The barriers to growth and spread of the Chinese language are very different for spoken and written Chinese, and this monograph focuses on the written variety. It traces the language policy and planning related developments for Chinese characters, with particular emphasis on post-1950 period in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the more recent challenges that technology, and particularly the World Wide Web, have posed for the language.While Chinese language policy and planning developments can generally be characterized as evolutionary, currently there are forces, both reactionary, i.e. elements of traditional language and cultural purism, and revolutionary, i.e. alphabetic or radical simplification schemes, at work in the PRC. The volume examines this linguistic, cultural, political, economic debate, the outcome of which could determine whether Chinese reaches its international language potential, and explores some possible language policy and planning directions for the future.Given the importance of China and potential of the Chinese language, understanding of these issues is critical for not only our understanding of China, but for second language policy as it relates to Chinese around the world.

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