[Wikipedia-l] Re: One Chinese [sic.] Wikipedia

Henry H. Tan-Tenn share2002nov at lomaji.com
Mon Sep 13 23:02:04 UTC 2004

Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales wrote:

> Within a fairly wide range, though, such differences can be avoided in
> an encyclopedia.  It depends on how extreme the differences might be,
> of course, but mutual intelligibility is the standard that I would
> use.

At a textual level mutual intelligibility becomes less of an issue once 
mutual readability (by way of a Traditional/Simplified converter) is in 
place.  What's left is mostly mutual learning and acceptability at a 
community level.  Will PRC users accept that a computer is known as an 
"electronic brain" in Taiwanese Mandarin, and not as a "calculator"? 
Will a Taiwanese Mandarin (or Japanese) user accept that what looks like 
the term for "calculator" often refers to a "computer" in PRC Mandarin? 
  Clearly such differences can not always be avoided, and one or another 
or both have to be used without affecting intelligibility for one of the 
user groups.  The evolution toward mutual textual intelligibility 
(through learning) and mutual acceptability (through tolerance and/or 
compromise) might *eventually* contribute to some kind of International 
Mandarin.  Probably there are already transnational business incentives 
to do so.

But what Google appears to do now is accomodate the reality of 
(somewhat) diverged standards.  E.g. looking up "電腦" ("electronic 
brain"/computer) one also gets results referring to "计算机" 
("calculator"/computer).  More remarkably, Google is able to present 
excerpts from Simplified pages in Traditional text, with 计算机 replaced 
by 電腦.


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