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Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern (Hardcover)

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What does it take to reinvent a language?

Kingdom of Characters follows the bold innovators who reinvented the Chinese language, among them an exiled reformer who risked a death sentence to advocate for Mandarin as a national language, a Chinese-Muslim poet who laid the groundwork for Chairman Mao's phonetic writing system, and a computer engineer who devised input codes for Chinese characters on the lid of a teacup from the floor of a jail cell. Without their advances, China might never have become the dominating force we know today.

Get Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern (Hardcover) by Jing Tsu and other history books online and at Fully Booked bookstore branches in the Philippines.

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What does it take to reinvent a language?

After a meteoric rise, China today is one of the world’s most powerful nations. Just a century ago, it was a crumbling empire with literacy reserved for the elite few, as the world underwent a massive technological transformation that threatened to leave them behind. In Kingdom of Characters, Jing Tsu argues that China’s most daunting challenge was a linguistic one: the century-long fight to make the formidable Chinese language accessible to the modern world of global trade and digital technology.

Kingdom of Characters follows the bold innovators who reinvented the Chinese language, among them an exiled reformer who risked a death sentence to advocate for Mandarin as a national language, a Chinese-Muslim poet who laid the groundwork for Chairman Mao's phonetic writing system, and a computer engineer who devised input codes for Chinese characters on the lid of a teacup from the floor of a jail cell. Without their advances, China might never have become the dominating force we know today.

With larger-than-life characters and an unexpected perspective on the major events of China’s tumultuous twentieth century, Tsu reveals how language is both a technology to be perfected and a subtle, yet potent, power to be exercised and expanded.

More Information
ISBN 9780735214729
Length (cm) 15.7000
Width (cm) 2.7000
Height (cm) 23.5000
Publisher Riverhead Books
Publication Date Jan 18, 2022
Pages (number) 336
Genre History, Politics, and Social Sciences
Author Jing Tsu
Signed No
Format Hardcover
Editorial Reviews

“An engaging, relevant work that delves into the linguistic past in order to predict China’s future success in the world.” —Kirkus (starred review)

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