Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Mar 2013 14:20 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu This could potentially be quite big for Ubuntu and Linux in general. Canonical and the Chinese government have announced a collaboration to build a version of Ubuntu specifically for the Chinese market, which will become the reference architecture for standard operating systems in the country.
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RE[3]: hoping Taiwan will benefit
by saso on Sat 23rd Mar 2013 09:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hoping Taiwan will benefit"
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

Well there is nothing you can do. If you don't know a character, you don't know the character.

I'd say this is a fairly big issue, as e.g. Japanese people forget characters constantly. This has become especially problematic since much/most writing nowadays occurs on keyboards. People would recognize a character, but for the life of them can't produce it by hand. This sort of problem doesn't occur with alphabets - if you know the word, you can read and write it.

However, this usually doesn't occur. The good news is although there are well over 10,000 chinese chars in existence, only 3,000 of them are in frequent use, and another 3,000 of them are in occasional use. So effectively you only need to learn ~6,000 chars.

And here I was thinking the Japanese had it bad with having to learn roughly 1/2 of what you said...

And if you learn these 6,000 chars, you learn all chinese words: there is no need to separately learn the vocabulary, which is huge.

Except this is not how humans naturally learn languages. We learn our mother language as small children with no writing and then have to laboriously relearn it using the writing system (e.g. Chinese characters).

This is because the chinese is an ideographic language. Say if you don't know the English word `rocket', all you can do is to look it up in a dictionary. But if you don't know the Chinese word `rocket' (but you do know the common 6,000 chars), you can make sense of the word because it's made of two characters which stand for `fire' and `flying arrow' separately, and at least you can picture that the word means something arrow-like and is propelled by fire.

Naturally, if you have no concept of the thing being described, regardless of the writing system used, you're screwed. But that's not how most people operate. We know words before we know how to write them down.
In languages using Chinese characters, you effectively need to re-learn your own language in written form. This may not be such an issue in native Chinese languages, but it is certainly an issue in languages into which Chinese characters have been imported (aka "shoehorned"), such as Japanese. Japanese is about as similar to Chinese as English is...

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