ERIC Number: ED258447
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-May
Reference Count: 0
Script Reforms--Are They Necessary?
Script reform, the modification of an existing writing system, is often confused with script replacement of one writing system with another. Turkish underwent the replacement of Arabic script by an adaptation of Roman script under Kamel Ataturk, but a similar replacement in Persian was rejected because of the high rate of existing literacy in Persian. An alphabetic script could not reproduce the historical, psychological, cultural, and representational significance of Chinese characters. Conventions of transcription vary from country to country and do not foster consistency in application of the Roman alphabet. Script reform, by contrast, includes partial changes involving (1) differences in letter or character shape, (2) alternatives to existing characters or letters, (3) fundamental alterations in the written system's typology, and (4) adaptations to a new writing medium. Script reform in Japanese involved a long process for the simplification of kanji use and the use of syllabaries. In Tamil, a syllabic script, reforms proposed by Beschi included application of European conventions of punctuation and word spacing, changes in the shape of vowel conjuncts, introducing a new shape to represent long vowels and make the distinction of long and short vowels clearer, and reintroduction of a dot placed over a consonant to represent a closed syllable or a geminate. However, additional reform suggestions have met with political controversy. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at a meeting of the Hong Kong Association of Applied Linguistics (May 1985).