The Chinese Language Revolution - The New York Times

Subscribe: Apple podcast | Spotify | embroiderer | How to listen Jing Tsu’s New Book, “Character Kingdom” relates to the l...


Jing Tsu’s New Book, “Character Kingdom” relates to the long and concerted efforts made by linguists, activists and others to adapt Chinese writing to the modern world, so it can be used in everything from typewriters and telegraphs to artificial intelligence and automation. In this week’s podcast, Tsu talks about this revolution, from its roots to the present day.

“The story of the Chinese writing revolution and how it modernized is really a story about China and the West,” she says. “Because without the Jesuit missionaries first coming to China in the 16th century, and trying to figure out what the Chinese language was – the Chinese didn’t really see their language any differently than they always have. So what happened was that when these western technologies came along, along with imperialism and colonial rule, China had to deal with the fact that they either had to play along or be completely So it was again a long process, an arduous process, of how to fit into the infrastructure of global communications technology.

Kathryn Schulz visits the podcast to talk about “Lost and found,” his new memoir about the loss of his father and his fall in love.

“It’s, I think, the closest thing to the book I wanted to write,” Schulz says. “The gap between what you want to do and what you are able to do is always huge, and the struggle for writers is to close it to the best of your ability. But what is quite unusual for me, I have had a very clear idea of ​​this book from the start.

Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has some news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they read. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode and the book review podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.

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