Re: [unrev-II] computer use eroding Chinese handwriting

From: Gayin Linx (
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 16:12:17 PST

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    My first Mandarin teacher had recently arrived
    from China. Her Mom a red-haired, green-eyed
    American who had married a Chinese water engineer
    here in the States. The couple went back to the
    mainland in the early 50's to help the cause of

    KaiDee Yeh, this young teacher of beginning
    Chinese at the Chinese Culture Center in San
    Francisoc, upon reporting to us that children are
    being instructed in Pinyin now, was greeted by our
    unanimous groans of disbelief. KaiDee immediately
    dispelled our horrific response by assuring us
    that "Now our children's minds will be freed for
    other things."

    KaiDee was NOT totally brainwashed during the
    Cultural Revolution. She was denied access to
    ballet training becasue whe was "too tall", so she
    had first hand disappointment at the hands of the
    Cultural Revolution. Still she saw the pinyin
    teaching method, as opposed to all learning the
    calligraphic style, to be an advance for "the

    The internet sites for learning Chinese excite me.
    For us roman letter learners, the computer
    generated characters and the transliteration and
    translation capabilites are bound to advance our
    learning curves.

    As a student of Perception I was embarking upon a
    discovery into literacy and its effect upon
    perception. The Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy
    seemed to me to present a world different from our
    literacy world of readin letters left-to-right.
    The Japanese and Chinese also seemed to me to
    offer a different sensibility to how one looked at
    the world. I abandoned my scholarly pursuits in
    favor of the arts, so do not know what may have
    happened in academia in regard to this kind of
    musing about ideographic languages.

    I imagine this kind of sensibility is what
    sponsors a sense of chagrin as we imagine the loss
    of the kind of civilization bounded almost totally
    with the ideographic notation of the Chines

    How are your skills with writing the characters
    maintaining themselves?

    Thanks for your letting us know of your being
    struck within by this new loss of ancient

    Gayin Linx

    Eugene Eric Kim wrote:
    > This piece describes how people in China are forgetting how to write
    > Chinese characters because of word processors. It talks about how the pen
    > replacing the calligraphy brush at the turn of the century raised similar
    > concerns. It also explores the relationship between reading and writing.
    > Altogether, I found this to be one of the more interesting articles I've
    > read in a while.
    > -Eugene
    > --
    > +=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== ===== ===+
    > | "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they |
    > +===== can have an excuse to drink alcohol." --Steve Martin ===========+
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Feb 01 2001 - 16:27:07 PST