Category Archives: government-mandated

Latin Carolingian Reforms — ~782 AD, Germany

Emperor Charlemagne apparently tried to learn how to read and write, but with poor success.  Probably part of his difficulty was that he had to spend a bunch of time conquering countries, part of the difficulty was that he started … Continue reading

Posted in Alphabet, government-mandated, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!" | Leave a comment

Taiwanese kana — ~1900 AD, Taiwan

As a result of losing the first Sino-Japanese war, China had to cede Taiwan to Japan in 1895. The Japanese went through phases of let-the-Taiwanese-be-Taiwanese alternating with phases where they tried to assimilate the Taiwanese into Japanese culture. During one … Continue reading

Posted in government-mandated, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!", Syllabaries | 3 Comments

Zetian characters — 690 AD, China

There was one female ruler of China, Wu Zetian, who, among other things, mandated use of around twenty new characters.  (These characters were presented to her by a junior relative, Zong Qinke, but she went along with it.) She took … Continue reading

Posted in government-mandated, inventor known, Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", significant female influence | 2 Comments

Demotic — 650 BC, Egypt

Demotic was significant in the history of language understanding, as it was one of the three scripts on the Rosetta Stone (along with Greek script and Egyptian hieroglyphics).  However, it is really only a font difference from hieratic (or hieroglyphics). … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Evolved slowly from parent, government-mandated, Logograms, Rating: 2 "Not all that interesting" | 1 Comment

Bopomofo — 1913 AD, China

Because Chinese is a (mostly) logographic language, it isn’t obvious how to pronounce written characters.  To deal with that, in 1913, the government of China developed a system to write the pronunciation of characters.  Its official name is Zhuyin Fuhao, … Continue reading

Posted in Alphabet, government-mandated, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!", Syllabaries | 3 Comments

Simplified Chinese — 1956 AD, China

In 1956, the People’s Republic of China promoted a simplified writing scheme, with the goal of improving literacy. Currently, Simplified Chinese is used in the PRC (except for Hong Kong), Malaysia, and Singapore; Traditional Chinese is used everywhere else.  The … Continue reading

Posted in government-mandated, Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 2 Comments

Chinese Seal Scripts — ~800BC, China

After the Oracle Bones script, there was a long period where the script changed slowly and not totally uniformly across China.  These scripts are sort of all called “Large Seal” or “Great Seal” or “Bronze Script”. Eventually, in around 220BC, … Continue reading

Posted in Evolved slowly from parent, government-mandated, Logograms, now ceremonial, Rating: 2 "Not all that interesting" | 1 Comment