Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wonder how the Chinese blog?

We did. In fact, we were interested to know how the Chinese type anything into a keyboard with literally thousands of characters (pictograms) to choose from. So thanks to the Almighty Google, we discovered the complex world of typing in a non-phonetic system.
Google has launched a self-promoting Chinese-language blog, not long after unveiling its controversial Chinese search engine last month. According to the Washington Post, China already has as many as 16 million bloggers. How do you type Chinese characters on a keyboard?
All I can think after reading about how they handle the idea of keyboard and writing is that their brains must be a heck of a lot more agile than ours as they juggle the hundreds of micro-thoughts and adjustments we never have to face.

Check out this story.
In the Peoples' Republic of China, most computer users type out their Chinese in transliteration, using the standard Roman alphabet keys on a QWERTY keyboard. To generate a character, you type out its sound according to the same spelling system—called Pinyin—that represents the name of China's capital with the word "Beijing." The computer automatically converts the Pinyin spelling to the correct Chinese characters on the screen.

Or at least it's supposed to. There are lots of Chinese words that sound similar but look different on paper. If you're using the Pinyin input method, you'll have to put in some extra effort to make sure the right characters show up onscreen. First, you can follow a syllable with a digit, to indicate which of several intonations you want. If the computer still doesn't have enough information to pick a character, you'll have to choose from a pop-up list of possibilities.

Aren't you loving all this exposure to China? Isn't it, too, a bit, um, intimidating?

No comments: