Doctor Science Knows

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blogcomment record: Chinese characters

Victor Mair at Language Log posted about amnesia for Chinese characters -- about Chinese people losing the ability to write characters as they become more used to entering e-text. Apparently the most common method for entering Chinese text is to go through pinyin. I commented:


Meanwhile, James Fallows recently observed that written Chinese is ideally suited to Twitter, because a 140-character limit is, in Chinese, a 140-*word* limit, which isn't much of a limit. I hadn't realized, though, that pinyin is being used as the bridge between the keyboard and the display.

Are people seeing "character amnesia" for reading as well as writing? Are literate Chinese just as able to *read* "sneeze" or "elbow" as they were before electronics, or is reading following writing?

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