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: hoping Taiwan will benefit
by saso on Fri 22nd Mar 2013 23:57 UTC in reply to "hoping Taiwan will benefit"
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

I live in Taiwan, and this development gives me some hope that Linux can be revived here. We wouldn't be able to use the exact same system as mainland China because they use simplified characters and we stick the traditional ones (as does Hong Kong, by the way). But translating menus into traditional characters is very easy, it can even be done by machine.

Ah, the beauty of Chinese characters. When I studied Japanese, learning the darn things was hard enough, but I can't imagine how hard it must be for Chinese people to operate in such an environment all the time... I mean, in Japanese, there are phonetic alphabets (hiragana/katakana) that can be used as a functional substitute most of the time, so in case one doesn't know how to read a bunch of characters, there's a helper method to write down the pronunciation. But in Chinese, what methods are there? Last time I was in China, everything was in Chinese characters - and I mean every single thing (besides western names, obviously).
How do you guys figure things out when you don't recognize a character?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: hoping Taiwan will benefit
by cl91 on Sat 23rd Mar 2013 02:17 in reply to "RE: hoping Taiwan will benefit"
cl91 Member since:
2013-03-23

[quote]
How do you guys figure things out when you don't recognize a character?
[/quote]

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

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

Edited 2013-03-23 02:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11


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. 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.


If you just learn the characters that doesn't mean you learn chinese or chinese words. You'll still be writing and reading in your own language but with chinese characters. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

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...

Reply Parent Score: 3

Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

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. 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.


Except when not, which is not uncommon. Think 'logic' and 'theory': same two characters, but different order -- different word. Or when there are 3 characters with similar meaning, and almost any combination of them makes a word, each with slighly different meaning.

Also, not everything is as straightforward as fire + arrow: what about, for example, 'hand' + 'paper'? Who would ever guess that it means 'toilet paper'? Not the Japanese, I'm sure, for whom those that sequence reads as 'letter'.

So yes: logograms help, but do not acquit you from learning vocabulary.

Reply Parent Score: 5