Monday, December 28, 2009

Taiwan to seek World Heritage status for Traditional Chinese characters

Taiwan plans to apply for World Heritage status for traditional Chinese characters, which have existed in this form since at least the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), when the kai shu 楷書 script was most fully developed -- nearly 1,500 years ago. It remains the "standard script" used today and serves as the model for printed type.

"In order to preserve the world's oldest and most beautiful language [為了保存世界上最優美、歷史最悠久的文字], I have entrusted [Taiwanese cabinet minister] Ovid Tzeng to prepare to make an application," President Ma Ying-jeou said December 26, at an international seminar on teaching Chinese.

Though Communist China abandoned Traditional characters in the 1950s, opting for a pared-down, simplified version, they continue to be used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and by Overseas Chinese communities around the world. (Ma cited estimates of some 40 million users of the standard script.)

Original source here and
additional coverage from AFP "
Taiwan's Ma fights for traditional Chinese characters". More info about kaishu at Brittanica and Wikipedia.

Also some Chinese language coverage (just grabbed some of the first links on Google News in order to see Ma's comments in Chinese):


You know, I think I might start using the terminology "正體" i.e. standard characters instead of "繁體" or complex characters. =D

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