提笔忘字

Wired youth forget how to write in China and Japan

Like every Chinese child, Li Hanwei spent her schooldays memorising thousands of the intricate characters that make up the Chinese writing system.

(Via Ouija’s Beijing Zeal)

As Ouija stated, during my high school Chinese years Zhou Laoshi was a longtime proponent of this trend. We never had dictations, instead focusing on character recognition and pronunciation. I am sure that this is why my speaking and listening, and to an extent my reading ,is so much better than my writing. In my time in Beijing I have seen several of my friends, most of them Chinese teachers, forget how to write characters. I’ve even had the embarrassing (for them) pleasure of correcting their characters, though I must admit this is a pretty rare occurrence. Still, it is disheartening when you have to correct your teacher’s characters, as much for the students as for the teacher. I’m curious as to how this phenomenon evolves. I do not think that written Chinese will be replaced by an ‘alphabet’ or anything like that, but I definitely see a degradation in the knowledge base of written characters for people my age versus people of older generations. Ah well, as long as the waiters don’t forget how to write my orders down correctly, I’m okay with it.

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