Difficult Characters: Interdisciplinary Studies of Chinese and Japanese Writing

edited by Mary S. Erbaugh

Colombus, Ohio: Ohio State University National East Asian Language Resource Center, 2002.

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Descriptions of several works from this book.


  1. "The Ideographic Myth" (note: an earlier version of this appears in The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy)
    • John DeFrancis
  2. "How the Ideographic Myth Alienates Asian Studies from Psychology and Linguistics"
    • Mary S. Erbaugh
  3. "A Phantom of Linguistic Relativity: Script, Speech, and Thought"
    • Ovid J. L. Tzeng and Daisy L. Hung
  4. "Are Chinese Characters Ideographs? An Argument from the Psycholinguistic Perspective"
    • Sachiko Matsunaga
  5. "Teaching Johnny to Read Japanese: Some Thoughts on Chinese Characters"
    • Eleanor H. Jorden
  6. "Sound and Meaning in the History of Characters: Views of China's Earliest Script Reformers" sample chapter
    • Victor H. Mair
  7. "Functional Answers to Structural Problems in Thinking about Writing"
    • Mark Hansell
  8. "An Exception that Proves the Rule: Ideography and Japanese Kun'yomi"
    • Timothy J. Vance
  9. "How the Ideographic Myth Misleads Historians: An Example from the Occupation of Japan"
    • J. Marshall Unger
  10. "Ideograph as Other in Poststructuralist Literary Theory"
    • Mary S. Erbaugh
  11. "Spillover to the Americas: The Ideographic Myth as a Barrier to the Decipherment of Maya Writing"
    • Michael D. Coe