This book presents the most comprehensive synthesis and analysis of major developments in reforming programs in modernizing the Chinese writing system. It traces the language policy and planning related developments for Chinese characters, with particular emphasis on post-1950 period in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the more recent challenges that technology, and particularly the World Wide Web, have posed for the language.
One of the remarkable things about Chinese language policy over the millennia has been the power of the writing system to unite what are disparate if related spoken varieties. We have already published one book on PRC language policy in this series, a collection edited by Minglang Zhou that covered the full range of topics including the development of Putonghua (common speech), the status of minority languages, and some interesting chapters on the reform of the writing system. This last subject is of such complexity and importance to justify adding to the series a book going into more detail on developments in efforts to manage and cultivate the writing system in the last 50 years, taking into account the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and the technological developments associated with computers and the web. It is important, we feel, to back up the common generalizations about language policy with detailed studies of specific topics, where one can observe at close hand the plans and activities of language managers, the problems they set out to solve, and their successes and failures. This is precisely what Zhao and Baldauf set out to do in this full account and analysis of the challenges met by recent efforts to adjust the Chinese writing system to new demands. We would like to express our thanks to the authors and to the others who contributed to the production of this volume.
Provides an all-inclusive review and evaluation of the diverse literatures on the subject, in both English and Chinese, many of which have not been available to international academia
Undertakes a comprehensive synthesis and analysis of the reform programs for modernizing the modern Chinese writing system
Informs the general interest reader, sinologists and Asian study scholars of the latest developments in the struggle for the world oldest surviving writing system to survive a digital world
Links language planning and writing reform developments in China with international experience in these areas
Suggests solutions to the dilemmas faced by character-based writing systems in their access to and use of modern computer-based systems
The whole world has been watching the vast changes that are currently occurring in China, but few people are aware that at the same time, to ensure the writing system serves these changes well, Chinese characters have also undergone significant reform. While focusing on current problems, developments and possible solutions, this book also details the major implementation of language planning programs for the modernization of the Chinese writing system that have occurred over the last century. The volume provides a broad and in-depth analysis of the conflict between one of the world’s oldest surviving script systems and the latest developments in communication technology. Comprehensive in coverage, interdisciplinary in structure, with copious references to assist readers in locating a wide range of resources, this book offers an analytic discussion of character planning that will prove of great value to language policymakers and those who are interested in China/East Asian studies and sinology.
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