on us!

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nnt

I 've read someone tried to bring back the some runes S-like signs (around the years 1933-1945). They may be beautiful but...

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Guest Yau

Well, in fact the voice over character reform is all dead. There's no serious discussion and action towards it.

In contrary, renaissance is the major tone today ---after the terrible and radical ruin of chinese culture during the cultural revolution.

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ala

Renaissance also implies a certain amount of rebirth, not lugging around the same dead corpse.

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woodcutter

I thought people would reply to this thread by saying "Ai, Woodcutter, how dare you say Chinese writing is more beautiful than other scripts, that is just YOUR opinion"

It does seem to be everybody's opinion in this forum though, even those people who wish to leave the characters behind.

Certain Chinese streets really need the aesthetic appeal of the characters too.....

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amperel

some people just can't appreciate beauty even if it hits them in the face...

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