In a 12:05 TED talk filmed in August, 2015, cave art researcher Genevieve von Petzinger asks:
Archive for Writing systems
I spotted this photograph in an article that I'll describe below:
Periodically, someone will write an article about how the Japanese still are inordinately fond of fax machines, such as this one bfrom the BBC News "Technology of Fiction" section:
Not a word about kanji.
There has been a flurry of reports about a teacher in Sichuan province forcing tardy students to copy a crazy character with 56 strokes a thousand times, e.g.:
Never mind that some people say the character has 57 strokes, while others say that it has 62 strokes, this zany monstrosity is a bear to write. Having to copy it a thousand times would indeed be a kind of mindless, mind-numbing torture. Furthermore, the sound that has been assigned to it — biang — is not part of the phonological inventory of Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM) and the ostensible phonetic component of this symbol did not develop naturally as part of the sound system of traditional Chinese characters.
On the DramaFever website, Brendan Fitzgibbons has an interesting article that shows how "New font lets anyone learn Japanese" (10/17/14):
From David Moser:
Just got this spam text, all in pinyin, to avoid spam detectors. The usual spam offering fake certificates and chops, plus their Weixin contact. What's novel is the tone markings, don't see that very often.
I am happy to report the publication of Jeroen Wiedenhof's A Grammar of Mandarin (Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2015).
This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in Mandarin, both specialists and non-specialists alike. I recommend it highly particularly for general linguists who do not know any Chinese language but who want a reliable, well-organized, and linguistically savvy treatment of all aspects of Mandarin.
During my "Language, Script, and Society in China" class on this past Thursday (10/15/15), I asked the students the following questions:
1. What is your primary method for inputting Chinese characters?
2. What percentage of the time do you use your primary method for inputting Chinese characters?
3. What is your secondary method for inputting Chinese characters?
4. What percentage of the time do you use your secondary method for inputting Chinese characters?
Why won't they call in a linguist?
The producers of "Homeland," a TV spy drama, were filming a scene (shot in Berlin) in which one of the show's main characters walks through a refugee camp run by Hezbollah, and they employed a group of Arabic-speaking graffiti artists to daub the walls with authentic slogans saying "Muhammed is the greatest." (Presumably referring to the revered Arabian prophet, but sounding a bit more like an allusion to the celebrated American boxer; who knows.) But they forgot to hire a trusted Arabic-competent linguist to proofread. They had no idea what the artists had written on the set walls. It turned out to be slogans like "Homeland is not a series," "Homeland is racist," and "Homeland is rubbish." And those graffiti duly appeared on TV (whereupon the guerilla artists, not wanting their subversion to be missed, revealed what they had done).
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Two or three days ago, I received the following call for papers:
"CFP The Chinese Script and its Global Imaginary" (H-Asia 10/7/15)
This is for a conference that will be held in New Zealand on April 1, 2016. Perhaps they do not celebrate April Fools' Day in New Zealand. Otherwise, I would have wondered whether this were some sort of hoax.
Akdong Musician's "Like Ga Na Da":
Alex Baumans writes that "I don't think any other alphabet has such a catchy theme song".
Nathan Hopson sent in this photograph of a trash can / rubbish bin in Nagoya, Japan:
Most of what is said below applies mainly to South Korea, since Hangul-only writing has been even more deeply entrenched in North Korea than in the south.