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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Media: NYT: Arts: Chinese writing

Submitter: Karen Chung

Submitter Email: karchung@ntu.edu.tw
Media Body: The Arts section of the May 3, 2003 online edition of the New York
Times has the following article:

Writing as a Block for Asians
By Emily Eakin

The first two paragraphs:

Western theories about Chinese writing have often been tainted by
ignorance and prejudice, oscillating between wide-eyed veneration and
smug disdain.

Though he could not read Chinese, Leibniz, for example, held it in
high repute, dreaming of a universal script ¡X intelligible to
speakers of all languages ¡X modeled on Chinese characters. By
contrast, Hegel dismissed Chinese "hieroglyphics" as primitive. More
recently, Ezra Pound, a famous admirer and translator of Chinese
poetry, helped spread the still-popular misconception that Chinese
characters are simply "ideograms": visual symbols of things and ideas.

The URL:


Karen Steffen Chung

Issue Number: 14.1249
Date Posted: May 04, 2003

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