ㄌㄨㄛ . ㄨㄣ . ㄏㄨㄟ

Taiwanese keyboard

At the end of the most draining day, a couple of co-workers and I forsaked Friday afternoon beers to geek out in the biggest way.

I came across them to see they had lined up their laptops side-to-side and were comparing their Chinese Windows – Taiwanese version vs. Mainland Chinese version. Without question, I sided with the TW version. ;) They use traditional characters.

This lead to me quizzing them at writing the most complicated characters I could think of, debating the aesthetic merits of traditional characters, making them race at inputting Chinese characters*, and me teasing Mainland guy for, well, being from the Mainland!

Sometimes I feel like a sponge for learning about my culture – that in every second-generation Chinese-Canadian family you’ll have one sibling who cares for the culture that is fast slipping away while the other has found something else to be passionate about. Sometimes I feel like I should have majored in linguistics or been one of those Asian girls doing Asian studies. For the latter, writing a dissertation would be like hashing out my autobiography and, well, I must be a sucker for pain and want to study something difficult and gritty and write my memoirs on the side.

* I have long since known about one form of Chinese input from typing pinyin and selecting from the short-list of characters that match. Jess introduced me to zhuyin, the Taiwanese method of stringing together partial characters mapped to familiar pinyin constructs. I have long since wondered what the squiggles on a Chinese keyboard meant. (Today’s post title is my name in “Taiwanese”/zhuyin.) Ying showed me the nutter way of inputting characters by stringing together radicals mapped to your keyboard keys where even if a character has many components, four keystrokes is all you need to retrieve any character without ambiguity. The Chinese are simply brilliant!