ポリグロット(数か国語に通じる人)を目指して~
中国人の父にオランダで育てられました。 日本語を勉強しながら、ベトナム人の彼氏と一緒に暮らしています。

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Chinese should change their writing system! - Happy year of the Horse!

The biggest struggle of people who learn Chinese is of course their writing system. Not only students who study Chinese on a daily basis struggle with this, but it is also a huge issue for people who want to start learning Chinese. They want to try studying Chinese as a second language, but are held back by all the difficult characters and never actually start because they fear they will fail mastering the characters. Have you ever had the same thoughts? I know I did, and even the Japanese Kanji seemed like a lot of characters to me.
I got inspired to write this post when I read an online discussion. The original article gave an introduction to the concept of Chineasy. A huge discussion was going on in the comment section with quite interesting thougts and opinions. The comment which started the discussion was; ''The Chinese should change their writing system!''

Chineasy
Chineasy is an award-winning concept which makes it easier to remember all the Chinese characters. I will give an introduction and a full explanation about Chineasy after I have purchased the book.

Discussion
A man posted a comment below the article stating the Chinese should change their writing system to a phonetic system like our Latin system. He said this because he also felt it is too hard to learn all the complicated characters as a foreigner. Although it might sound drastic changing the whole alphabet, this actually happened in 1926 in Turkey. In the early years Turkish was written using a form of the Arabic script. However, the Arabic script is rich in consonants but poor in vowels while Turkish is the complete opposite. After years of public debating, people opposing from the idea and people supporting the idea, the Turkic republics of the Soviet Union adopted the Latin script. Which boosted major changes in Turkey.

Reform of the alphabet
Why can't we do this with Chinese? I read this question a thousand times in the comments. People call the alphabet 'unpractical' and 'complex' but is it really that unpractical? The Chinese can easily read ancient books and writing because the characters have stayed the same. Phonetic scripts are based on pronunciation which constantly change. Also although there are many dialects in Chinese, everyone can understand each other by the written form.
But there are actually many answers to the question at the top. For example; there are way too many homophones in Chinese like 'shi'. When they are written in Pinyin it becomes shi1, shi2, shi3 but even then there are too many forms of only shi3. Changing the script sounds a little crazy now right? If you are really persistent writing Chinese in a Romanized alphabet take a look at pinyin.info . On this website they even have an article about the attempts of the Chinese adopting the Latin alphabet. So you can't say they didn't gave it any thought at all.

I also wanted to say; Happy year of the Horse! I wish you all a lot of wisdom and prosperity in the new year. And I hope all of you lucky Horses have a good year!
























Thank you for reading.

~Mei mei