Re: traditional vs simplified chinese

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Fri Feb 14 2003 - 05:06:23 EST

  • Next message: John Cowan: "Re: traditional vs simplified chinese"

    On Fri, 14 Feb 2003 01:23:42 -0800 (PST), "Zhang Weiwu" wrote:

    > I never saw 500B and 4E2A in one same printed document as I lived in China for
    > 20 years. (Well, need to remove the years I cannot read:) Unless you have a
    > obvious reason to do so, to print a book with Traditional characters is
    > considered somewhat wrong in the past in China. There is a language council
    > (YuWei) in charge of such issue. In some period of past time people want to
    > completely kill Traditional Chinese. I remeber an advertisement on the street
    > when I was a child, which said people should report public appearance of
    > Traditional Chinese character to the local culture ministry of some sort. (Oh
    > it's very OT) So let me correct my word: If you find a 4E2A, maybe it is still
    > Traditional, but if you find a 500B it is very very likely to be Traditional
    > Chinese. I think we can search 500B, if it does not exist it is likely to be a
    > simplified character.

    You're right of course that searching for U+500B or U+4E2A would work as a
    simple test for traditional/simplified Chinese in the vast majority of Chinese
    language web pages. The point that I was trying to get across is that
    Traditional/Simplified is an artificial distinction formalised in the second
    half of the 20th century by the PRC's adoption of a "simplified" character set,
    and enforced by the coding standards that developed on either side of the Taiwan
    straits. With Unicode it is now possible to overcome this artificial divide if
    one wants to.

    It's also true that some people did want to wipe out all traditional form
    characters -- or even replace Chinese characters altogether -- but they have
    certainly failed. There are still plenty of books (albeit mainly academic) that
    are printed using traditional characters in China to this very day. One
    interesting example of modern mixed Simplified/Traditional printing is the
    standard 13 volume Dictionary of Chinese (Hanyu Da Cidian) published 1986-1994,
    that gives head words in traditional Chinese, the definitions in simplified
    Chinese and the quotations in traditional and/or simplified Chinese (simplified
    for modern sources, traditional for pre-modern sources). Take a look at Vol.1
    p.1501 under ge4, where U+500B and U+4E2A occur in about equal numbers.
    Interestingly, the dictionary quotes Zheng Xuan, writing in the 2nd century
    A.D., as stating that U+4E2A (the modern "simplified" form) is the correct form
    of the character, and that U+500B (the modern "traditional" form) is a vulgar
    substitute !

    Now if Hanyu Da Cidian were to be put onto the internet ...



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