The Chinese Typewriter: A History
|author:||Thomas S. Mullaney (2017)|
|date read:||16 November 2020|
|rating:||★ ★ ★ ★ ☆|
This was recommended in a talk at !!Con 2020 about translating Chinese into Morse code, accompanied by a Glitch app for doing the same.
Mum gave it to me for my 27th birthday.
I found it quite interesting, and I took a lot of notes. It goes broadly chronologically – looking at early attempts to build a Chinese typewriter, then later concepts building on those ideas, and the social and business context it grew into. (For example, there’s a lot of discussion of the schools where people learnt how to use the various Chinese typewriters.)
The book really wants to address a wider topic of “how do you fit Chinese into a world dominated by the Roman alphabet”. The typewriter is one part of this, but there are broader social, political and technical aspects – and they all get discussed at appropriate points.
Would recommend to anybody interested in languages, particularly Unicode nerds.
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