Chinese characters, Pinyin, and computers

Recently added to my list of recommended readings: Characters and Computers, edited by Victor H. Mair and Yongquan Liu. Although this collection was published in 1991 and thus no longer represents the state of the art, the issues raised here remain relevant.

Of particular interest, at least where Pinyin is concerned, is the important essay Pinyin-to-Chinese Character Computer Conversion Systems and the Realization of Digraphia in China, by Yin Binyong, who has also written the books on Pinyin orthography: Chinese Romanization: Pronunciation and Orthography and the Xinhua Pinxie Cidian. The complete text of this substantial essay (nearly 6,000 words) is available here on Pinyin Info. I strongly encourage everyone to read this.

Here are the subject headings:

  1. The Three Stages in the Development of Pinyin-to-Chinese Character Computer Conversion Systems
  2. The Theoretical Contribution of the Pinyin-to-Chinese Character Conversion System to the Realization of Digraphia in China
  3. Practical Contributions of Pinyin-to-Chinese Character Conversion Systems to Digraphia in China
    1. Can alphabetized Chinese take the road of “pinyin pictophonetic characters”?
    2. What is an appropriate way to handle the representation of tones in a Pinyin-based writing system?
    3. How to solve the problem of homonyms in alphabetized (Pinyin) Chinese writing?
  4. Directions for the Future

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