From: Douglas Davidson (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jan 25 2007 - 13:14:56 CST
On Jan 25, 2007, at 10:26 AM, John H. Jenkins wrote:
> So far as I know, Cantonese-specific writing is *not* taught in
> schools. In the mainland, there is a push to get everyone to
> switch from local dialects to Mandarin. Cantonese is only really
> written at all (and then not very much) in Hong Kong and Macao, and
> there I believe the emphasis is also on standard written Chinese.
There actually are two bilingual Cantonese-English public elementary
school programs in San Francisco (http://www.westportalschool.com/cip/
CIP.html and http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/index.cfm?
page=es.fong_yu&show_descr=true&len=348); their material states that
they aim for literacy in both Cantonese and English, but I haven't
seen anything in enough detail to say to what extent Cantonese-
specific characters might be used.
> OTOH, Unicode *has* made an effort to cull Cantonese-specific
> characters from such references as exist for such. When Extension
> D is encoded in the (hopefully) near future, there will be as
> complete a repertoire of Cantonese-specific characters as is
> reasonably possible.
My impression is that Cantonese is in a better position here than
most other dialects--that is, that there are dialect-specific
characters used in writing other dialects, but that the usage is
usually not as widespread or consistent as with Cantonese. Are these
being gathered as well?
Naturally there are political aspects to all of this. On the
mainland, as you say, the push is toward Mandarin. In Taiwan there
has recently been something of a revival of Taiwanese, but my
impression is that this is primarily as a spoken language, and that
when it is written, one of the romanizations is often used rather
than characters; however, this is not first-hand information, and I
would welcome correction on this.
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