Back in mid-December, 2013, I started assembling materials for a post about the differences between Chinese and Japanese writing. I think that someone (I forget who) sent me a couple of links that stimulated me to think about this topic, and then I added some things of my own. That was about as far as I got, though, so the would-be post was filed away in my drafts folder until I stumbled upon it today.
Archive for Alphabets
Matt Keefe came across this sign on a San Francisco streetcar in April:
Occasionally one encounters pinyin with no hanzi (Chinese characters); see at the bottom of this photograph taken by Randy Alexander at a small mall right across from the main entrance to Xiamen (Amoy) University:
The current issue of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine includes an article by Karl Schutz and Jun Bum Sun that made me sit bolt upright:
"The Chosŏn One: The influence of Homer Hulbert, class of 1884, lives on in a country far from his home" (Jul-Aug, 2015).
There has been a considerable amount of discussion concerning the relative merits of bopomofo and Pinyin in Taiwan in recent weeks. A typical article in this vein is "Fèi zhùyīn fúhào jiàoxué, zǎo xué duōzhǒng pīnyīn xìtǒng 廢注音符號教學，早學多種拼音系統" ("Abandon teaching in Mandarin Phonetic Symbols; learn a variety of alphabetical systems from a young age") in Xiǎngxiǎng 想想 ("Thinking-Taiwan") (4/24/15).
In China (and around the world among China watchers), everybody's talking about this ungainly syllable. "Duang" surfaced less than a week ago, but already it has been used millions and millions of times.
"The Word That Broke the Chinese Internet" (2/27/15) by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
"'Duang' is Everywhere on the Chinese Internets, Here’s What It Means" (2/27/15) by Charles Liu
"Chinese netizens just invented a new word, and it's going insanely viral" (2/28/15) by Ryan Kilpatrick (English text part of the way down the page)
A government sponsored mural in Kashgar:
Tim Cousins sent in this photograph of a sign in a local mall in Dalian, northeast China.
Rich Scottoline sent in the following photograph of a box of crackers that he happened across in a Nonghyup food store in South Korea:
I received the following photograph of a sign taken by Son Ha Dinh in Damak, Nepal:
Mark Swofford took these photographs of an advertisement for a very well-known brand of instant noodles in the Taipei MRT (subway system). It makes use of three scripts (Chinese characters [including some rare, non-standard forms], bopomofo / zhùyīn fúhào 注音符號 [Mandarin "Phonetic Symbols" of the Republic of China, and Roman letters) and possibly as many languages (Taiwanese, Japanese, English) — with Mandarin apparently *not* being among them.
Sreekar Saha sent in this sign and expressed puzzlement over the English translation:
On September 25, I posted on "Character amnesia and the emergence of digraphia", which occasioned a vigorous debate. A few of the commenters thought the essay in question wasn't actually written by a student. Be that as it may, this habit of replacing characters by Pinyin is becoming more and more common, especially among young students. Let us look at this scene from the Chinese documentary "Qǐng tóu wǒ yī piào" 请投我一票 (Please vote for me) at (34:29).