Should Chinese Characters be Abolished?

I’m not saying people shouldn’t argue for or not. But i’m still arguing that it’s a stupid idea. And often it’s from non-native speakers complaining about it. I don’t see these arguments coming from the Taiwanese.

It’s the same thing with Italian/French/Romance Languages. Non-native speakers whinging about masculine and feminine nouns/articles and conjugation because it’s inconvenient and doesn’t fit with their world view.

That might be true in some cases but it seems like a really bad idea to make that kind of blanket assumption about why people have certain ideas. I would be personally offended by that kind of statement in this case. What if I came up with alternate such explanations about why you have an opposite view? I bet you wouldn’t like it. There is more than enough linguistic ground to argue in this case.

I’m not making an assumption about why people have this idea. I’m saying to me it sounds entitled.

My reasoning being is… it sounds like people trying to change everyone else before themselves.

Taiwanese and Chinese have grown up with these languages. They obviously have no problem with it as native speakers or they’d change it. The PRC already did, though their motivations aren’t clear.

I’m not saying you or anyone else IS entitled. It sounds entitled.

Well, I would make that argument. And I’m quite sure it’s not for that kind of thing you’re suggesting. So I don’t really know how to respond.

Where’s the Thames River?

One answer: London, Ontario, Canada. :rofl:


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Not true. A homophone doesn’t have to be spelled differently, it just has to have a different meaning. So there are words with probably 5+ homophones

EDIT: And there are many words with 4 spellings, ie By, Bye, Bi, Buy

Bi is not a word. But I stand corrected. There are two I know of now.

But why did the Chinese create so many homophones? There’s certain sounds that are barely used in Chinese. Why put all your eggs in so few baskets? 籍及幾機即及集雞吉極基

It’s the homophones that hinder the use of phonetic alphabets.

Yeah it is. A short of bisexual, but common enough to call it its own word. I was googling and saw many examples of 3 and 4 words. Three is pretty damn common

It just seemed to evolve that way.

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Common is relative.

English has tens of thousands of syllables.

Chinese has 400.

Relatively speaking. It’s rare in English.

I think zhuyin is a little better because it can be written beside the character. So you see both the zhuyin and the character at the same time. Usually pinyin is written on another line. So you wind up looking back and forth.

Another plus of zhuyin, as a learner, is it allows you to focus on Chinese sounds using new symbols that eliminate existing ideas of what ‘b’ for example sounds like.

An additional thing that I think makes zhuyin better is one letter per sound, pinyin has two letters for some sounds.

I’d far prefer pinyin for typing though

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Make zhuyin the written form like the roman styles and be done with it.

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If you say ‘cat’ ‘car’ ‘can’ etc in English you might notice that the a is slightly different in each one.

I read once that was one of the ways tonal languages evolve. If you say ca, ca, ca, for cat car can, and the meaning is already there in the way you said ‘ca’ now you got tones

I agree with everything you said except this: How many Taiwanese do you hear that try to speak English using only Chinese sounds? “Ai wan-tah tu lear-nuh Yingalishuh. Will-uh you-wa beya-my frienduh?”.

But everything else you say about Chinese characters, you are correct. I remember when I first started learning Chinese, we did only pinyin until we were solidly using those words in listening/spoken language, then we would be introduced to the characters for those words (about a month later). At first, I thought characters were fun to write and a pain in the butt the read. By the end of the first semester, I couldn’t even understand the pinyin-only versions of the text because the characters provide too much meaning that pinyin lacks.


I don’t know if that would work, because although zhuyin is an excellent pronunciation guide, reading it I imagine requires more brain operations than reading characters

I think you might be missing my point. I’m saying they aren’t demanding us to change the entire language to accommodate them.

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This is true. Not learning the correct pronunciation is not the same as not wanting to learn to write. Though I’ve had plenty of students over the years use Zhuyin next to their English vocab to “help them with” pronunciation. It’s either that or KK. If only they had a teacher to teach them how to SOUND OUT ENGLISH WORDS. (caps is because of my frustration fighting the system in TW that enforces the idea that English is not totally phonetic and therefore not phonetic at all)

It does not matter if you use zhuyin or pinyin. They are both exactly the same thing when it comes to their function – they tell you how to pronounce a character. One uses Chinese character looking script and the other uses the Roman alphabet. Other than that, their function is exactly the same, pronunciation. They do not, however, carry meaning because there are too many homophones in Chinese. This has already been said above.

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