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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Weekly Open Thread: Good Friday Edition (309 comments)

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  •  4,000 - 5,000 characters (1+ / 0-)
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    MichaelNY

    ...are really all that are needed; sapelcovits is correct. They account for the vast, vast majority of characters needed, even in fairly specialized fields.

    Taylor and Taylor (1995) discusses this on p. 54.

    3,800 characters account for 99.9%, and 5,200 characters account for 99.99%.
    Your reasoning may apply to words as we conceive them in English, but not "words" (that represent distinct ideas) in Chinese. For example, "telephone" is its own word in English, but its Chinese equivalent (电话) is comprised of two separate characters (symbolizing "electric" and "talk" respectively), and is not its own word.

    Incidentally, I also agree with sapelcovits' assessment of the necessity of Kanji. In my experience, most places names as written using that script. For me (as a Mandarin speaker/reader), this has the side benefit of letting me navigate in Japan (...which I had to do as a 10 year-old traveling alone once) even without any knowledge of spoken Japanese (thought the fairly ubiquitous English signage helps too, I suppose...).

    Editor, Daily Kos Elections. IL-07.

    by jeffmd on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 02:40:50 PM PDT

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    •  Very surprising (0+ / 0-)

      I was thinking that because many Chinese words are made up of 2 or more characters, you'd actually need to know more and not fewer characters. I'm guessing most regulars on this sub-site know over 10,000 English words.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 10:33:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        a lot of those words are mix and match. if you have x number of characters, the number of words you can get with permutations of those characters is very high.

        Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

        by sapelcovits on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 02:26:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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