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Han/Chinese Characters: An Idea for the Ultimate Video


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Hello all. Over at another post of mine, input from lexicographically-minded forum contributors has been slow in arriving. I've been using some of the time I'd allocated for responses to do a bit of ether cruising, to see what may or may not be happening in the world of Han/Chinese characters. You know, freshly sprung websites, brand spanking new interactive educational materials, explanatory videos, things like that.


With regard to video, those currently available on the subject of the characters include some that are quite well done, yet fail to achieve full potential. I believe it's possible to create a video about the characters to rival the popularity of “history of the entire world, I guess,” currently at just over 60 million views.


Seriously. I mean, think about it. The Chinese writing system is not only history's most venerable, but is also intrinsically fascinating and of intense current interest, being the system used by one of the most powerful nations on the planet. Further, the subject lends itself to being presented from all kinds of intriguing angles, such as their popularity of the characters as tattoos, the peculiar attempt to enlist the characters in support of biblical stories, the introduction of the simplified characters (jiǎnhuàzì) coming just as the world was on the technological cusp of being able to produce 30-stroke characters as swiftly as 1-stroke characters, and so on. Weave a dozen or so of these ancillary stories into a straight presentation of historical developments in forms and usage and you've got a winning combination.


DISCLAIMER: I am not pitching this idea, merely tossing it out there in case an individual or team possessed of the appropriate media, marketing and language skills to bring it into reality might care to make use of it. (I lack most of those skills, not to mention the energy). Personally, I believe that, from the perspective of narrative interest, the contents would be enhanced by touching upon my research into Old Chinese (consensed in this article). By “narrative interest,” I refer to the fact that the link between sound and concept eventually disappeared from the collective memory of Han speakers, only to be rediscovered thousands of years later thanks to scholarly reconstruction of the pronunciation of terms in the early stage of the language. Among the world's languages, that's a unique phenomenon, and especially noteworthy because it pertains to such an influential modern language.


FWIW Cheers.




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