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Old 07-14-2009, 11:35 AM   #31
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They probably won't be sold outside of China (unless via sites like ebay), due to copyright infringements, but China won't care much about that.
How does copyright apply to a physical device, or did you mean patent and/or trademark?
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:48 PM   #32
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Is a patent only for a physical device? I didn't know that. But because it's only marketed in the US, I doubt they have a Chinese patent, which means it's not illegal to rip it off there.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:58 PM   #33
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1.)Regarding the input systems: many Chinese prefer the stroke based system WuBi to the sound based PinYin. Of course, most Chinese words as they are being used are 2 syllables (and thus 2 characters) but each character (except 呢,阿,喔, etc which are just sound bites) is a word in itself with a meaning. I was just giving some simple explanations without going into much detail, since somebody asked. It would be possible to just use PinYin with tone indicators (as demonstrated by Vietnamese, a closely related language that is written in a latin alphabet these days with a few special characters), but a lot of meaning would be lost this way as so many words sound the same. There are dozens of meanings for ji in the first tone alone, each represented by a different character.
Hi Hans, good to see another person in TW!
I've found that WuBi is common, as well as Cangjie for direct radical input in professional settings, or for typesetting literary text that is not conventional use. However, a huge portion of the younger generation in Taiwan use Zhuyin Fuhao, and in China many younger folks use Hanyu Pinyin for most regular typing. There's an integrated dictionary in most IME systems so that character combinations and context reduce the amount of scrolling through character choices. Phonetic systems aren't the most efficient way to type individual characters or characters of lower frequency...but for general communication, many people prefer it.

Sadly, the only folks in Taiwan who use HP are foreigners (self included when not using Cangjie). Infuriating actually when using Linux, since SCIM/Chewing support for Traditional Chinese in Hanyu Pinyin is a bit rubbish (simplified isn't too bad, since it's dictionary-linked IIRC).
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:29 AM   #34
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Hi Hans, good to see another person in TW!
I've found that WuBi is common, as well as Cangjie for direct radical input in professional settings, or for typesetting literary text that is not conventional use. However, a huge portion of the younger generation in Taiwan use Zhuyin Fuhao, and in China many younger folks use Hanyu Pinyin for most regular typing. There's an integrated dictionary in most IME systems so that character combinations and context reduce the amount of scrolling through character choices. Phonetic systems aren't the most efficient way to type individual characters or characters of lower frequency...but for general communication, many people prefer it.

Sadly, the only folks in Taiwan who use HP are foreigners (self included when not using Cangjie). Infuriating actually when using Linux, since SCIM/Chewing support for Traditional Chinese in Hanyu Pinyin is a bit rubbish (simplified isn't too bad, since it's dictionary-linked IIRC).
I have been in Taiwan for over 20 years. But I travel to China and Vietnam every month. For a foreigner a phonetic based system is, of course, the easiest to learn. I, personally, prefer Eten ZhuYin (sort of a mixture between bopomofo and PinYin) because you need fewer keystrokes. It is true that a lot of young people use ZhuYin (in Taiwan) but most I have met in China (those that took courses, not the once that learned it in the internet cafes by themselves) have learned Wubi. And I believe someone who knows WuBi or ChangJie will be faster (though word suggestion features in PinYin are getting better and make up for that) than with phonetic input. On my phones, however, I use PinYin based systems. I use Windows and Windows mobile, dabbled in Unix only for playing around with the Asterisk system a few years ago.

Anyway, if you search around on the web you can find any kind of input system for any kind of operating system. I found, for example, WuBi for Traditional Chinese windows.

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Old 07-15-2009, 11:12 AM   #35
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China's ability to produce indistinguishable replicas of any moment’s must-have gadget is legendary. Hence it was only a matter of time before we would see the first Kindle look-alike coming from the Far East country. Tech-On is reporting that Founder Group, a major Chinese technology conglomerate, has demonstrated an e-book reader that looks very much like our beloved Kindle 2.



It will be interesting to see how Amazon is going to react to this development. Remember, the company has been awarded a patent that protects the look and feel of the Kindle shell.

The Chinese e-book reader, which name we assume is WeFound, is said to be released in China by the end of this year at a price of around $210. It will also come with a SIM card allowing the user to directly download e-books from an e-book portal.

Thanks to eagle-eyed MobileReader lee1234 for the tip!
Now, I'm almost certain that this is a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. What is the point of having an English keyboard on a product being marketed to a Chinese speaking (and reading) community??

I mean, I know they plan to gray market them over here, but with all the Chinese characters on the screen, and on the marketing information on the booth, wouldn't you think they'd have a Chinese keyboard of some kind?? Or does everyone over there know how to read and write Chinese using the English style keyboard?

Yeah, I know .... stupid question. The answer is obvious. I just don't happen to be able to see it.

And .... looking back over other posts to this thread, the answer is obvious and the question stupid ... but really (?) everyone writes or types rather Chinese characters using the English keyboard?? I give up .... those people are scary smart!

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Old 07-15-2009, 01:10 PM   #36
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And .... looking back over other posts to this thread, the answer is obvious and the question stupid ... but really (?) everyone writes or types rather Chinese characters using the English keyboard?? I give up .... those people are scary smart!
Keyboards are not innately ENGLISH, but based on the Roman alphabet, which is shared by many languages. In the 20th Century (and in some places much earlier!), many non-Roman languages developed "Romanization" systems that would allow rendering in foreign languages more readily. Japanese have various incarnations of Romaji, and Chinese have various incarnations of Luoma Pinyin. In the former's case, there are also phonetic alphabet systems (katakana and hiragana), and the latter developed a system that wasn't very dissimilar (zhuyin fuhao).

However, remember that keyboards can be mapped to a variety of different modes of input. In English, I sometimes swap between the classic QWERTY arrangement and a more efficient Dvorak layout. The keyboard press is simply an electronic pulse, with its value interpreted by the computer software.

Anyway, the Chinese have a couple other systems that are a bit more formal, involving the components that make each Chinese character (called radicals). Chinese characters generally aren't really pictures...they're just combinations of radicals written with a stroke order. You can take parts of those radicals and map them to a keyboard and "assemble" characters in Chinese input systems without having to even be able to pronounce the word you're typing. That's what is done in Chinese, in a nutshell. Handy since the characters themselves don't present a clear pronunciation, and it would be hard to phonetically type a character you don't know the sound of. Trying to do so would be almost as futile as understanding YouTube video comments.

Not so much a matter of "smart" as it is a natural use of the technology. Cyrillic, Arabic, all sorts of languages have keyboard mappings and software to help input their language with reasonable efficiency.

"Smart" would be managing a way to hack an old 1920s English typewriter to handle thousands of Chinese characters.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:23 PM   #37
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Keyboards are not innately ENGLISH, but based on the Roman alphabet, which is shared by many languages. In the 20th Century (and in some places much earlier!), many non-Roman languages developed "Romanization" systems that would allow rendering in foreign languages more readily. Japanese have various incarnations of Romaji, and Chinese have various incarnations of Luoma Pinyin. In the former's case, there are also phonetic alphabet systems (katakana and hiragana), and the latter developed a system that wasn't very dissimilar (zhuyin fuhao).

However, remember that keyboards can be mapped to a variety of different modes of input. In English, I sometimes swap between the classic QWERTY arrangement and a more efficient Dvorak layout. The keyboard press is simply an electronic pulse, with its value interpreted by the computer software.

Anyway, the Chinese have a couple other systems that are a bit more formal, involving the components that make each Chinese character (called radicals). Chinese characters generally aren't really pictures...they're just combinations of radicals written with a stroke order. You can take parts of those radicals and map them to a keyboard and "assemble" characters in Chinese input systems without having to even be able to pronounce the word you're typing. That's what is done in Chinese, in a nutshell. Handy since the characters themselves don't present a clear pronunciation, and it would be hard to phonetically type a character you don't know the sound of. Trying to do so would be almost as futile as understanding YouTube video comments.

Not so much a matter of "smart" as it is a natural use of the technology. Cyrillic, Arabic, all sorts of languages have keyboard mappings and software to help input their language with reasonable efficiency.

"Smart" would be managing a way to hack an old 1920s English typewriter to handle thousands of Chinese characters.
Duh, I know that the keyboard is not "English" however, the QWERTY keyboard was developed based on typing English (to slow the typist down actually) and therefore I call it an English keyboard.

It certainly wasn't developed with Chinese in mind.

And, yes, having built several computers, I understand that they keyboard is simply something which provides an electronic pulse. The QWERTY keyboard was specifically developed for the manual typewriter in order to slow the typist down so that they would not jam the keys.

And, much of the alphabet actually comes from the Greek - not the Roman, who took much of their alphabet from the Greek. That's why they call it an alphabet (alpha, beta ....).

Further, having lived in China, I do know that Chinese is not merely pictograms. Neither was ancient Egyptian, which is why the Rosetta Stone came in so handy.

However, from my point of view, it would be a bitch to have to learn Chinese Characters and then also learn several other forms of characters, as well as the Greco-Roman alphabet so that you could use a QWERTY keyboard.

I still think that is pretty damn remarkable. I certainly wouldn't want to have to learn to use a keyboard that had foreign symbols on it .... even understanding that I no longer look at my keyboard while I type, and as long as my fingers start out at the right place, the silly thing could be entirely blank and it wouldn't make any difference to me.

It would if I was a hunt and peck typist, but I'm not.

I said it was a stupid question, I didn't say that I was as stupid as you seem to think I am.

Oh, and right back at you. Now, where did I leave my ignore list??

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Old 07-15-2009, 02:23 PM   #38
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How does copyright apply to a physical device, or did you mean patent and/or trademark?
Patent is indeed what I meant.
A device like that might have infringement in the USA.
They did the same thing with many other products, sold there, and only could be gotten via import (or purchase of the few sites that shipped those items to Europe/USA).

I highly doubt a product like that will find it's way in our regular Walmart or so.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:33 PM   #39
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Duh, I know that the keyboard is not "English" however, the QWERTY keyboard was developed based on typing English (to slow the typist down actually) and therefore I call it an English keyboard.

It certainly wasn't developed with Chinese in mind.

Further, having lived in China, I do know that Chinese is not merely pictograms. Neither was ancient Egyptian, which is why the Rosetta Stone came in so handy.

However, from my point of view, it would be a bitch to have to learn Chinese Characters and then also learn several other forms of characters, as well as the Greco-Roman alphabet so that you could use a QWERTY keyboard.

I still think that is pretty damn remarkable. I certainly wouldn't want to have to learn to use a keyboard that had foreign symbols on it .... even understanding that I no longer look at my keyboard while I type, and as long as my fingers start out at the right place, the silly thing could be entirely blank and it wouldn't make any difference to me.
I know what you mean about it seeming strange that they use ABC's to make Chinese characters. However, the alphabet is not really that strange to them because most people educated in China in the last 20ish years (it's been part of the official curriculum since 1950, but i don't know how faithfully this was implemented before 1980) learn the alphabet as part of Chinese phonetics. Also, education in English language begins in junior high officially, although I have seen children who are beginning to learn some basic English words as early as preschool. So it's not as strange for them to use the alphabet as it is for the average American using foreign characters.

I think Chinese did begin as pictographs, but that was a loooong time ago and there's not much relationship anymore. *I* make them into pictures because it helps me remember, and it drives my (Chinese) husband crazy.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:37 PM   #40
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Patent is indeed what I meant.
A device like that might have infringement in the USA.
They did the same thing with many other products, sold there, and only could be gotten via import (or purchase of the few sites that shipped those items to Europe/USA).

I highly doubt a product like that will find it's way in our regular Walmart or so.
I agree we won't be able to buy anything like this at Wal-Mart. Kindle probably can't enforce their patent abroad, but they could certainly block something like this from being imported.
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:02 PM   #41
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I know what you mean about it seeming strange that they use ABC's to make Chinese characters. However, the alphabet is not really that strange to them because most people educated in China in the last 20ish years (it's been part of the official curriculum since 1950, but i don't know how faithfully this was implemented before 1980) learn the alphabet as part of Chinese phonetics. Also, education in English language begins in junior high officially, although I have seen children who are beginning to learn some basic English words as early as preschool. So it's not as strange for them to use the alphabet as it is for the average American using foreign characters.

I think Chinese did begin as pictographs, but that was a loooong time ago and there's not much relationship anymore. *I* make them into pictures because it helps me remember, and it drives my (Chinese) husband crazy.
Yes, I remember reading articles on Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Chinese Characters and how they both started very early on as pictographs, but then evolved as a combination of pictographs and phonetic symbols. Very interesting, and very beautiful, but the downside is that there are so damn many characters to learn.

I was in China from 1954 to 1956, and while I was reading English by then, I don't recall anyone teaching me any more than a tiny bit of Chinese, and I don't think I was ever challenged to read in Chinese.

Of course, I tend the think of the standard IBM style keyboard as "English" because I have seen Spanish keyboards, German keyboards, French keyboards, all of which use the Greco-Roman alphabet, but which provide for those special characters, such as umlauts and accents, that you could only create otherwise by either remapping the English keyboard or playing the old ASCII character number game (which I had to be pretty good at while in law school .... special characters for freaking everything in the damn law). Mind you, that was before they enabled special characters in pretty much every program.

I've still got a piece of Chinese calligraphy that was made for me by my Ama's husband. It's the character for "Dragon" that he gave me because I was born in the year of the Dragon. Supposedly that means I am very lucky. Someone should tell the Chinese astrology people that I am anything but.
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:20 PM   #42
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I know what you mean about it seeming strange that they use ABC's to make Chinese characters. However, the alphabet is not really that strange to them because most people educated in China in the last 20ish years (it's been part of the official curriculum since 1950, but i don't know how faithfully this was implemented before 1980) learn the alphabet as part of Chinese phonetics. Also, education in English language begins in junior high officially, although I have seen children who are beginning to learn some basic English words as early as preschool. So it's not as strange for them to use the alphabet as it is for the average American using foreign characters.
My keyboard looks like this:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...raditional.png

They aren't exactly thinking in ABCs when they type in Chinese. Few people do, unless they are using a Romanized input method.
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:21 PM   #43
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Oooh, you're a dragon! That's the best one. Maybe all your luck is being stored up for something big!

Yes, Chinese is an incredibly hard language. There's so much memorization involved: how to make the strokes and what order they go in for each character (very important!), how to pronounce it, the tone, and the meaning, of course.

Actually my husband tells me, at least among the people he knows, an interesting phenomenon is occurring. They study until high school and even into college to memorize how to write characters. But since he's graduated high school, he rarely writes things out by hand. With texting and computers there's not that many things done on paper anymore, and he has to think about how to write less-used characters. I think this is an interesting phenomenon of the digital age, and I have wondered if, in the next 50 years China will cease teaching the writing of characters, and it will become an art more than an essential skill.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:49 PM   #44
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Oooh, you're a dragon! That's the best one. Maybe all your luck is being stored up for something big!

Yes, Chinese is an incredibly hard language. There's so much memorization involved: how to make the strokes and what order they go in for each character (very important!), how to pronounce it, the tone, and the meaning, of course.

Actually my husband tells me, at least among the people he knows, an interesting phenomenon is occurring. They study until high school and even into college to memorize how to write characters. But since he's graduated high school, he rarely writes things out by hand. With texting and computers there's not that many things done on paper anymore, and he has to think about how to write less-used characters. I think this is an interesting phenomenon of the digital age, and I have wondered if, in the next 50 years China will cease teaching the writing of characters, and it will become an art more than an essential skill.
So they tell me, but my life has been more of a series of weird adventures (which I have, until now, survived, so I guess I am lucky).

I have always thought of both Japanese and Chinese calligraphy as more of an art form than a great way to communicate in the digital age. Of course, I've got a screaming Western bias, and there is no helping that. However, only needing to memorize 26 letters and a few additional symbols in order to work effectively in several other languages does make it easier .... but it still amazes me that they learn the plain old Greco Roman alphabet in order to write phonetically on your typical IBM keyboard. Hijo-la!!

Here's something entirely off topic, but I was watching a show last night in part about Dr. Chang Diaz who is a brilliant astrophysicist originally from Bolivia. Now "Chang" is not what I would call your usual Bolivian last name ... not even hyphenated. Can't help but wonder if he had some Chinese ancestors.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:18 PM   #45
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Actually, the problem is that Chinese is just not suitable to be written in alphabetic form. In the phonetic system I use, if I type out GE+Space on my keyboard (which is the equivalent of writing the PinYin sound Ji in the first tone) I have 94 choices. That means there are 94 words which sound exactly the same! But for each word you have a different Chinese character. Unlike English, the number of possible syllables is extremely limited. And new sounds cannot be introduced. Any words from foreign languages, such as names from foreign leaders, will be approximated since they cannot be properly expressed with Chinese characters.

But since you are working with whole syllables (each character does not represent a vowel or consonant like in the latin alphabet, each character represents a whole syllable, and the vast majority of words are made up of two syllables only) a good Chinese typist can easily reach 160 words per minute.

Calligraphy is, of course, an art form. It is a way to write the characters beautifully by hand. Call it painting with characters. The regular handwriting of most Chinese looks just as ugly as that of most Westerners!Chinese characters as such are not. Even though many are quite beautiful. Fortunately for us foreigners, computers and smart phones make writing Chinese very easy these days. Learning Chinese writing takes, of course, a long time. But it is mostly a matter of constant practicing rather than superior intelligence!

Handwriting is kept alive only for one reason only, these days. A lot of Chinese people use handwriting recognition on their phones! But it is the same for me in English or German. I never write by hand anymore, except my signature. My hand hurts when I write even one single line only, and if I write at all in block letters, not cursive.

Last edited by HansTWN; 07-15-2009 at 08:23 PM.
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