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The Language Question At The Turn Of The 20th Century

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Chapter Summary

The successful implementation of general education appeared to be an important reason for Japan's victory. Therefore, the most important topic discussed in reformist writings was a reform of the civil examinations and the establishment of a national school system according to Western lines. However, another question also became important: Would the Chinese language be able to serve the cause of mass education desirable to strengthen China's position in the world? This chapter proposes that the demand for an "alphabetization" of orthography in order to alphabetize the masses and the creation of vernacular newspapers had the same origin. The idea of a "national language" was coming to China only after the turn of the 20th century. In the alphabetization schemes of the script reformers, this was broadly reflected only after 1908. From this time on, there was a shift in the main objective of the use of phonetic scripts.

Keywords:20th century; alphabetization; Chinese language; civil examinations; Japan's victory; national language; national school system; phonetic scripts; reformist writings



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