Writing and Literacy in Chinese, Korean and Japanese

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Chinese, Japanese, South (and North) Koreans in East Asia have a long, intertwined and distinguished cultural history and have achieved, or are in the process of achieving, spectacular economic success. Together, these three peoples make up one quarter of the world population.

They use a variety of unique and fascinating writing systems: logographic Chinese characters of ancient origin, as well as phonetic systems of syllabaries and alphabets. The book describes, often in comparison with English, how the Chinese, Korean and Japanese writing systems originated and developed; how each relates to its spoken language; how it is learned or taught; how it can be computerized; and how it relates to the past and present literacy, education, and culture of its users.

Intimately familiar with the three East Asian cultures, Insup Taylor with the assistance of Martin Taylor, has written an accessible and highly readable book. Writing and Literacy in Chinese, Korean and Japanese is intended for academic readers (students in East Asian Studies, linguistics, education, psychology) as well as for the general public (parents, business, government). Readers of the book will learn about the interrelated cultural histories of China, Korea and Japan, but mainly about the various writing systems, some exotic, some familar, some simple, some complex, but all fascinating.

Subjects: Japanese linguistics; Writing and literacy; Sino-Tibetan languages

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Toronto

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