Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 9 years ago

Is there any solid proof for the claim that simplified Chinese reduced the illiterate rate in China?

Fact 1 --- the illiterate rate in 1950s in China was 85%, and it is about 15% now (2011).

With the fact 1, many (scholars or Chinese government) claim that the simplified Chinese character system was the key cause for the reduction of illiterate rate in China.

Fact 2 --- the percentage of population attended school in 1950s in China was less than 15%, and it is over 90% today (2011).

With the fact 2, the fact 1 is the direct result of fact 2. The reduction of illiterate rate is wholly caused by the increased school attending rate, and it has nothing to do with the simplified Chinese character system.

Fact 3 --- Taiwan uses traditional system and has lower illiterate rate than China now (2011).

Update:

bryan_q said, "Because with Traditional Chinese writing you can trace the composition of the character back to it's original or at least up until the Middle Chinese period [between the Sui and the Ming periods: between the years 581-1368 CE] to see the original meaning. Example: 软, can't be trace further with Simplified characters. But with Traditional Chinese you can, somewhat. 软, derived from 軟, was a variant form of 輭. 輭 = 車[vehicle; coach, cart]+而[originally, the picture of a man's beard: a man's beard in ancient China was very long: therefore the meaning of long could be used for 而]+大[a person lying flat on the ground, with arms and legs spread out: relaxing. So, 大, not just mean "big; great", but also "relaxed person"]. 輭 , then means 'a vehicle or coach for which a person can relax in, with enough room inside for a lot of things'."

Very interesting. Did you get your idea from the webpage below?

http://www.chineseetymology.com/exhibite.php

2 Answers

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  • 9 years ago
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    Fact is a lot of people still can't learn Chinese! Simplified Chinese is no use, except for using it to take notes.

    Fact 1 --- the illiterate rate in 1950s in China was 85%, and it is about 15% now (2011).

    With the fact 1, many (scholars or Chinese government) claim that the simplified Chinese character system was the key cause for the reduction of illiterate rate in China.

    That's statistic of 15% is a total lie. Ask people what they really know? Most of them can't even remember how to write a simple character, so therefore used a similar character with the same pronunciation as a substitute.

    Fact 2 --- the percentage of population attended school in 1950s in China was less than 15%, and it is over 90% today (2011).

    Yes, many people attended schools, even college and possibly even universities, but how much do they really understand? Most vocabulary goes back to minority language, or slang usages and not standard usage at all. That's why there's two ways for most computer terms in Chinese and at least three ways of writing "bicycle", depending on if you're in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or China. Ask people in China how to say "computer". They'll tell you, it's 计算机, which people in Hong Kong & Taiwan use to mean "calculator". People in Hong Kong and Taiwan use 電腦 for "computer" instead. People in China even adopted non-Mandarin terms, making it sound weird and very troublesome because the characters used are of a different dialect. 靚, mostly used in Cantonese, sometimes used in Taiwanese, and is now written as 靓, as the simplified form of 靚, where the Cantonese meaning of "beautiful" is used differently. 賣單, Cantonese, for "check please", used at Chinese restaurant as a sign to get the bill, is now used in China, and simplified as "卖单". BUT, in Mandarin, the word 卖, meaning to sell, sounds exactly the opposite in the original Cantonese, meaning "to buy", so that's why I always oppose the Mainlander's usage of it!

    With the fact 2, the fact 1 is the direct result of fact 2. The reduction of illiterate rate is wholly caused by the increased school attending rate, and it has nothing to do with the simplified Chinese character system.

    It's not a fact. It's a lie.

    Fact 3 --- Taiwan uses traditional system and has lower illiterate rate than China now (2011).

    Yes they are. Because with Traditional Chinese writing you can trace the composition of the character back to it's original or at least up until the Middle Chinese period [between the Sui and the Ming periods: between the years 581-1368 CE] to see the original meaning. Example: 软, can't be trace further with Simplified characters. But with Traditional Chinese you can, somewhat. 软, derived from 軟, was a variant form of 輭. 輭 = 車[vehicle; coach, cart]+而[originally, the picture of a man's beard: a man's beard in ancient China was very long: therefore the meaning of long could be used for 而]+大[a person lying flat on the ground, with arms and legs spread out: relaxing. So, 大, not just mean "big; great", but also "relaxed person"]. 輭 , then means "a vehicle or coach for which a person can relax in, with enough room inside for a lot of things".

    Source(s): I'm Chinese.
  • 9 years ago

    I personally haven't seen any proof. The intent of using simplified was to increase literacy, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The best thing to combat illiteracy is to educate people, I don't think whether or not the characters are slightly easier makes a difference because educated people will be able to learn either system.

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