John DeFrancis - About Chinese Characters

Should the writing of Chinese be reviewed?

Why did you learn Chinese anyway?

A listener to our audiocast just sent me an email asking this question. Believe me this is not the first time I've received mail like this and it surely won't be the last.

周有光 , The Father of Pinyin

See the Tania Branigan full story about the 102 - year old father of PinyinPinyin, or more formally Hanyu pinyin, is the most commonly used Romanization system for Standard Mandarin. Hanyu is the Han (Chinese) language, and pinyin means "phonetics", or more literally, "spelling sound" or "spelled sound".Developed by a government committee in the People's Republic of China (PRC), the system was initially approved by the Chinese government on February 11, 1958.The International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as the international standard in 1982,and since then it has been adopted by many other organizations. Since January 1, 2009, it is also the official romanization system in the Republic of China (ROC).It is used to teach Chinese schoolchildren and foreign learners the standard pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese, to spell Chinese names in foreign publications and to enter Chinese characters (hanzi) on computers., Zhou YouguangIn 1954, the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China (PRC) created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language. This committee developed Hanyu pinyin based upon several preexisting systems: (Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, and the diacritic markings from zhuyin). The main force behind pinyin was Zhou Youguang. Zhou was working in a New York bank when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the Korean War. He became an economics professor in Shanghai and was assigned to help the development of a new romanization system. ( 周有光 ), on the 50th anniversary of the introduction of his alphabet in this story from the Guardian online paper.


Educational Systems

mathboyAs a former student in America, China and Taiwan"Taiwan" is also commonly used to refer to the area under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China (ROC) government, not to be confused with the People's Republic of China government. Following World War II, the ROC gained control of Taiwan from the Japanese in 1945, but lost control of mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party four years later in 1949 as a result of the Chinese Civil War. The Kuomintang (KMT) government then retreated to the island and moved the capital to Taipei. While the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims Taiwan as its province, the PRC has never controlled Taiwan. The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa (from Portuguese (Ilha) Formosa, meaning "beautiful (island)"), is located in East Asia off the coast of China, southwest of the main islands of Japan but directly west of the end of Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and north-northwest of the Philippines. It is bound to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait, to the west by the Taiwan Strait and to the north by the East China Sea. The island is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) wide and consists of steep mountains covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation. Though for decades following the Chinese Civil War, the ROC was politically a single-party authoritarian state, the ROC has since evolved into a democracy in Asia. Its rapid economic growth in the decades after World War II and the government's relocation to Taiwan has brought it to an advanced economy status as one of the Four Asian Tigers. This economic rise is known as the Taiwan Miracle. It is categorized as an advanced economy by the IMF and high-income economy by the world bank. Its technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. Taiwanese companies manufacture a giant portion of the world's consumer electronics., I have been asked many times what my opinions are concerning their educational systems. There have been a few discussions comparing the American, Chinese and Taiwanese educational systems in the Forums.