The Sanchon Hunjang
(usually clicking on the photos yields an enlarged version)



That's about the shape of it

In English, we have a variety shapes ready at hand to describe things so our listeners can more easily understand complex abstractions, especially involving shapes. Some of these shapes are geometric (square, triangle, circle, cone, sphere). Others come in the form of accepted symbols. Thus there is no shortage of shape metaphors like a "y-intersection," or a "t-intersection." Those moving 180º turns that you see cop cars do in the movies are "j-turns" and you will have to practice on an "s-curve" and memorize when "u-turns" are allowed if you want to get your drivers' licence.

Korean, since they have their own alphabet, also have the tools for this type of shape-based metaphor. It is not difficult to hear people talk about things as being 니은 모양 or 디귿 모양. There is even that 속담 that goes "낫 놓고 기역자도 모른다," and means "can't even see the obvious."

Chinese doesn't have anything corresponding to letters, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they do the same thing on the basis of whole words, since that's all they've got to work with.

We get things like 十 used for a plus shape and 一 used for a straight line shape, like you see in screwdrivers: 십자 드라이버 and 일자 드라이버. Indeed, a cross is a "十字架 plus-shaped rack." There is also 丫 that gets used to represent the shape "y." And if you see someone lying down, asleep, with their arms and legs spread, Koreans say they are "큰 대자로 누웠다 Lying in the shape of 大."
☞ 十: 열 십, 一: 한 일, 字: 글자 자, 架: 시렁 가, 丫: 가닥 아.

Given the wealth of Chinese characters, there is even more possibility for this kind of visual metaphor.

In the past, the Sanchon Hunjang has cited several poems attributed to 김삿갓 (1807~1863). Kim is not famous for high-brow literature, but his verses and the stories that accompany them are entertaining. Here is a "poem composed in description of something 詠物詩" that is attributed to 김. Its admittedly not politically correct, but he lived in an age with different values. Why not see if you can guess what he is describing, while we're at it...
☞ 詠: 읊을 영, 物: 만물 물, 詩: 시 시.

人皆平直爾何然, People are all level and upright, why are you like this:
項在胸中膝在肩. With your neck in the middle of your chest and knee at your shoulder?
回首不能看白日, If you turn your head, you are still unable to see the bright sun;
側身僅可見青天. When you tilt your body you barely can see the blue heavens.
臥如心字無三點, Lying down, you are as 心, without the three dots;
立似弓形小一絃. Standing, you are like the shape of a bow, without the one string.
慟哭千湫歸去路, After your thousand autumns of sad crying, when you depart on the road back,
也應棺郭用團圓. The shape of coffin you use will also have to be round.
☞ 人: 사람 인, 皆: 모두 개, 平: 평평할 평, 直: 곧을 직, 爾: 너 이, 何: 어찌 하, 然: 그럴 연,
項: 목덜미 항, 在: 있을 재, 胸: 가슴 흉, 膝: 무릎 슬, 肩: 어깨 견
回: 돌 회, 首: 머리 수, 能: 능할 능, 看: 볼 간, 白: 흴 백, 日: 해 일,
側: 곁 측, 身: 몸 신, 僅: 겨우 근, 可: 옳을 가, 見: 볼 견, 青: 푸를 청, 天: 하늘 천,
臥: 누울 와, 如같을 여, 心: 마음 심, 無: 없을 무, 三: 석 삼, 點: 점 점,
立: 설 립, 似: 같을 사, 弓: 활 궁, 形: 형상 형, 小: 작을 소, 絃: 악기줄 현,
慟: 서럽게 울 통, 哭: 울 곡, 千: 일천 천, 湫: 가을 추, 歸: 돌아갈 귀, 去: 갈 거, 路: 길 로,
也: 어조사 야, 應: 응할 응, 棺: 널 관, 郭: 외관 곽, 用: 쓸 용, 團: 둥글 단, 圓: 둥글 원.

If you guessed "a hunchback," you would be correct. In spite of the lack of sensitivity, his images of 心 without the three dots and a bow lacking its string are parallel, accurate and fresh imagery.

Kim is famous for having trapsed around the peninsula, writing verse that poked fun at people who needed to be brought down a notch or two, like pompous mountain village schoolmasters. Here is a verse he composed about a 양반 who lived with his wife and concubine.

不熱不寒二月天, On a February day, when it is neither hot nor cold,
一妻一妾最堪憐. One wife and one concubine are easily the most pitiable.
鴛鴦枕上三頭竝, Three heads are arrayed on the mandarin-duck pillow;
翡翠衾中六臂連. Six arms connect mid the kingfisher blanket.
開口笑時渾似品, When they open their mouths to laugh, they come together like 品;
飜身臥處燮成川. When they turn their bodies over, the place where they lie harmonizes to become a 川.
東邊未了西邊事, When he's not yet done on the east side, he takes care of business on the west side,
更向東邊打玉拳. Again he turns to the east side to carress a jade-white hand.

☞ 不: 아니 불, 熱: 더울 렬, 寒: 찰 한, 二: 둘 이, 月: 달 월,
妻: 아내 처, 妾: 첩 첩, 最: 가장 최, 堪: 견딜 감, 憐: 불쌍히 여길 련,
鴛: 원앙 원, 鴦: 원앙 앙, 원앙(새) = mandarin ducks, a symbol of marital harmony, 枕: 베개 침, 上: 위 상, 頭: 머리 두, 竝: 아우를 병,
翡: 물총새 비, 翠: 물총새 취, 물총새 = kingfisher, also used as the color of jade (from the color of the feathers of the kingfisher that change color from blue to green in sunlight), 衾: 이불 금, 中: 가운데 중, 六: 여섯 륙, 臂: 팔 비, 連: 잇닿을 련,
開: 열 개, 口: 입 구, 笑: 웃을 소, 時: 때 시, 渾: 흐릴 혼, 品: 물건 품,
飜: 날 번, 身: 몸 신, 臥: 누울 와, 處: 곳 처, 燮: 불꽃 섭, 成: 이룰 성, 川: 내 천,
東: 동녘 동, 邊: 가 변, 未: 아닐 미, 了: 마칠 료, 西: 서녘 서, 事: 일 사
更: 다시 갱, 向: 향할 향, 打: 칠 타, 玉: 구슬 옥, 拳: 주먹 권

The three of them lying together form a stream. This is not to indicate that one of them has a enuresis problem, but that their bodies together make the shape of the word for stream: 川. Alternatively, he could have said that they look like "三," but since that is the word "three," and there are three of them, it looses all of the cleverness, not to mention the rhyme pattern of the verse.

So far, we have looked strictly at using the shapes of letters/logographs. It is also possible to borrow a noun synonym for a more abstract concept to a similar effect. So you use a picture of one word to represent another word that is more abstract and can't be conveyed in a simple picture, this is the type of rebus that you see on bumper stickers, like "I♥NY" or "I ♠ my dog."

Korean also uses these. For example, if you were setting up a very classy gentlemen's club to appeal to the hornley salaryman crowd, and you wanted to conjure up the image of a widows' village full of lonely women who've had it--so they know what they are missing--but only have their hairpins to console themselves now...and you didn't want to come out and just say 과부촌, because that is just a little too direct and doesn't match with the classy image you had in mind, you could use a picture representing another word to just suggest the syllable "부":

In the above poem, the line above the "stream," where the man, his wife and his concubine laughing together form a "品" is the same principle, on a different level. Given the combinatory nature of written Chinese, where complex characters are made up of combinations of simpler characters, the possibilities in this realm are broad. Thus 김 uses the fact that "口" means "mouth" and that the word "品 product" happens to be made up of three of these for his pun-like construction.

Along the same lines, I suppose you could describe your dinner with three friends at a fine...
...restaurant as having been a "dish 器."
☞ 器: 그릇 기

The complementary action to this combinatory aspect of Chinese writing, dissecting characters up into their "constituent parts" in order to see how the meaning was constructed, is the underpinning of the first Chinese dictionary and a favorite pasttime of many scholars and wanna-be scholars.

But that's a whole 'nother bag of worms...



The Sanchon Hunjang’s Guide to Korean Funerals

The Sanchon Hunjang has been to several Korean funerals before, but never paid any attention—just watched and copied what the guy next to me did. Well, I decide to take this as an opportunity to pay a bit more attention to what goes into the funerary rite, as observed 4 full days of funeral at two different locations this week. Fortunately all of the other people at the funerals were more than patient with my never-ending questions. So here goes a summary of Korean funeral etiquette as observed by yours truly.

There is some variation. Especially at Christian funerals, but the common funeral seems to follow basically the same script. Here is what one should expect when visiting a funeral for the family of a friend or colleague to pay respects:

  1. Arrival: Make sure you drive to the right hospital, because 삼성의료원, 중대병원, etc. have several locations. After arriving at the funerary department of the right hospital, you have to find the right room.

  2. Make a Donation: When you get to the room, there will be a small desk with someone sitting behind it and a large box with the word 賻儀函 or 부의함 written on it, located just inside the doorway. It is expected that everyone going to the funeral should make a donation (부의금: “condolence money”). Donations usually get larger the closer you are to the bereaved. 3o,ooo원 is a common amount for most circumstances. If the bereaved includes a close friend, then 5o,ooo원 or up would be appropriate. The money always must go in an envelope. They sell envelopes with 賻儀 already printed on them for this occasion at stationery shops. Or you can just write “부의” on any common white envelope (in 한자 if you want to look smarter than you really are ^^). They also have empty envelopes available at the sign-in desk right next to the donation collections box at funerals. It is not considered proper etiquette to let the person at the desk see how much money you put in the envelope so, if you didn’t come prepared, turn your back to him or step out of the room while you perform the money-stuffing operation. Be sure to write your name on the back of the envelope, because the family likes to keep track of who has come and who has made which donations. That way they can reciprocate in degree.

    The Sanchon Hunjang originally thought that this money-giving custom was the strangest aspect of Korean funerals. It seemed like saying, “You’re wife died? What a shame. Here's 50 bucks, why don’t go to Vegas and forget about her.” But now I think I get it. It's like a different manifestation of shared labor that helps make communal projects possible. A funeral generates not insignificant costs. And everyone will have to put on a few funerals in life, so when there is a funeral, everyone pitches in so the expenses are less of a burden. It goes around and around, so in the end, nobody in a given circle of acquaintances comes out ahead or behind. It is just a means of matching the cash outflow from a funeral with some cash inflow. It’s like those 계, where there is not an overwhelming economic rationale for many of the participants, but it changes the timing of the cashflow streams of the participants to meet specific needs, without burdening anyone excessively

  3. Sign in: There will be a book, called either “부의록” or “조위록,” sitting on the desk next to the donations box, with a pen. After you have dropped your envelope into the box, you sign your name in the book. Sometimes the person sitting at the desk behind the book will take your donation envelope and sign your name for you in the book.

    ☞ Sometimes people do the donation and sign-in steps after they are done with the bows and on their way out of the room. This is also acceptable.

  4. Enter: The room is made like a Korean house, with a shoe-changing station by the door when you come in, and then a slightly elevated floor that is the main space. You take your shoes off, just as if you were entering a house. If you are carrying any bags or umbrellas, you should set them down by the shoe pit. If someone else is in the room doing their bows, wait until they finish and come back to put their shoes on before you enter.

    At some funerals, they will have a large vase filled with chrysanthemums that is sitting by the shoe pit. If they have these flowers, you should take one on your way into the room. If not, just go straight in, to the front of the picture of the deceased.

  5. Preparations: If you have picked up a chrysanthemum, place it in front of the photo where the other chrysanthemums are piled, or where they have cleared off space to place them. The stem should face you.

    ☞ Click for the labelled version

    The next step is to burn some incense. In front of the picture of the deceased there will be food offerings, and in front of that there will be a table or stand with a burning candle, an incense urn and some incense sticks. Some people perform this while kneeling in front of the incense stand and others do it while standing—it doesn’t seem to matter. If you are in a group, only one person needs to do the incense offering, on behalf of the whole group, and then everyone will bow together. The person who is giving the incense offering grabs one or two sticks of incense, lights them in the flame of the candle and sticks them in the brazier.

    A few people offered a fresh glass of alcohol to the deceased at this point, but the overwhelming majority just skipped this step. Those who did reached up and took down the cup that was sitting in front of the photo of the deceased, among the food offerings. They poured out the alcohol that was in the cup into the bowl in front of the incense table. Then they refilled the cup from the pot of alcohol sitting next to the bowl for discarding the used alcohol. They picked up the glass of fresh alcohol with two hands, circled it 3 times in the air above the incense and then placed the cup back where it had been originally, in front of the photograph.

    After placing the incense, or offering the alcohol if you choose to, take a few steps back, so you will have room to execute the bows.

  6. Bow to the Deceased: Facing the picture of the deceased, do one full bow (큰 절), ending in a crouched position, facing the floor. Hold the crouched position for a moment. Get back up on your feet and repeat. If it looks like this, then you're doing it right:
    IMG: 남자 큰 절

    Then get up and do a bow from the waist. 2 and 1/2 times. That’s the magic recipe for the dead. If you are in a group, the whole group does the bows together.
    ☞ Many Christians seem to see this step as worshipping false gods, so they don’t do the full bows and just offer a short, silent prayer instead

  7. Bow to the Bereaved: After bowing to the deceased, turn to face the relatives and do the same full-bow drill one time, followed by a bow from the waist. Depending on the specific family tradition, they will either have burlap armbands over a black suit, burlap leggings from the knee down with a burlap hat (looking not unlike a brown lunch bag on the head) or maybe the full burlap outfit from head-to-toe and a cane that is too short, to boot. Ladies will wear a white 한복, or more recently a black one, and they have a little burlap or white ribbon bow in their hair. But be aware that funerals are about sons. When a woman dies, even her husband is sidelined and the sons (and grandsons) take over the funeral show. At any rate, the family in the room will do the bow sequence at the same time as you do. Some people say that female visitors should omit the full bow during this step and just offer a bow from the waist. However, I observed that the family will just go along with whatever the visitor does. It is getting more and more rare, but sometimes you see a family with the 아이고 chorus going, where the bereaved will continually chant a tearful “아이고 아이고 아이고” interspersed with occasional wails like “우리 어머니 돌아가셨어!” These tend to be the traditionalists who have also gone for the full burlap suit.

  8. Offer Condolences: After the bows, the family will usually offer a handshake. Sometimes they will crouch, so it looks like they are going for another full bow, but don’t be confused (although, if you were to be confused, you wouldn’t be alone. I saw several Korean visitors take the fake on this one.) This is the right time to express your condolences over their loss. A good sentence for this occasion would be:
    상삼이 크시겠습니다

    The family will thank you for coming and, depending on how talkative they are, they may give some details about the passing of the departed.

  9. Let’s Eat: You walk back over to the shoe-pit, put your shoes on and walk out of the room. They will be having food served somewhere in the funeral hall and will usually guide you to the site, or maybe just point you in the right direction. Depending on the size of the crowd, some members of the bereaved family may come by to chat while you eat. The menu seems to be the same at pretty much all funerals: 밥, 육개장, 편육, 홍어무침, a few kinds of 김치, , fruit, soft drinks, beer and 소주. You can eat at your own pace and, when you are done, stand up and go. If the family comes over to visit with you, common topics for conversation are:

    • Where the burial site (장지) is and whether they are going to cremate (화장) the remains

    • When the deceased will be washed and placed in the coffin (입관), and when the family will be departing for the burial site (발인)

    • How many sons/daughters/brothers/sisters/husbands/wives are left behind (I hear that the last two are especially appropriate at Mormon funerals. ^^)

    • How the deceased met his or her end (Given my observations, here it seems appropriate to ask if it came as a surprise to the family, or if they were given time to prepare, as well as share anecdotes of people you know who have passed away in a similar manner)

      ☞ The Koreans at both funerals were un-squeamish about discussing such details and seemed to find this more appropriate than my attempts to bring up “shop talk” related to work or other topics

    It used to be considered good manners to stay up all night long with the bereaved for two nights from the date of passing, in order to show support and prevent them from being overwhelmed by sorrow. These all night sessions included heavy drinking and many rounds of poker and 화투/고스톱 (네이버 백과사전). I understand that this is still the custom in areas outside of Seoul, but today’s Seoul Cinderellas prefer to let the family of the bereaved get some sleep, so they all mysteriously vanish at about midnight. Also, many don’t feel that the boisterous atmosphere of a poker game goes with a funeral, so these are becoming fewer and fewer.

Hopefully this rather longish post is enough to allay pre-funeral anxiety and maybe even stave off a faux pas or two. If you are interested in more traditional funeral practices, I would recommend 임권택’s movie 《축제 Festival》 starring that Mr. 안 and his 성기.



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동해몰과 백두산이 마르고 닳도록

Not long ago the Sanchon Hunjang posted about a poem by 황진이 that spoke of how she and her love kept missing each other in their dream visits. Then this morning I was reminded of another verse that is similar in tone and message. Fortuitous timing, no?

近來安否問如何, These days are you well or not? I ask how you are--
月到紗窓妾恨多. As the moon reaches my silk [curtained] window, this wife’s resentment is great.
若使夢魂行有迹, If the dream spirit I send only left footprints,
門前石路半成沙. The stone path before your door would be half turned to sand.

☞ 近: 가까울 근, 來: 올 래, 安: 편안할 안, 否: 아닐 부, 問: 물을 문, 如: 같을 여, 何: 어찌 하,
月: 달 월, 到: 다다를 도, 紗: 깁 사, 窓: 창문 창, 妾: 첩 첩, 恨: 한할 한, 多: 많을 다,
若: 같을 약, 使: 부릴 사, 夢: 꿈 몽, 魂: 넋 혼, 行: 다닐 행, 有: 있을 유, 迹: 자취 적,
門: 문 문, 前: 앞 전, 石: 돌 석, 路: 길 로, 半: 반 반, 成: 이룰 성, 沙: 모래 사.

In her dreams, she has gone to see her love so many times that, if her dream self only had physical feet, she would have worn those paving stones nearly to sand already.

I said "she." And the persona in the poem is clearly a woman, as a male persona can't refer to himself with that humelific female pronoun "妾." Indeed, this poem was written by a woman, 이옥봉 (c. 17th century). But there's that Korean poem/song (Korean, as in it's in a Korean genre, not Chinese) 思美人曲 사미인곡 that talks in the persona of a jilted woman longing for her fickle love. That poem was written by a certain Mister 정철 (1536-1593) ... and it takes its name from an even older poem/song, called, (surprisingly enough) 思美人曲, that is recorded in the 《楚辭 초사》.

☞ 思: 생각 사, 美: 아름다울 미, 人: 사람 인, 曲: 굽을 곡, 楚: 가시나무 초, 辭: 말 사.

Turns out that there is this popular tradition that goes waaaay back where the author writes from the point of view of a woman who had been jilted by her love and using the situation as parallel to an official who is loyal to his king and wants to serve the king, but has been put out to pasture because the king doesn't see his (her?) heart. Usually backstabbing sycophants also figure in the scene of the author's dismissal.

The next time somebody misunderstands you, write them a long letter in the persona of a woman whose lover had suspected she is not true, as a metaphor for the situation. Then send it. When they come to lock you up for being a homosexual psychotic stalker, explain how it's an ancient Chinese tradition. Best to leave out the part about how you've sent your spirit over to his house so many times that you could've worn the asphalt away, though... ^^



Just stay away from the yellowed snow

黃眞伊 황진이(?-?) is one of a handful of famous women that lived during the Chosŏn Dynasty (1392-1910). 황 was a 기생 who is widely respected because she was supposed to have been beautiful (enough to seduce a senior Buddhist monk to break his vows of celebacy, but depending on how long it had been since he'd been with a woman, that may or may not have required much beauty^^), witty, educated, bright and because she walked to the beat her own drummer.
☞ 黃: 누를 황, 眞: 참 진, 伊: 저 이.

Like so many figures that have become legend, it is impossible to winnow fact from embellishment. At any rate, there are 6 or so verses each of 시조 and Chinese poetry 한시 attributed to her that still survive (the exact number depends on who is counting).

One of those verses is the following, which has an especially intriguing second line.

相思相見只憑夢, Thinking of each other and seeing each other, we only rely on dreams--
儂訪歡時歡訪儂. But when I go to visit my love, my love has come to visit me.
願使遙遙他夜夢, I want to send, across the distance, his night's dream,
一時同作路中逢. That we start at the same time and meet mid-way.

☞ 相: 서로 상, 思: 생각 사, 見: 볼 견, 只: 다만 지, 憑: 기댈 빙, 夢: 꿈 몽,
儂: 나 농, 訪: 찾을 방, 歡: 기뻐할 환 ※ According to the 《한어대자전》, this word was commonly used, along with 儂, in old Music Bureau style poetry as a form of address used between lovers, 時: 때 시,
願: 바랄 원, 使: 부릴 사, 遙: 멀 요, 他: 다를 타, 夜: 밤 야,
一: 한 일, 時: 때 시, 同: 한가지 동, 作: 지을 작, 路: 길 로, 中: 가운데 중, 逢: 만날 봉.

She keeps going to visit her love, but he is not home because he has gone to her house to see her. It's like the old-time version of telephone tag. The original line is also clever because of the way it mirrors around the word "when 時."

Here is another poem 황 is credited with, this one drafted at a farewell dinner.

月下梧桐盡, Under the moon, the paulownia exhausts [its leaves];
霜中野菊黃. In the frost, wild chrysanthemums yellow.
樓高天一尺, The loftbuilding is high: within a foot of heaven;
人醉酒千觴. People are rapt on a thousand goblets of wine.
流水和琴冷, The flowing water harmonizes with the coolness of the lute;
梅花入笛香. Apricot blossoms enter the fragrance of the flute.
明朝相別後, Tomorrow morning, after we part from each other,
情與碧波長. [My] emotion will be as long as the blue waves.

☞ 月: 달 월, 下: 아래 하, 梧: 오동 오, 桐: 오동 동, 盡: 다할 진,
霜: 서리 상, 野: 들 야, 菊: 국화 국, 樓: 누각 루, 高: 높을 고, 天: 하늘 천, 尺: 자 척,
人: 사람 인, 醉: 취할 취, 酒: 술 주, 千: 일천 천, 觴: 술잔 상,
流: 흐를 류, 水: 물 수, 和: 화할 화, 琴: 거문고 금, 冷: 찰 랭,
梅: 매화 매, 花: 꽃 화, 入: 들 입, 笛: 피리 적, 香: 향기 향,
明: 밝을 명, 朝: 아침 조, 別: 다를 별, 後: 뒤 후,
情: 뜻 정, 與: 더불 여, 碧: 푸를 벽, 波: 물결 파, 長: 길 장.

There is an interesting ambiguity in the second line. It is clear that the verse reads "In the frost, wild chrysanthemums 'yellow 黃,'" the question is what it means to "yellow." If we were talkig about a tree or another type of flower, this would be a pretty unamiguous "wither." The problem is that, since chrysanthemums are yellow when they are in bloom, it could also mean "bloom in a pretty shade of yellow." Indeed, you can find translators on both sides of the fence, with some saying "fade," while others say "bloom prettily."

I discovered that it may be okay to just sit solidly on the fence. Just say that it obviously refers to the situation where some chrysanthemums have already withered, while others are in bloom. Behold:

I fear that rendering this in English, however, is bound to yield a clumsy monster.



Howzat again?

The Sanchon Hunjang really likes the jasmine tea that they serve in the Chinese restaurants (I also love 철관음 녹차 or 국화차 that you get in China, too, but that's another post). I like it so much that I bought a HUGE tin of jasmine tea and that's what we drink in the Sanchon instead of 보리차. Weak jasmine tea.

So imagine my excitement when I go to the convenience store and discover they have a new beverage available for consumption. It even has three varieties and comes in a really cool, shaped aluminum can:

Of course I honed straight in on the jasmine variety. SCORE!!

I found the tea strong for my tastes. Waaaaaaaaaaaay too strong. So I was taking a break between sips so my mouth could recover, and looking at the package. The blue color is nice and the design is attractive. The shape of the bottle is especially intriguing.

Oh and what's this? It has some lettering on the side. It's Chinese, with a helpful translation.
[茶 愛 人]
차 사 사
茶 랑 람
를 愛 人

☞ 茶: 차 차(or 다), 愛: 사랑 애, 人: 사람 인.

Um... 茶愛人 = "차를 사랑하는 사람"? I suppose someone could try to concoct this into something like "tea-lover," but that seems like a real stretch. Hey, 동원, shouldn't we have put 愛茶[之]人? 'Cause "tea loves people" is a bit out there. I guess that's what happens when people who failed middle school 한문 class go on to major in marketing...

I still like the bottle, though. I'm keeping that one on my desk. And I'll continue to buy the product. Just remember to dilute it with water before I drink.



At last, a good reason to learn Chinese

It's apparently dyslexia resistant. I guess, to be fair, it's not just Chinese. They include Japanese, too. The theory is that the use of letters that represent individual sounds, while a strength for most readers, are the source of the problem for dyslexics. It's easier for them to read the syllable-length units of Chinese/Japanese.

I wonder what this means for Korean, where they have letters to represent each individual sound, but they write them as syllable units...

At any rate, here are two articles: the simplified one for the layman, and the complified*) one for the specialist.

*) In honor of a gentleman that the Sanchon Hunjang heard about many years ago who was explaining the different Chinese writing systems in use in Hong Kong and the Mainland when he said, "In China we have two different kind of characters. In the mainland they have 'simplified characters,' and in Hong Kong we have 'complified characters.'" complified...ㅋㅋㅋ


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