Foreign News: Revolutions in Language

If Red China's leaders have their way, the Chinese will in time have an alphabet that looks like this. Gone will be all of the Chinese language's 50,000 complex characters; in their stead will be a 30-letter Latin alphabet that includes every English letter except V, and five new letters to suit the Chinese tongue. This philological revolution, if it succeeds, may prove as sweeping in its own way as the Communist seizure of China.

At the dawn of civilization, so goes the Chinese legend, a wise man named Tsang Chieh took the signs of nature as his models and devised the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!