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Yu Yan Wen Zi (Chinese)

(This article is the English translation of my another post 語言文字.)

Whenever we talk about China, we usually have some thoughts about "long history", "continous civilization" or so; we are proud of this undoubtedly. The main reason we say that Chinese civilization is continous compared to other antient civilizations is that the language never cut off.

 

From the Seal Script to Clerical Script and from Clerical Script to Regular Script, the historians tell us the scripts/glyphs (i.e. the written part of the Chinese language) linearly derives from the same origin; although the appearance differs a lot, the Oracle Bone Script (discovered in the 20th century) still shows the same thread. After the set up of the Regular Script, the biggest change is the so-called Simplified Chinese, but it still lies in Regular Script. This is what everyone knows: we even feel our ears have been grinded to emerge cocoon. However, intentionally or unintentionally, we seem to forget that "Yu Wen" (Chinese) is "Yu Yan" (vocal form) "Wen Zi" (written form) -- except for the written part, there is still the vocal part.

Yes, the change of vocal form is harder to record compared to the written form -- there are handwrittings, records and materials and it can be written or drawn; however it's almost impossible to record the voice during the era without phonograph. The ancestors tried best only to do transliteration/transcript and/or record analogue voices -- this may be the only pity of our logogram / logographic language. Luckily, the ancient pronunciation is not entirely buried under time: phonologists figuried out some methods to try to capture the original form of the ancient pronounciations -- by using books like 《廣韻》, with the 反切 notations accummulated during history (by ancient people), and rhythmic literals like poems. My understanding towards this direction only goes as far as here, but at least I capture one important message: there are patterns and threads in the pronunciation change.

This understanding facilitates my point of view towards the present standard Chinese (i.e. Mandarin). Like what I answered in the Zhihu question《为什么角色的角念jue,却仍有人念Jiao ?》:

Instead of the view of most people that "pronunciation is always changing so there is nothing to keep an eye on", my point of view is that "some pronunciations are acceptable (i.e. follows the evolution pattern), while some are not acceptable (i.e. violates the evolution pattern and does randomly)", and I believe that "the official standard should keep a balance".

The foundation of this point of view is that: language is the tool of communications, but it is not only for the communication of people within the same era, but also across the river of time. The best choice is, apparently, to satisfy both, but if not possible, try to satisfy as much as possible and choose the one which does less "harm". However, unfortunately, people / organizations tend to, for most cases, choose to satisfy the contemporary needs -- anyway who they deal with is the people of current era, not the ancestors or descendants.

Today, when I read an article titled 《说shuō客?坐骑qí?我怕是上了个假学!》 which (again) lists what the National Language Working Commission (I used its old name, Language Reform Commission, for a derogatory sense) does to the pronunciation standards, I feel both rejoice and helpless: the LRC is still what the LRC was -- brain-damaged and doing nothing useful.

What the LRC does mostly in recent years is changing the pronuncations of some characters in Mandarin. The goal is, with no exception, to "accord with the public understanding", which simply means "if a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth". This is, apparently, a method with no regards to the history, and I'm afraid it has little influence towards the communications between contenporary people. The self-learning ability of people is far better than what the bureaucrats in LRC imagine -- we can figure out and understand that two different pronunciations possibily refer to the same word, and we can "ask" even if we don't understand. If you argue that what the LRC does is to reduce the burden of students (especially those before college), this is the biggest joke of the world. There is also some (not a small portion of) people who don't possess the same pronunciation as the "standard" (because of dialect, mis-hearing, following the historical pronunciation, etc.), so there is always the need to teach about the "standard" in primary, secondary and high school; since there is the need to teach about the "standard", the effort is always needed, and time consumptions is always needed. It doesn't make any sense to consider whether there are more students or less students who need to work hard to memorize the standard (because this is not possible due to the variety).

That article specifically points out one case: some "standard" has changed from "follow the history evolution" to "accord with public" (set aside whether the sample is typical or not) and then back to "follow the history evolution". This demonstrates again that the LRC has no consensus about what the standard should be.

 

Of course, it seems that the article 《说shuō客?坐骑qí?我怕是上了个假学!》 possesses a ridicule attitude towards that "the public requires to keep the previous standard of the pronunciation" -- (I think) the author would either think that the pronunciation only needs to suit contemporary needs, or is just ridiculing habitually. First of all, the author seems to consider that we could only choose either to be completely unchanged or to change arbitrarily. Secondly, the author argues that the public's attitude towards pronunciation standard is "to support what fits my habit, to oppose what doesn't" -- this is shown from the fact that the author lists, for many times, how the public reacts to the "previous" change of pronunciation standard and even meaning and concludes that the public has no objection. Finally, the author seems to believe that people, i.e. the public, is only the (passive) acceptor of pronunciation standard change, and all what will be changed solely depends on the bureaucrats of LRC.

However, for all these three points, I beg to differ.

As stated previously, the choice of pronunciation should be a trade-off procedure, and it should "try to satisfy as much as possible and choose the one which does less 'harm'". The crucial point is neither to consider to change or not to change, nor to consider whom to listen to -- it is to find the balance between history (both retrospective and prospective) and contemporary era. Still, as stated above, whichever the standard is won't make a significant impact of the current era, so I believe history shoule be placed extra emphasis on. The reaction (of standard change) of contenporaries is foreseeable: some (but will never be "most", as long as the change is reasonable) people will oppose. Therefore, why doesn't the people who make the standard issue the reason at the same time? People are not idiots and we can reason about things. As long as the change is reasonable, most people will agree.

The author seems to be unaware that in some parts of the WWW, many people are discovering and researching about the original meaning of words and proper pronunciation of characters, and they spontaneously sum up the law and keep telling other people what these things should be like. Maybe the author considers the number of these people is too few, but what I saw is that the number is increasing and more and more people accepted the dissemination of the "proper". Possibily because this process moisturizes things in silence, the author may, probably, have already seen the outcomes of it, but was unaware where this came from.

Then, for the people who makes the standard, LRC as mentioned, I will sneer at them as always. If they agreed with the people's republic, instead of being sinecures, LRC should be cautious and conscientious, seek for balance between now and history, and detail that to people; if they were composed of the scholar-officials (like in the antient time), LRC should insist on the history, rather than changing back and force. Whichever form they were supposed to be, LRC didn't do the right thing, so they ought to accept my ridicule. And either in the ancient time or in mordern time, either in the East or the West, the government is supposed to listen to or be operated by the people. Now the fact that some departments of the government doesn't perform in accordance is not the reason we agree with them -- on the contrary, this is the reason that we should work harder to point out and combat.

語言文字

每當我們提到中國,不可避免地總會想到“歷史悠久”、“文明傳承”這類的辭彙,並且我們也毫無疑問地以此自豪。而相比其他“文明”,華夏文明之所以稱自己爲唯一的未曾斷絕的文明古國,乃是因爲語言文字並未斷流。

從篆書到隸書、從隸書到楷書,史家告訴我們文字的演變一脈相承;二十世紀發現甲骨文,雖形態不同但仍可見其脈絡。楷書確立以後,後世最大的變化也就只是將兩千漢字進行簡化,但仍是楷書形魄。這是我們所知的內容,也是大家耳熟能詳甚至感慨耳朵磨出繭子的事實。但有意無意地,我們似乎忘記了語文乃是“語言文字”——除了文字(形),還有語言(音)。

的確,語言本身的變化遠比文字變化難以描述——文字有記載、有實物、可以被書寫繪畫,但在沒有留聲機的年代幾乎無法記錄語音。先民竭盡所能,也僅是使用轉寫、擬音的方式部分描繪語音變革——這算是我們的表意文字的唯一遺憾了吧。所幸,古代語音並非完全被埋沒於時光之中,音韻學家仍然找到方法去嘗試還原古音的面目——通過《廣韻》等著作,加之歷代反切註音,外加詩詞歌賦等韻文。我對該方面的粗淺瞭解到此爲止,不過至少我抓住了其中一個重要信息:語音演變也有脈絡可循。

該認知促成了我對當代標準漢語(普通話)語音規定的認知。就如我在知乎問題《为什么角色的角念jue,却仍有人念Jiao ?》下的回答所說:

和大多數人會稀泥似地認爲“語言是在變化的所以你不應該糾結”不同,我的看法是“有的讀音是可以接受的(符合演變規律的),有的讀音是不可以接受的(不符合演變規律胡來的)”,並且認爲“官方標準應該儘量取中道”。

該認知的基礎認知是:語言文字是交流的工具,但不只是同代之人交流的工具,也是歷史長河中前人和後人交流的工具。最優的選擇顯然是兩者兼顧,如果不能則在儘量兼顧的基礎上選擇“危害”更小的那個。但不幸的是多數情況下人們/機構們會優先選擇照顧前者——畢竟他們“認識”和“打交道”的都是同代之人,而非歷史上的先人或後人。

而今日看到一篇題爲《说shuō客?坐骑qí?我怕是上了个假学!》的文章,(再次)歷數語改委在語音標準上幹的事情,讓我既是慶幸又是無奈:語改委還是當年那個語改委——腦殘、吃乾飯。

近些年語改委做得最多的就是修改普通話文字讀音,而修改目的幾乎無一例外都是爲了“符合大衆認知”,換句話說就是“讀得錯了的多了也就成了對的”。這是典型的不顧歷史的做法,而且其對當代人交流的作用恐怕也極爲有限。人民的自我學習能力遠比語改委那幫老爺們想像得要強——我們可以理解、認知其他人和我們的不同讀音所指的是同一辭彙,就算不理解也可以去“詢問”。而如果說這是爲了在教育中減負,那就更是滑天下之大稽了。始終會有(不小的一部分)人和“標準”的讀音不同(不論是由於方言、誤聽、遵循歷史沿革還是什麼),所以始終需要在中小學教育中普及“標準”。既然需要普及“標準”,那麼這份努力始終需要,故而這些時間始終需要花費。在這件事上,考慮“有較多學生需要着重記憶標準”還是“有較少學生需要着重記憶標準”並沒有什麼意義。

該文中還特別點出了一件事:部分“標準”曾經由“符合歷史”改爲“符合多數當代人認知”(且不提樣本是否具有代表性)又改爲“符合歷史”。這件事更是顯示了語改委對該定義什麼樣的標準沒有自己的認知。

當然,看起來,《说shuō客?坐骑qí?我怕是上了个假学!》對“大衆要求這些字的語音標準照舊”這件事持淡淡的嘲諷態度——其作者要麼是認爲“(語音標準)只需要符合當代人需求就好”,要麼僅僅是習慣性嘲諷。首先作者似乎認爲只能在“完全不要變”和“隨便變”之間選擇一種。其次,作者看來,人民對於語音標準變化的態度大抵是“符合我的習慣的我就支持,不符合的我就反對”——這從作者列舉了數次“之前的”語音乃至語義改變,並說人們對此沒有意見可見一斑。最後,作者似乎是認爲人民對語音標準這件事只是被動的接受者,而一切變化全部取決於語改委的老爺。

然而這三點,恕我無法苟同。

如前文所述,語音的選擇應該是一個權衡的過程,要“在儘量兼顧的基礎上選擇‘危害’更小的那個”。其核心不是考慮“變”還是“不變”,也不是考慮“聽哪個人的”,而是考慮歷史和當下的平衡。而如上文所述,其實無論標準是什麼,對當下的影響都微乎其微,所以我認爲應該側重歷史。而當下對標準修改的反應是可以預期的:部分(是的,始終都只有部分)人會反對。那麼,爲什麼標準制定者不可以在頒佈標準的同時頒佈理由呢?人民不是傻瓜,只要說得在理,絕大多數人是會聽從的。

作者似乎並不知道,在萬維網的一些區域,許多人在不斷重新發掘詞的原始意義、字的合理讀音,並自發地總結其中規律並形成系統,且不斷告訴其他人這些東西本該是什麼樣。作者或許是認爲這些人太少,但我看到的卻是這些人越來越多,而且越來越多的人接受了對於“正確”的普及。只不過由於這種變化太過潤物細無聲,作者或許已經見過其結論,但並沒有意識到其來自於何處。

而對於標準制定者,也就是語改委,我一如既往地對其進行嘲諷。如果認同人民共和國,那麼語改委應該兢兢業業堅持尋求當代與歷史的平衡,並且向人民說明,而不是像現在這樣尸位素餐;如果是古代的士人成館,那麼語改委應該堅持先王之道,而非數易其化。無論是哪種,語改委都沒有做正確的事情,所以受這一聲嘲諷並無不妥。而無論是古代還是現代,無論是東方還是西方,政府始終是應當聆聽乃至受命於人民的。現在的部分部門不這樣做,不是我們應該認可他們行爲的理由——恰恰相反,這是我們應該更努力指出並反對的理由。

被簡化打亂之字

漢字的獨特美麗,有一部分便來自其相互關聯。相互關聯中也攜帶着歷史信息,讓今人也可體會先古之人。

然而簡化字粗糙拙劣,不論是故意還是無意,都將許多原本相關的字打散,或讓許多原本無關(或關係不大)的字貌似成爲一組。這導致這重效用減弱不說,還增加了識字難度。

此順已之意,總結常見字中那些因簡化而打散或亂組的字。(衹說明被修改的字,未被修改的如有必要方進行解釋)

  1. 漢 嘆 難
  2. 歡 灌 獾
  3. 雞 奚 溪
  4. 戲 嚱
  5. 鄧 登
  6. 轟 聶 矗 品

    上六歸爲“又”,屬簡化字中最爲龐大的“‘又’字家族”;五之後二字爲類字

  7. 燈 鄧 登 瞪 凳

    上有歸爲“丁”,有歸爲“又”,有不變

  8. 還 環 寰
  9. 壞 懷

    上二歸爲“不”

  10. 熱 勢 藝 陸

    上有歸爲提手旁,有下半歸爲“乙”,有歸爲簡化的“擊”

  11. 執 報 幸

    上歸爲提手旁

  12. 執 報 熱 勢

    上不同歸爲相同(提手旁)

  13. 隋 隨 髓 橢

    上部分“左”完整,部分被殘

  14. 孫 系

    上歸爲“小”

  15. 獵 臘 鬣

    上歸爲“昔”

  16. 應 膺 鷹

    上有殘,有不變

  17. 適 謫 嫡
  18. 辭 亂

    上二歸爲“舌”

  19. 雨 雲 雷 電 霞

    上有去“雨”,有不去

  20. 種 鍾 重
  21. 鐘 童

    上二歸爲“中”
    另,大陸簡化字表後來又加上“鍾”(金字旁被修改),但僅限姓氏,以爲區別

  22. 盤 般

    上歸入“舟”

  23. 優 憂

    上歸爲“尤”(憂取“懮”)

  24. 專 傳 團

    上同部有簡化,有併入他字(寸)

  25. 價 贾
  26. 階 皆 諧

    上二歸爲“介”

  27. 戶 所

    上與“戶”有關,有改者有不改者
    另,“启”“啓”本異字,“启”與“戶”相關,“啓”引其音

  28. 關 開 門 問

    上有去“門”,有不去
    另“關”“聯”皆轉

  29. 鬥 鬧

    上有轉爲“門”者,有併入“斗”者。

  30. 雋 巂 攜

    上有變,有不變

  31. 臺 薹
  32. 台 怡 詒

    上二有併入“台”(yi2),有不併

  33. 蔔 匐

    上有併入“卜”,有不變

  34. 僕 樸 撲 璞 濮

    上有轉爲“卜”,有不轉

  35. 樸 朴

    上本爲不同字,因轉寫被合併

  36. 興 譽 學 覺

    上不同者轉爲相同

  37. 與 譽 舉

    上相同轉爲不同

  38. 撐 牚

    上有歸入“掌”,有不變

  39. 幾 畿

    上有併入“几”,有不變

  40. 纔 讒 巉

    上有併入“才”,有不變

  41. 穀 轂

    上有併入“谷”,有不變

  42. 擊 繫

    上相同轉爲不同

如諸君有補充或意見,盡請提出。因見評論而補充的,我會加上出處及評論者名(暱稱)。若不意被加入正文,請綴以告知。

本文遵循知识共享许可协议,轉載請註明作者及出處。

議漢字簡繁時常見誤區

本文意在總結人們在討論簡繁漢字問題時常見的一些誤區。並不一定每個人都會有這些誤區,而有誤區的人也未必就有全部。但我相信,不論對哪一方來說,本文均有益處。

 

  1. 以爲簡繁之分衹是字體之分。

    這個可以說是最常見的誤區了。然而很不幸,課本還在不斷散播這個誤區,導致愈來愈多的人這樣想。甚至有人妄圖用計算機字體來進行簡繁轉換,實在滑天下之大稽。
    先來說說什麼是“字體”。字體,簡單的理解就是一個字的不同寫法,在這些寫法之下都是這個字。
    例如王羲之寫的是某個字,柳公權寫的也是某個字,我們在研究的時候會將它們看作同一個字,並有唯一的“正字”用來標識。
    然而,簡化字卻並非如此。它會粗暴地將原本不同的幾個字合併成一個字,也會將一個字分散成多個字。參見https://code.google.com/p/open-chinese-convert/source/browse/data/scheme/st_multi.txt
    簡繁並不是“一對一”的關係,所以不是字體的區別。

  2. 混淆簡繁之分和地域用語之分。

    這是第二常見的誤區。此誤區甚常出現,例如維基百科的一些頁面
    這個問題常見於民國退至臺灣後,共和國和民國各自對西方的新用語所進行的翻譯。以計算機術語爲例:

    • 英文名稱:bus interface server
    • 大陸翻譯:总线 界面/接口 服务器
    • 臺灣翻譯:匯流排 介面 伺服器

    不論翻譯如何,得到的均衹是漢語文的叫法,你可以把大陸的翻譯寫成傳統漢字/繁體字(總線 界面/接口 服務器),也可以將臺灣的翻譯寫成簡化字(汇流排 介面 伺服器)。
    本問題很好理解,而理解之後也就明白區別在哪了,自然便能用對。衹是許多人囿於“習慣”而不願意改口。

  3. 混淆簡繁之分和正異體之分。

    這個問題許多人並沒有意識到,然而內心中確實有此想法。
    一個簡單的例子就是:爲和為。這兩個字都是“繁體字”,但它們互相爲“異體字”。本概念可參考這篇文章

  4. 以“不方便記筆記”爲由反對恢復傳統漢字。

    該問題見於絕大多數簡化字使用者。究其原因,還是文字教育工作的不完善。
    絕大多數簡化字使用者無論是在何時何地,均是一套字走到底,最多在潦草和工整上進行略微取捨。
    而傳統漢字教育中應當有一環即是減筆字。不同人的習慣不同,所以每人習慣的減筆字也不盡相同。且不會有人去試圖統一減筆字,因爲大家都知道這衹是速記符號,給他人看的都是整理之後的正字。
    某見到的大多數傳統漢字/繁體字使用者,均是如此:知道什麼時候要用正字,什麼時候不一定要用正字;知道正字如何寫,也知道如何速寫。
    例如某自己的筆記中,便是減筆字和英文縮寫混雜,字跡潦草,他人難以辨識。