Font reform

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A writing reform is usually a state intervention in the writing habits of a language community, usually with a political background. Every writing reform means an irritation in the language community. Comprehensive writing reforms were the changes made by the People's Republic of China in the 1950s to the existence and form of characters , the conversion of many peoples of the Soviet Union to the Cyrillic script , and the abolition of the Arabic script in Turkey under Kemal Ataturk .

The writing reform changes the writing system - in contrast to the spelling reform, in which only the spelling of individual words in the same written language is changed.

Font reform of Charlemagne

See also: Science at the time of Charlemagne

Instead of the different letter forms that emerged in the various European cultural areas in post-ancient times, the national scripts, a clear and easily legible script, the Carolingian minuscule , appeared at the instigation of Charlemagne in the 8th century . Since Karl is said to have been personally dissatisfied with the spelling in his age, he suggested the introduction of punctuation marks that should make reading easier: the point (colon) and the comma or virgula . There was also a question mark ; However, this was only brought into its current form at a later time. The character spacing was also systematized for the first time: a simple one between letters, a double between words and a triple between sentences. The feed at the beginning of a paragraph was also the rule as the use of lowercase letters ( lowercase ) in addition to the capital letters ( capital letters ).

Writing reform in China

In 1955, a major writing reform took place in the People's Republic of China , in the course of which a simplification of most of the commonly used characters was made (introduction of the abbreviations ). The aim of this reform was to make it easier for the population to learn to read and write . The Chinese script has more than 70,000 characters.

Font reform in Japan

Immediately after the Meiji Restoration ( 1868 ), the discussion about writing reform began. All sides had a strengthening of Japan in mind, but some had high hopes for the adoption of the Latin alphabet , while others advocated limiting the number of kanji and still others considered the exclusive use of kana to be the best solution.

Ultimately, only details were reformed when the Ministry of Education issued the Tōyō Kanji List in 1946, recommending that the use of Kanji be restricted to those listed in 1850. In the same year, the Kana transcription of words was adapted to their modern pronunciation ( Gendai Kanazukai ; insofar a spelling reform, not a writing reform). In 1956, the Language Council published a list to replace characters that were not on the Tōyō Kanji list with their simplified equivalents there. In 2010, the number of Kanji to be used was expanded to 2136 Jōyō Kanji , with further Kanji ( Jinmeiyō Kanji ) being permitted for personal names by the Ministry of Justice 863 (as of 2017 ). When using kanji that are not among the jōyō kanji, pronunciation are mostly to clarify Furigana added.

Writing reform in Mongolia

In 1941 a reform of the writing was carried out in Mongolia . The Cyrillic alphabet was adopted . After the dissolution of socialism, one recalls the cultural heritage and is about to reintroduce the Mongolian script .

Writing reforms in Russia

The Russian Tsar Peter the Great carried out a script reform from 1708–1710 . The formal language of the characters was clearly based on Western classical antiqua and crossed out certain character shapes on a document that is still preserved and signed today.

The Russian Cyrillitsa was simplified by the writing reform during the October Revolution of 1917 . In the Soviet Union , the non-scripted languages, as well as the languages ​​written in Arabic or Mongolian before the revolution, were first converted to a Latin alphabet in the 1920s and to a Cyrillic alphabet in the second half of the 1930s - each with additional letters that reflect the specifics of a given language - changed. However, some scripts such as the Armenian and Georgian alphabets were preserved.

Writing reform in Turkey

When exchanging correspondence in Turkey in 1928 , Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had the Arabic script replaced by the Latin alphabet. He based himself on German , French and Romanian , which is why the letters Ü and Ö, the cedilla Ç and the Ş are used in today's Turkish alphabet .