Should traditional Chinese charaters be used as major media --- An aproach to clear up some myths about Chinese character system
Not so long ago, I went to a website and argue should we take the U.N. as a good index for Chinese usage. I mean if we do agree that U.N. officials have better taste upon the culture issue, why don’t we just let the U.N. choose Chinese character system for us, no matter the result is the traditional one or the simplified one. However I was remind kindly by some one that the U.N. can’t decide upon this issue since the P.R.O.C. is in the U.N. now. I thanked the friend but still don’t think this issue is that political to me. I use Chinese not because I am a Taiwanese, an overseas Chinese or not because I am a Hanish. I use it because I think it is a tool to talk about Red Mansion Dream (or A Stone’s story as somebody call it), to read Tong poetry and to keep some personal diary.
I think traditional Chinese character is a very good tool to read ancient articles. It is almost the same as the system 2000 years ago. Maybe some one would say that it is not easy to write. I admit we do take longer time to write TC (I will use this abbreviation below.), it takes shorter time for readers. If you consider the computer process issue, the input time should be as short as the simplified Chinese (I will use SC as the abbreviation for simplified Chinese.) Also we should not forget the complicity issue. If you think fewer English vocabularies are better, it may be not. While we use less words to express a complicated word, we need more time to guess what on earth the speaker want to say. The possible meaning becomes a larger range than it was using more vocabularies. SC do not have as much as words as TC, so the user have to use one word for more meaning, this make the meaning of a word more obsecue.
If the TC should be the main communication media, then does it mean we should all learn to write in TC? I think while it is a main media, of course we all need to learn how to read. It is not necessary to write for every one. I think if one can only read TC but choose SC to express his ideas, he just takes a risk not be understood by some people but still can keep it as a personal log. For a very long time we think langage is for communication, but it is more a tool to think and to remind oneself. SC could be used to communicate in a small group or personal writing.
Then it seems us that language can’t be simplified. I think that is another issue. If we want to simplified a system because the system is too complicated to use, than we might find a solution. But if we simplified it because we prefer a simplified version, than we are risking that we might make the system unusable. I mean while we try to take out the delicate factors from one system, we also take the content out of it. What we have would be an empty structure. Thinking that I take away air condition and a radio out of a car, I get a very boring car. It is not complicated that make a car hard to drive, only redundent equipment make a car can not be driven.
Therefore as long as traditional Chinese can express the ideas I want to, I do not think the complicacy is a problem. I would like to say simplified Chinese is a good tool to use while the reader is also the writer. When it comes to communication, accuracy is more considered than simplicity in a system.