Introduction After the Opium War of 1840, and especially the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, there started in China the Language Reform Movement, with the aim of modernizing the Chinese language, both spoken and written. After the revolution of 1911, the early Beijing Government of the Republic of China promoted the national language (Guoyu), changed the classical style of writing to the vernacular style, and adopted in 1918 the soundnotating alphabet in character form (Zhuyin Zimu). In 1928 the National Government in Nanjing published the National Language Romanization (Guoyu Romazi). In 1958 the People's Republic of China decreed that the Language Reform Movement should comprise three present-day tasks: (1) to simplify the Chinese characters; (2) to popularize Putonghua [common speech]; and (3) to work out and promote the revised Chinese romanization called Hanyu Pinyin Fang'an (or simply Pinyin).1 Language reform has long been a subject of dispute. Even the vernacular movement of the Chinese Renaissance, which grew in prominence after May 4, 1919, is still questioned by certain scholars in and outside of China. Simplification of Chinese characters and romanization fanned even hotter disputes. Such disputes are useful, for they can improve and push forward the reform, making it
International Journal of the Sociology of Language – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1986
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