字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 - [Narrator] There's no Chinese alphabet. Instead, each word is represented by a symbol or character. (air whooshing) - How on Earth did a language with tens of thousands of characters fit onto this keyboard? - [Narrator] Here is a world of communication, tailored for your needs of today and tomorrow. - [Narrator] What really accounts for China's meteoric rise as a major global power? - This is Shenzhen. It's a city in the south of China. I've actually been there. But back in the 1980s, this was just a sleepy fishing village with less than, like 100,000 people. Today, it is home to 12.5 million people, a giant metropolis with huge buildings and home to some of the largest tech companies on the planet. This city is emblematic of China's technological rise over the last 40 years. It's an explosion in technology and development that has really never happened before in human history. From an agrarian society to a technological powerhouse in just a couple of decades. - That's fast. - This almost didn't happen. China almost didn't become the technological powerhouse. And what held them back is something I have thought about a lot, which is this keyboard. This keyboard has like, 80 or so keys, and the Chinese language has like tens of thousands of characters. So how did they fit their language onto this keyboard? To answer that question, you have to dive deep into modern China, into Chairman Mao, into the divide between Taiwan and mainland China, who despite speaking the same language use very different typing methods, all because of geopolitics. It's a story of how China took a keyboard that was developed for a vastly different language system and mastered it, mastered it better than we did here in the West. It's a fascinating story of culture and history and technology, and I want to share it with you. - [Narrator] Here is China. - [Narrator] It's become a keystone of national economic policy. - [Narrator] A large part of China's population lives in large cities. - [Narrator] I really don't quite understand everything that's happening. (upbeat music) - To understand how Chinese speakers type on a keyboard like this, I talk to my friend Mangle Kuo, who's currently in quarantine in Taiwan. - I just came back and quarantine in Taiwan's quarantine hotel. - Oh, my gosh. Wow. Mangle has lived in both China and Taiwan. He's technologically savvy and helped me understand how people type, not just on their keyboard but on their phone. - So basically growing up as a Chinese or Taiwanese, you have to learn how to write those characters. That's kind of the first thing first. And then you learn the, like the pronunciation system behind all the characters. And in China, that's pinyin, and in Taiwan, that's zhuyin. - So let's break this down. Most languages are written with an alphabet. Each letter in that alphabet represents a sound. And when you string those sounds together, you make a word. It seems so intuitive as if like this is the only way to do it. But in Chinese, - There's another way. - Chinese uses complex characters for each word, so every word is a character. Each one of these characters represents a different thing, an object, the feeling, a concept, a verb. All in all, there're upwards of 70 or 80 thousand of these characters. This system was just fine. It worked in China for a really long time because you can use a brush or a pen to write stuff out. - I like that. It's like if it ain't broke, don't fix it. - This is the qwerty keyboard. It's called the qwerty keyboard because I mean, just look at it. This is the mechanism to which people not just communicate with each other, but code the world, the software and programs that we all use all the time. When this started to take over, China had a real problem. Listen, I need to just pause to tell you about something which is that investing money is hard, sometimes. And honestly, I'm like in my 30s now and I just sort of learning the art of investing and not really. The sponsor of today's video is the company called Acorns. What they do is they allow you to get started with investing with really small amounts of money to begin with. And they make it so that you can take your spare change from any transaction and automatically invest it in the background. So as you go about your day, like spending money on things it automatically invest into diversified portfolios that experts manage, so that you can actually start building an investment portfolio like in the background and without a ton of money. 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But it also gives you a 10-dollar bonus investment when you sign up. So you can sign up and start having 10 dollars in your portfolio. Overall, I believe in starting early with investing and Acorns is a fantastic way to get started with minimal effort and not a ton of money to get started. But you can just do it in the background. It's a fantastic way. So thank Acorns for sponsoring this video. Let's get back to the story. They had to figure out how to fit this onto this, and fast, because the world of computing started to explode in the 70s, and 80s, and 90s. - Hello, I'm Bill Gates. - Here in the United States, the qwerty keyboard was a very natural tool. We were able to use our alphabet and our symbols that we all are very used to, to develop programming languages so that we can make software. And soon, more and more computers were showing up into American homes. (pop songs from the '80s) - [Narrator] The Commodore 64 now in a family pack. - Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, China, a country of almost a billion people only had 3000 computers in the entire country. They were so far behind the West when it came to computer literacy. The Chinese government begins to freak out. And it's like, guys we're getting absolutely destroyed by the West because of this whole computer thing, and you're telling me that is because we can't fit our language onto this keyboard? Are you kidding me? What we're gonna do about it? So the Chinese government made this a huge priority. And they finally started to develop somethings that worked. (door opening) - I got it. (audience laughing) - The first major system of typing used the qwerty keyboard to build the shape of the characters. - We call it Cangjie. - Cangjie, and it was pretty darn complicated. - It's basically like, puzzles. - Like Legos. - Yeah, kind of, like a brick. You just put them together. I can write basic characters using that. - The system was clever but it was complicated and not very fast at first. Luckily, China had a wild card up its sleeve that will help get Chinese speakers typing on a qwerty keyboard. It had to do with this guy, Chairman Mao. - [Narrator] The great Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong. - History time, here we go. - [Narrator] The Communist Party's propaganda machine portrays the Chairman's Great Leap Forward as a dazzling success. - Mao was really bullish about modernizing China. And one of his pet project was scrapping the entire Chinese character system and replacing it with a Western-style alphabet that sounds out Chinese words, sort of like how we sound out our English or Italian or Spanish words. Now it was like learning thousands of Chinese characters is hard and complicated so why don't we just have a Latin or Romanized alphabet like the rest of the world. So by 1949, Mao was like ready to roll, scrapping the entire Chinese writing system in the name of a Roman alphabet. But then, one of its close buddies, former Communist dictator Joseph Stalin, convinced Mao not to totally kill off the Chinese characters. Stalin was like, dude, don't, dude you're gonna regret it. And Mao was like, fine. So he kept the Chinese characters as the main writing system but for teaching literacy in school, he developed a written alphabet called pinyin. - Pinyin, P-I-N-Y-I-N. - Where you can use the Roman letters to spell out Chinese words by the way that they sound. So right now you're typing out this sentence in Romanized charcters in the way that it would be phonetically spelt in Roman, like "wo" is W-O, right? - Yes. - Okay. So you typed it all out, - Yeah. - and down there it renders it, okay. Wow. So now if you want to write the word "beef", which is "niu-rou". - How to say "beef"? - I think "niu-rou". - "NIU-ROU" - I've no idea, "niu-rou", "niu". - "NIU-ROU" - "R-rao, niu-rao". I've no idea. Instead of memorizing these characters which means "beef", you can just spell it out by the way it sounds. This romanization of Chinese, again it's called pinyin would become really helpful years later when the Chinese government is trying to figure out how to get people to type on Western computers. But wait a minute. We can't go on before we mention a little bit of geopolitics. (canon firing) Okay, it's 1940s. Mao and his Communist revolutionaries are taking over mainland China in a bloody revolution and civil war. And the Chinese government that they overthrow and are fighting with, end up losing and retreating to an island nearby called Taiwan to continue with their non-Communist version of China. And they both think that they're the real China and they start this war that has never stopped and they're still fighting this war and they both think they're China. Anyway, that's absolutely a story I want to tell but I'm not going there. Now again blinders, we're talking about qwerty keyboards. - If we're trying to figure something out, now we need to focus, okay?