Posted on March 25th, 2012 in Chinese, Language acquisition, writing systems | No Comments »
Students trying to learn Chinese might be surprised to read this, but one man helped simplify the language by creating Pinyin.
Pinyin is the writing system that turns Chinese characters into words using the Roman alphabet; it’s been credited with improving the literacy rate in China as well as making it easier for people across the world to learn the language.
Zhou Youguang helped invent the system, but the 106 year old Beijing resident is not well known in his home country. After the second world war he became an economics professor in Shanghai before being invited to join a project looking at simplifying the Chinese language. He initially turned down this invitation but was persuaded and spent three years developing pinyin along with colleagues.
To read more about Mr Youguang, read the full article at BBC News. What an incredible man.