October 31, 2009 12:35 AM Subscribe
posted by moorooka (36 comments total)
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Widely regarded as the greatest Chinese writer of the twentieth century, Lu Xun
was so deeply unimpressed by the Chinese character-based writing system
that he is reported to have said "if Chinese characters do not fade away, China will perish!". In his 1934 "An outsider's chats about written language" (menwai wentan）
, he discussed the matter using the pseudonym Hua Yu, which means both "China's Prison" and "China's Language".Lu Xun was by no means the first Chinese scholar to blame the writing system for his nation's backwardness. Indeed, Lu Xun had been preceded by dozens of individuals from the late-Qing period onward who had devised simple and more efficient writing systems, including alphabets, for the various Chinese languages.
In the essay Lu Xun favorably compares Latinization
of Chinese to the kana-like phonetic Zhuyin Fuhao or bopomofo
alphabet, which is still taught (although soon to be phased out) in Taiwan.