Advantages And Disadvantages Of Standardized Writing System

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Writing has constituted an important practice in human culture since the earliest forms of writing were discovered from cave paintings made 40,000 years ago. Writing enables writers to express themselves in a writing system that conveys unique features of its associated culture. In this context, 'writing' means a standardized system for recording, in a specific language, content ranging from values to ideas to poems, etc. Humans have communicated in thousands of languages throughout history and consequently devised numerous different writing systems for expressing those languages. To facilitate easier communication, it has sometimes been suggested that the world adopt a single writing system capable of representing all languages. This essay…show more content…
This is an over-optimistic and naïve argument, however, for at least three reasons. Most particularly, a standardized writing system might seem ideal, but it cannot overcome the enormous difficulties brought about by requiring the world's citizens to learn a new writing system. This is because learning writing systems is very challenging, laborious and time-consuming (Tzeng & Wang, 1983); this is even more the case for adult learners, who might anyway see little benefit and much disadvantage from the additional financial expense of learning a new writing system when they are already expert users of their written language. A second reason why a universal writing system is ill-advised is because languages are living things that evolve slowly over time; there never can be a 'standard' writing system while cultures are continually developing new forms of expression. This can be seen from the fact that the Chinese writing system has already undergone several evolutions over the centuries. Thirdly, the argument for standardizing a writing system is naïve because it entails controversial political decisions. No doubt the powerful nations of the East would prefer a logographic or a syllabic writing system while their Western counterparts would prefer an alphabetic writing system. Each 'side' would therefore favour its existing writing system to minimize disruption and to ensure forms of cultural hegemony. Taken together, these three arguments demonstrate the impracticality of a universal writing system and highlight the difficulties such a system would
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