Re: Greek characters in IPA usage

From: Martin J. Dürst (
Date: Tue Aug 25 2009 - 22:47:12 CDT

  • Next message: Martin J. Dürst: "Re: Greek characters in IPA usage"

    On 2009/08/19 6:45, verdy_p wrote:

    > In a country where only a small minority is educated, and already has enough economic power to be able to pay the
    > transition to a new system without lots of difficulties, this is not a problem: the switch is probably desirable
    > (but this does not mean that they must adopt Latin only: any widely used script can be as convenient, and culturally
    > more acceptable, notably if there already exists significant corpus in that script, including historic texts).

    This is not how it usually works. Whether there is a small or big
    minority (or even a majority) in power, those people are usually not
    only well educated, but they use their education day-in-day-out (reading
    and writing, that is) with high efficiency and speed. The more people
    are really in power, the more they have to read and write, and the less
    time they have. For them, a script reform is therefore most costly,
    because it diminishes their efficiency (and therefore their capability
    to rule) significantly. Also, in many situations, people in power are
    somewhat older, and the older you are, the more time it will usually
    take to adapt to a new writing system.

    That's why serious script reforms are mostly undertaken when power
    changes drastically (e.g. Russian revolution, end of Ottoman empire in
    Turkey, Chinese revolution), where mostly younger people not yet too
    much used to exercising power administratively have an incentive to
    disadvantage the people who were in power previously.

    (For the Chinese case, there is one alleged point that doesn't
    completely match with the above general theory, which is that the
    simplified shapes chosen mainly came from handwriting as used by
    officials and therefor were favoring highly literary people who wrote
    often and much over average or below average people who didn't write too

    Regards, Martin.

    #-# Martin J. Dürst, Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University

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