Although I have a few texts here on Pinyin Info written in Pinyin, most of them aren’t long and are usually conversions from texts written in Chinese characters. So it is with very great pleasure that I announce the Internet release of an extensive and important essay by Zhang Liqing (張立青,张立青) that was written in Pinyin originally: Hànzì Bù Tèbié Biǎoyì.
Here is the opening:
Dàduōshù huì Hànzì de rén rènwéi Hànzì shì biǎoyì wénzì. Jiù shì shuō Hànzì gēn biéde wénzì bù yīyàng, bùbì yīkào fāyīn huòzhě biéde yǔyán tiáojiàn; yī ge rén zhǐyào xuéhuì le hěn duō Hànzì, kànjian Hànzì xiě de dōngxi jiù zhīdao shì shénme yìsi.
Zhè dàduōshù rén yòu kàndào liǎng jiàn shìqing. Dì-yī, Hànzì zài Zhōngguó liánxù yòng le sānqiān duō nián, bìngqiě dào xiànzài hái zài yòng. Dì-èr, Hànzì zài Dōng-Yà jǐ ge guójiā liúchuán le hěn cháng yī duàn shíjiān. Yúshì, tāmen yǒu tuīxiǎng chū liǎng ge jiélùn. Yī ge shuō Hànzì chāoyuè shíjiān; lìngwài yī ge shuō Hànzì chāoyuè kōngjiān. Guībìng qǐlai jiù shì Hànzì biǎoyì, kěyǐ chāoyuè shí-kōng. Zuìhòu gèng jìnyībù, bǎ Hànyǔ yě lājìnlái, shuō Hànzì zuì shìhé Hànyǔ.
Shàngmiàn de kànfǎ hé jiélùn “gēn shēn dì gù”, dànshì bùxìng dōu hěn piànmiàn, bù fúhé zhēnzhèng qíngkuàng. Wèishénme ne? Hěn jiǎndān….
Nothing would make me happier than for Mandarin teachers the world over to distribute this work to their students, for it’s much more than an exercise in Pinyin; it’s an essay with important points to make about the nature of Chinese characters. (And, yes, O teachers of the world, the copyright terms do allow you to reprint this.)
This essay appeared originally in 1991, in the Sino-Platonic Papers release of Schriftfestschrift: Essays on Writing and Language in Honor of John DeFrancis on His Eightieth Birthday, so some of you may have seen it already. But the full Schriftfestschrift is a whopping 15 MB, while this essay is a more manageable 759 KB PDF.
This special release of this article is in honor of the seventieth birthday this month of Zhang, some of whose work appears here at Pinyin Info. So, after reading Hanzi bu tebie biaoyi, I recommend that you turn to her translations of Lü Shuxiang (first seen here on this site!) and Zhou Youguang:
- Comparing Chinese Characters and a Chinese Spelling Script — an evening conversation on the reform of Chinese characters, by Lyu Shuxiang
- The Historical Evolution of Chinese Languages and Scripts, by Zhou Youguang (scroll down to find links to the various readings)
Those readings are also available in the original Mandarin:
- traditional characters: 漢字和拼音字的 比較 —-漢字改革一 夕談, 呂叔湘
- simplified characters: 汉字和拼音字的 比较 —-汉字改革一 夕谈, 吕叔湘
- traditional characters: 中國語文的時代演進, 周有光 (scroll down to find links to the various readings)
- simplified characters: 中国语文的时代演进, 周有光 (scroll down to find links to the various readings)
In addition to being a writer, educator, and translator, Zhang is an associate editor of the excellent ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary, which is by far my favorite Mandarin-English dictionary.
Happy birthday, Liqing!