ZHOU YOUGUANG (Chinese : 周有光; pinyin : _Zhōu Yǒuguāng_; 13
January 1906 – 14 January 2017) was a Chinese economist , banker,
linguist , sinologist , publisher, and supercentenarian , known as the
Pinyin ", a system for the romanization of Mandarin
Chinese , which was officially adopted by the government of the
People\'s Republic of
China in 1958, the International Organization
for Standardization (ISO) in 1982, and the
United Nations in 1986.
* 1 Early life and career
* 2 Designing
* 3 Later activities
* 4 Books
* 5 Gallery
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 Further reading
* 9 External links
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Zhou Youguang and wife Zhang Yunhe in 1938
Zhou was born as ZHOU YAOPING in
Jiangsu Province, on 13
January 1906 to a Qing Dynasty official. At the age of ten, he and
his family moved to
Jiangsu Province. In 1918, he entered
Changzhou High School , during which time he first took an interest in
linguistics . He graduated in 1923 with honours .
Zhou enrolled the same year in St. John\'s University, Shanghai where
he majored in economics and took supplementary coursework in
linguistics . He was almost unable to attend due to his family's
poverty, but friends and relatives fundraised 200 yuan for the
admission fee, and also helped him pay for tuition . He left during
May Thirtieth Movement of 1925 and transferred to Guanghua
University , from which he graduated in 1927.
On 30 April 1933, Zhou married Zhang Yunhe (张允和), and the
couple went to Japan for Zhou's studies. Zhou started as an exchange
student at the
University of Tokyo
University of Tokyo , later transferring to Kyoto
University due to his admiration of the Japanese Marxist economist
Hajime Kawakami , who was a professor there at the time. Kawakami's
arrest for joining the outlawed
Japanese Communist Party in January
1933, however, meant that Zhou could not be his student. Zhou's son,
Zhou Xiaoping (周晓平), was born in 1934. Later, the couple also
had a daughter, Zhou Xiaohe (周小禾).
In 1937, due to the outbreak of the
Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War , Zhou
and his family moved to the wartime capital
Chongqing , and his
daughter died. He worked for
Sin Hua Bank before entering public
service as a deputy director at the National Government's Ministry of
Economic Affairs, agricultural policy bureau (经济部农本局).
After the 1945 Japanese defeat in World War II, Zhou went back to work
for Sin Hua where he was stationed overseas: first in New York City
and then in London. During his time in the United States, he met
Albert Einstein twice.
Zhou participated for a time in the
China Democratic National
Construction Association , but when the People\'s Republic was
established in 1949 he returned to Shanghai, where he taught
Fudan University for several years.
In 1955, the government placed Zhou at the head of a committee to
Chinese language to increase literacy . While other
committees oversaw the tasks of promulgating
Mandarin Chinese as the
national language and creating simplified Chinese characters , Zhou's
committee was charged with developing a romanization to represent the
pronunciation of Chinese characters. Zhou said the task took about
three years, and was a full-time job.
Pinyin was made the official
romanization in 1958, although (as now) it was only a pronunciation
guide, not a substitute writing system. Zhou based
Pinyin on several
preexisting systems: the phonemes were inspired by
Gwoyeu Romatzyh of
Latinxua Sin Wenz
Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, while the diacritic markings
representing tones were inspired by zhuyin .
In April 1979, the International Organization for Standardization
Warsaw held a technology conference. Speaking on behalf of
the People\'s Republic of
China , Zhou proposed the use of the "Hanyu
Pinyin System" as the international standard for the spelling of
Chinese. Following a vote in 1982 the scheme became
ISO 7098 .
In the modern era
Pinyin has largely replaced older romanization
systems such as
Wade-Giles . It is the principal vehicle for most
Chinese language computer input .
Cultural Revolution , Zhou was sent to live in the
countryside and to be "re-educated ", as were many other intellectuals
at that time. He spent two years at a labour camp.
After 1980, Zhou worked with Liu Zunqi and
Chien Wei-zang on
translating the _
Encyclopædia Britannica _ into Chinese, earning him
the nickname "Encyclopedia Zhou". Zhou continued writing and
publishing after the creation of Pinyin; for example, his book
_Zhongguo Yuwen de Shidai Yanjin_ (中国语文的时代演进),
translated into English by Zhang Liqing, was published in 2003 as _The
Historical Evolution of Chinese Languages and Scripts_. From 2000, he
wrote ten books, of which some have been banned in
In 2011, during an interview with NPR, Zhou said that he hoped to see
China changed its position on the Tiananmen Square killings in
1989 , an event he said had ruined
Deng Xiaoping 's reputation as a
reformer. He became an advocate of political reform, and was critical
of the Communist Party of
China 's attacks on traditional Chinese
culture when it came into power.
In early 2013, both Zhou and his son were interviewed by Dr. Adeline
Yen Mah at their residence in
Beijing . Mah documented the visit in a
video and presented Zhou with a
Pinyin game she created for the iPad.
Zhou became a supercentenarian on 13 January 2016 when he reached the
age of 110. He was one of the few supercentenarians known for reasons
other than their longevity.
Zhou died on 14 January 2017 at his home in
Beijing , a day after his
111th birthday; no cause was given. His wife had died in 2002, and
his son had died in 2015. At the time, he was the seventh-oldest
living man and the oldest living person in China. He is one of the 100
world\'s verified oldest men in history .
This list is incomplete ; you can help by expanding it .
Zhou was the author of more than 40 books, some of them banned in
China and over 10 of them published after he turned 100 in 2005.
TITLE (SIMPLIFIED CHINESE )
Xīn zhōngguó de jīnróng wèntí
_China's financial problems_
Hànyǔ pīnyīn cíhuì
_Chinese phonetic alphabet glossary_
Zhōngguó pīnyīn wénzì yánjiū
_A study of Chinese phonetic alphabets_
Zīběn de yuánshǐ jīlěi
_Primitive accumulation of capital_
Zìmǔ de gùshì
_The alphabet's story_
Hànzì gǎigé gài lùn
_On the reform of Chinese characters_
Diànbào pīnyīn huà
Hànyǔ shǒuzhǐ zìmǔ lùn jí
_Essays on Chinese Sign Language_
Hànzì shēng páng dúyīn biàn chá
_Phonetic components of Chinese characters: a sound dictionary_
Pīnyīn huà wèntí
_Problems with Pinyin_
Zhōngguó yǔwén de xiàndàihuà
_Modernization of the Chinese language_
Shìjiè zìmǔ jiǎn shǐ
_A brief history of the world's alphabets_
Xīn yǔwén de jiànshè
_Constructing new languages_
Zhōngguó yǔwén zònghéng tán
_Features of the Chinese language_
Hànyǔ pīnyīn fāng'àn jīchǔ zhīshì
_Fundamentals of Pinyin_
Wénhuà chàngxiǎng qǔ
_Songs about Chinese culture_
Shìjiè wénzì fāzhǎn shǐ
_History of the worldwide development of writing_
Zhōngguó yǔwén de shídài yǎnjìn
_The historical evolution of Chinese languages and scripts_
Bǐjiào wénzì xué chūtàn
_A tentative study of comparative philology_
Duō qíngrén bùlǎo
_Lovers do not get old_
Hànzì hé wénhuà wèntí
_Chinese characters and the question of culture_
Xīn shídài de xīn yǔwén
_The new language of the new era_
Rénlèi wénzì qiǎnshuō
_An introduction to human language_
Xiàndài wénhuà de chōngjíbō
_The shock wave of modern culture_
21 Shìjiè de huáyǔ hé huáwén
_21 Chinese languages, one Chinese script_
Zhōuyǒuguāng yǔwén lùn jí
_Collection of essays by
Zhou Youguang on the Chinese language_
Bǎi suì xīn gǎo
_One hundred years old, but publishing a new book_
Cháo wén dào jí
Shi bèi jí
Jīnrì huā kāi yòu yī nián
_Today a new year blooms_
Wǒ de rénshēng gùshi
_My life story_
逝年如水 - 周有光百年口述
Shì nián rúshuǐ - zhōuyǒuguāng bǎinián kǒushù
_"The years passed like water" - Zhou Youguang's oral recounting of
Zhou Youguang's former
Changzhou residence, now a historical site
An early photo of Zhou and his family
Zhou (right) posing with writer
Shen Congwen (center) and Gu Chuanjie
(顧傳玠) (left) in 1946
Zhou in 1947
Zhou and wife in 1953
Zhou Youguang at his home in
Beijing in 2012, aged 106
Yuen Ren Chao
* List of centenarians (educators, school administrators, social
scientists and linguists)
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ "Father of pinyin". _
China Daily_. 26
March 2009. Archived from the original on 21 Jul 2012. Retrieved 12
July 2009. Reprinted in part as Simon, Alan (21–27 Jan 2011).
"Father of Pinyin". _
China Daily Asia Weekly _. Hong Kong. Xinhua News
Agency. p. 20.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Branigan, Tania (21 February 2008). "Sound
Principles". _The Guardian_. Archived from the original on 21 Nov
2016. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Margalit Fox (14 January 2017).
"Zhou Youguang, Who Made Writing Chinese as Simple as ABC, Dies at
111". _The New York Times_. Archived from the original on January 20,
* ^ _A_ _B_ Bristow, Michael (22 March 2012). "The man who helped
\'simplify\' Chinese". _BBC News_. Archived from the original on
January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ 李怀宇 (8 December 2005).
百年风云笑谈中·南方社区·南方网" . _南方网_ (in
Chinese). Retrieved 15 January 2017.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ 金玉良 (2003).
"苏州杂志2003第2期-周有光忆学生时代" . _Journal of
Suzhou University_ (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 March 2016.
* ^ Ramsey, S. Robert (1989). _The Languages of China_. Princeton
University Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-691-01468-5 .
* ^ Rohsenow, John S. 1989. Fifty years of script and written
language reform in the PRC: the genesis of the language law of 2001.
In Zhou Minglang and Sun Hongkai, eds. _Language Policy In The
People's Republic Of China: Theory And Practice Since 1949_, p. 23
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Lim, Louisa (19 October 2011). "At 105, Chinese
Linguist Now A Government Critic".
NPR . Retrieved 19 October 2011.
* ^ Youguang Zhou 周有光. _The Historical Evolution of Chinese
Languages and Scripts; 中国语文的时代演进_, translated by
Zhang Liqing 张立青. Ohio State University National East Asian
Language Resource Center. 2003.
* ^ "Dr.
Adeline Yen Mah meets th