Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Zhou Youguang, called the father of Pinyin for creating the system of Romanized Chinese writing that has become the international standard since its introduction some sixty years past, died on (14 Jan 2017)Saturday in Beijing, Chinese state media according. Zhou Youguang was 111.

In recent decades, with the comparative invincibility that he felt nice age given on him, Zhou Youguang was also an outspoken critic of the Chinese government."What are they about to do," he asked roundly in an interview with the BBC in 2012. "Come and take me away?" actually, that they had already done that when before, long ago. Adopted by China in 1958, Pinyin (the name is translated as "spelled sounds") has vastly increased literacy throughout the country; eased the room agonies of foreigners learning Chinese; afforded the blind the simplest way to scan the language in Braille; and, during a development Zhou Youguang may scarcely have predicted, expedited the speedy entry of Chinese on laptop keyboards and mobile phones.

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Beyond China’s borders, Pinyin allowed the standardization of Chinese names. For example, it is a huge reason why the name Westerners commonly use for the Chinese capital shifted from "Peking" to "Beijing." And it’s why several different such names modified dramatically at the side of it.

And nonetheless Zhou Youguang, the person behind one in all the most necessary linguistic innovations within the 20th century, same he was reluctant once asked by the Chinese government to require on the task within the mid-1950s.

At the time, he was an economic scholar, only recently came to China when a stint working on Wall Street within the U.S. Zhou Youguang had come to the country when its 1949 Communist revolution.

Taught in elementary schools throughout China, Pinyin acts as a form of linguistic crutch, enabling students to find out the sounds of words through its 25-letter, four-diacritical-mark system before advancing to the committal to memory and study of the characters themselves.

"Without an alphabet you had to find out mouth to mouth, ear to ear," Zhou Youguang told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in 2008. "It’s a bridge to speech between Chinese people."

Although Zhou Youguang - his full name is pronounced Joe Yo-Gwong - helped China higher communicate inside its borders and with the planet at large, he did not escape the revolution, a decade-long political campaign during which millions of Chinese were purged and ¬persecuted.

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Born Jan. 13, 1906, into a well-to-do family within the eastern city of Changzhou, Zhou Youguang was raised in a China wherever the Qing dynasty still dominated, women sure their feet and men wore their hair in long braids.

Zhou Youguang studied economics and linguistics at St. John’s University in Shanghai, one in all the country’s oldest Western-style schools, before transferring to Guanghua University and graduating in 1927 to start a career as a banker.

Early in life he additionally modified his given name: Born zhou Yaoping, he took on the name Yaoguang, which implies "to illuminate," as a result of "he needed it to be a sign of his transfer light" into the world, Mair said.

Zhou Youguang married Zhang Yunhe in 1933 and studied for many years in Japan, returning to China when the increase of the Second Sino Japanese war. They settled in city, the country’s period capital. Whereas there, their 5-year-old girl died of appendicitis. Zhou Youguang affected up a friendship with zhou Enlai, a communist party official who hosted intellectual gatherings within the city and later became the country’s premier.

Zhou Youguang was spared mainly because of his relationship with zhou Enlai, by then China’s premier and who recalled the economist’s fascination with linguistics and Esperanto, the world lingua franca. In 1955, he summoned Zhou Youguang to Beijing and tasked him with developing a brand-new alphabet for China.

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Zhou Youguang resisted before choosing a vital career change. "I aforesaid I used to be an amateur, a layman, I couldn’t do the duty," he told NPR in 2011. "But they aforesaid it’s a brand-new job, everyone is an amateur."

Working with a team of around 20 individuals, Zhou Youguang thought-about over 2,000 writing systems, according to a 2004 account within the new Yorker. He eventually settled on a transcription system that used the roman alphabet - a vital purpose for Zhou Youguang, who later explained that he selected the roman alphabet over Cyrillic (the alphabet used by China’s ally, the Soviet Union) because of its predominance within the world.

His creation, Pinyin, has become the most common romanization system for Chinese characters round the world.

Chinese characters are non-phonetic. Therefore, a Chinese reader can solely take a guess at the pronunciation of a personality he or she has never seen before. Thus, Pinyin acts as a pronunciation guide for Chinese.

  • It has become indispensable in times.
  • Chinese youngsters learn it to aid in correct pronunciation of Mandarin.
  • Chinese dictionaries list words alphabetically in keeping with the Pinyin spelling.
  • Students of Chinese as a second language use Pinyin to be told a way to pronounce Chinese.
  • Street signs in China include Pinyin, creating navigation easier for non-Chinese.
  • Speakers of English and alternative languages use Pinyin to spell the names of Chinese individuals and places.
  • Smartphone and laptop users type Pinyin so choose the correct characters from the list of choices.

The Early Life of Zhou Youguang, the Father of Pinyin

Zhou Youguang was born in Jiangsu province on Jan 13th, 1906, to an official within the Qing dynasty.

His family’s financial condition nearly commands him back from advanced studies. However, friends and family gathered cash for his education, allowing him to continue.

Zhou Youguang studied economics at St. John’s University, Shanghai. On the facet, he took a couple of linguistics electives as a result of he had an interest in languages.

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

In 1933 he moved to Japan to continue finding out. However, Zhou Youguang came to China in 1937 at the beginning of the Sino Japanese war.

Upon his come back, Zhou Youguang worked for a brief time at Sin Hua Bank in Shanghai. This can be wherever he met zhou Enlai, who later became a pacesetter of China below Mao Zedong.

After the end of the war, Sin Hua Bank sent him to figure in New York city and then London.

The Birth of Pinyin - Zhou Youguang

At this point, the new Chinese government was considering the need for language reforms. One in every of those reforms was making a brand new romanization system.

The Wade-Giles system was another romanization system already wide in use. This method could also be familiar to readers for its different spellings for cities like Beijing, Nanjing, Fuzhou, and Qingdao. (Wade-Giles spells them Beijing, Nanking, Foochow, and Tsingtao severally.) However, this method was ungainly and did not always accurately convey true Chinese pronunciation.

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Now a major player within the Chinese government, Zhou Enlai, remembered his old friend Zhou Youguang, whom he had met in Shanghai years before. He recalled that Zhou Youguang had a pastime passion for languages. So, he known as him to Beijing to lead the committee that was to provide a brand new romanization system.

Zhou Youguang resisted, saying that linguistics was only his hobby, however Zhou Enlai told him, "Everyone is an amateur."

Unable to refuse the number 2 leader in China, Zhou Youguang moved to Beijing wherever he began a three-year effort that resulted within the invention of Pinyin.

It turned out that this job modification was sensible for him and protected him from Mao’s fury against intellectuals.

Zhou Youguang same, "Mao disliked greatly the economists - particularly economic professors from America. By that point, I had shifted to the road of language and writing. I used to be not thought of a rightist. Very lucky. If I had remained in Shanghai teaching economics, I feel I definitely may be imprisoned for 20 years. A decent friend of mine was imprisoned and committed suicide."

However, even his contribution to the history of Chinese linguistics could not shield him from the ravages of the revolution. In 1969, the govt sent him to figure in a labour camp, wherever he toiled in rice paddies for 2 years.

Designing Pinyin - Zhou Youguang

In 1955, the govt placed Zhou Youguang at the top of a committee to reform the Chinese language so as to extend literacy. Whereas different committees oversaw the tasks of promulgating Mandarin dialect because the national language and making simplified Chinese characters, Zhou Youguang’s committee was charged with developing a romanization to represent the pronunciation of Chinese characters. Zhou Youguang says the task took regarding 3 years, and was a regular job. Pinyin was created the official romanization in 1958, though then (as now) it was only a pronunciation guide, not a substitute writing.

Personal life - Zhou Youguang

Zhou Youguang was married to Zhang Yunhe from 30 April 1933 to her death on fourteen August 2002; the couple were married for 69 years, 106 days and had 2 children: a daughter zhou Xiaohe (1935–1941) who died at the age of 6, and a son zhou Xiaoping (1934–2015) who died at the age of 80 on 26 Jan 2015. Zhou Youguang last lived in Beijing.

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Zhou Youguang died on 14 Jan 2017 at his home in Beijing at the age of 111 years, 1 day.

Love for China - Zhou Youguang

  • "Bring light to the world". Born in Changzhou in 1906, Chow Youguang showed interest in linguistics at the first age of 12; he graduated from high-school with honours.
  • Named zhou Yaoping, he adopted the pen name "Yougang" as a result of he needed to "bring light" to the world.
  • Hard road to university. In 1923, Zhou Youguang registered the university of St. John’s University, Shanghai. He was not able to attend as a result of money woes, however friends and relatives raised the admission fee and helped him obtain tuition.
  • Zhou Youguang graduated in 1927, majored in economics and took supplementary work in linguistics.
  • Sino-Japanese war. In 1933, he married Zhang Yunhe. Zhou Youguang moved to Japan to continue his studies, however came in 1937, at the beginning of the Sino Japanese war.
  • After the Japanese were defeated in 1945 at the tip of war two, Zhou Youguang worked in Sin Hua bank wherever he was stationed overseas, initial in new York city and so in London.
  • "Modern, resurgent China". In 1949, he came once the establishment of communist china, excited to take part during a resurgent country. "We all thought that China had a really smart opportunity to develop; we tend to did not expect the later turmoil. History misled us," Zhou Youguang told the Guardian.
  • Back in China, Zhou Youguang instructed economics at Fudan University in Shanghai. However, his path did not lead him to stay as an economist.

Google doodle Celebrates - Zhou Youguang Birthday

Google doodle pays homage to the Chinese linguist Zhou Youguang on what would have been his 112th birthday.

Zhou Youguang helped create the Chinese alphabet called Pinyin. Zhou Youguang spent 3 years developing the system of "spelled sounds" that led to the international standard for Romanized Chinese - earning Youguang the title, "Father of Pinyin."

"The new system transformed China’s skill rate, providing a lot of natural passage into the written language, which needs mastering thousands of characters,” writes Google on the Google Doodle journal, "It bridged multiple Chinese dialects with its shared designations of sound. Schoolchildren learn Pinyin before characters, and it is usually wont to input characters on smartphones and computers."

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Google says while not Zhou Youguang’s efforts, phonetic translations of the Chinese language would have not have existed, "The world would still be relating Beijing as Peking, and to Chongqing as Chungking."

The animated doodle highlights Youguang’s work by flipping the Os at intervals Google’s name from Pinyin (Gǔgē) to Chinese characters (谷歌) and results in a search for "Zhou Youguang."

Google shared the following early drafts of the Zhou Youguang doodle designed by doodler Cynthia Yuan Cheng.

In addition to the 3 years Youguang spent standardizing Chinese dialects, Zhou Youguang authored over 40 books and translated the encyclopedia Britannica into Chinese.

Zhou Youguang Was Also a Prolific Author

Zhou Youguang’s interest in language didn’t stop at linguistics innovation. He was also a prolific author. "Pursuing his love of language throughout his life, Zhou Youguang authored over 40 books and translated the reference Britannica into Chinese," Google noted.

However, it absolutely was his linguistics work that almost all altered Chinese society. "Before Pinyin, 85 % of Chinese individuals could not browse, in step with the BBC. Now, UNICEF says the literacy rate in China hovers at regarding 95 %," NPR according.

Zhou Youguang - A Chinese Economist

Zhou Youguang once told the BBC of his pioneering work: "We spent 3 years developing Pinyin. individuals created fun of us, joking that it had taken us a long time to alter simply 26 letters."

Zhou Youguang Was Born During the Qing Dynasty to a Government Servant

According to Britannica, Zhou Youguang was born zhou Yaoping; his later name Youguang means that "illuminate." He was "born throughout the waning years of the Qing dynasty, underneath that his father command a government post," the site reports.

Zhou Youguang studied at an Episcopal school based by U.S. missionaries and, reports Britannic, "graduated (1927) with and economic science degree from Guanghua University (now East China normal University), also in Shanghai."

Zhou Youguang was married to Zhang Yunhe, represented by Britannica as "the daughter of a well-known family who would become an skilled on kunqu, an important type of Chinese opera" and lived for a time in Japan. He conjointly lived within the us for a time, wherever he worked on Wall Street, the site reports.

People Often Ask About Zhou Youguang

Q1. Why Was Pinyin Invented ?

Q2. Is Pinyin Capitalized ?

Q3. Pinyin Vs Hanzi ?

Q4. Is Pinyin Used In China ?

Q5. Zhou Youguang Age ?

Q6. Zhou Youguang Death ?

Q7. Zhou Youguang Cup ?

Q8. Zhou Youguang Diet ?

Q9. Zhou Youguang Wiki ?

Q10. Zhou Youguang Books ?

Thank you for reading this article. Do let me know for any queries in comment section below.

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Akash is a co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email (akashchugh1994@gmail.com).

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