Speaking what you read and writing what you speak

Joe Lo Bianco j.lobianco at unimelb.edu.au
Thu Nov 11 00:53:32 UTC 2004

I did send a reply to this message, but from a web account, and it bounced,
I copy it here:

Just a brief reply as I am travelling far from luxury of my computer,
Vietnamese Chu Nom was not like hiragana and katakana, it used full Chinese
characters, in doubled-up form, combining them to confound ruling elite,
were used mainly for folk literature, later for attempts at a nationalist
literature, and often deprecated by indigenous elite, who preferred
Chinese, and colonists, who preferred French, cheers,

At 06:45 AM 1/11/2004, you wrote:
>It was interesting to read your comments about the development of the
>Vietnamese writing system. You spoke about something called Chu Nom that
>was a written form  of Vietnamese using Chinese characters. Did this
>orthography (writing system) employ full Chinese characters or only their
>radical parts?  The modern Japanese syllabaries, hiragana and katakana,
>were derived from parts of Chinese characters. Apparently Japanese found
>it easier to create a phonological writing system than to reinvent the
>Chinese writing system to accommodate spoken Japanese.
>In Hong Kong it is not just a matter of being able to read, but not speak
>English, it is also a matter of writing and reading Mandarin, but only
>speaking Cantonese. Hong Kong youth are taught how to read and write
>Mandarin, but they pronounce what they read and write in Cantonese.
>Moreover, what they speak is grammatically different from what they write,
>but the same sounds are used for both reading and writing. This same
>tradition is carried over to their use of the English language. They often
>use Cantonese sounds to pronounce English words -- what Anthea has
>euphemistically referred to as a Hong Kong English accent.
>The Hong Kong government is now considering the extent to which they
>should introduce standard Mandarin as a spoken language in Hong Kong
>schools. More expense for an already strapped school educational budget
>that is already over investing in the
>English language.
>R. A. Stegemann
>EARTH's Manager and HKLNA-Project Director
>EARTH - East Asian Research and Translation in Hong Kong
>Tel/Fax: 852 2630 0349 </blockquote></x-html>

Joseph Lo Bianco

Professor of Language and Literacy Education
LLAE, Faculty of Education
The University of Melbourne
3010 VIC   Australia

Tel:    03 8344 8346
Fax:    03 8344 8612
Mob: 0407 798 978
Email: j.lobianco at unimelb.edu.au
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