Related News

Home » Nation

Simplified characters updated

FOR the first time in nearly 20 years, authorities will issue a modified list of simplified Chinese characters in an effort to further standardize a language used by billions of people around the world.

Wang Dengfeng, vice director of the State Language Commission, confirmed yesterday that the Ministry of Education will issue a revised character list in the near future, but he did not give a specific timetable. "We are still working on it," he said.

On Wednesday, Wang Ning, vice director of the Institute of Linguistics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told a conference on Chinese culture that the editing of the new list has already been completed and it would be published "very soon."

"Over-simplification of some characters actually made them even harder to understand in some cases, which is the problem we are trying to address," Wang Ning said.

The new list will involve a relatively small number of changes to characters currently in use, she said. The goal is to make them easier to learn.

The Chinese mainland introduced simplified characters in 1956. But Taiwan and the then foreign-controlled Hong Kong and Macau retained the ancient traditional characters.

Cultural preservation

In 1986, the State Language Commission issued a list of 2,235 simplified Chinese characters as a way to standardize the written form of the language. The simplified characters were created by decreasing the number of writing strokes.

But some Chinese people on the mainland recently called for the restoration of traditional characters to enhance "cultural preservation."

Pan Qinglin, a political adviser from north China's Tianjin, submitted a proposal to the annual session of China's top advisory body in March. Pan urged the country to abolish the use of simplified characters within 10 years, saying they sacrificed "artistic quality."

Both Wang Ning and Wang Dengfeng stressed that the latest character modification had nothing to do with restoring traditional characters.

"Switching back to traditional Chinese characters would mean billions of Chinese would have to relearn their mother language," Wang Ning said.

"I don't think there is any need to switch back to traditional Chinese characters, or to make the current ones even simpler. Our top priority is to improve and standardize the simplified Chinese characters."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend