Welcome to the Web pages for

Writing and Literacy in Chinese, Korean and Japanese

A Book by

Insup Taylor and M. Martin Taylor (Amsterdam: John Benjamins)

This book is intended for anybody interested in the intertwined writing systems, histories, and cultures of three East Asian peoples with very different languages. The book is written to be both entertaining and accurate, so that although it can be used as a textbook, it should also be valuable to business people wanting to work in China, Korea, or Japan, as well as to anyone with a general interest in these countries and their literacy.

Here you can read about the book, or read one or more sample sections from each chapter. We hope that the samples are both interesting and informative. To get to the samples, you can click the links in this table. The samples are reproduced with permissi on from the publisher. Here is the publisher's book announcement. Here is a note about peculiarities of Korean transcription caused by the limited character set available in HTML .

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(Click links for detailed tables of contents and access to samples)

Chapter Titles

Chapter 1.

1. Introduction

Part I: Chinese

(Chapters 2 -10, pp 26-189)

China and Chinese 26

2. Spoken Chinese 28
3. Chinese Characters: Hanzi 43
4. Meaning Representation in Characters 62
5. Sound Representation by Characters 79
6. Logographic Characters vs Phonetic Scripts 87
7. Text Writing in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese 102
8. Reforming Spoken and Written Chinese 112
9. Learning Hanzi, Pinyin, and Putonghua 132
10. History of Education and Literacy in China 146
Summary and Conclusions 177
Bibliography for Part I 180

Part II: Korean

(Chapters 11-16, pp 190-287)

Korea and Koreans 190

11. Korean Language 192
12. Hancha: Chinese Characters 208
13. Han'gul: Alphabetic Syllabary 217
14. Learning Han'gul and Hancha 238
15. Why Should Hancha be Kept? 250
16. History of Education and Literacy in Korea 262
Summary and Conclusions 279
Bibliography for Part II 281

Part III: Japanese

(Chapters 17 - 24, pp 288-390)

Japan and Japanese 288

17. Japanese Language 290
18. Kanji: Chinese Characters 304
(a second sample from chapter 18 is here)
19. Kana: Japanese Syllabary 315
20. Roomaji: Roman Letters 324
21. Why Keep Kanji? 332
22. Learning Kanji and Kana 351
23. The Japanese Educational System 363
24. History of Mass Literacy in Japan 375
Summary and Conclusions 385
Bibliography for Part III 387
Postface 391  
Glossary 392  

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