From: John H. Jenkins (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jan 25 2007 - 15:07:28 CST
On Jan 25, 2007, at 12:14 PM, Douglas Davidson wrote:
> 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//w
> ; 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.
I'll have to contact them and find out.
>> 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?
Nobody has contacted Unicode with offers to do the gathering for us,
and we don't have the resources (i.e., authoritative print sources and
time and/or money) to do it ourselves. The only issues involved are
> 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.
There are, I understand efforts, to write Taiwanese with ideographs,
but I don't know much about them and would welcome pointers to
As you say, there are political aspects. Cantonese is in an unusually
good position because of the semi-independence of Hong Kong and
Macao. There has bee a notable upsurge in the interest in written
Cantonese and Cantonese linguistics in Hong Kong in the last ten years.
John H. Jenkins
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