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The Density of CJK Writing

TODO: Pull subtitle into page object

Chinese writing is beautiful. It's a "logographic writing system^1^^". A fancy way of saying the written symbols primarily represent words (or parts of words) instead of sounds. That approach allows it to be much denser than English. Something I realized after picking up a new Twitter follower.

Take this Tweet^2^^ for example:

最近有科学家研究发现,人类最理想的身高是168厘米, 上下变动的范围可在167厘米至170厘米之间。研究指出, 身材高大的人血液循环路线较长,心脏负担也较重, 因此可能会对寿命有影响。矮个子体表面积相对较小, 日常的能量消耗较少,所需营养物质相应减少, 身体的耐受力较强。

It's 131 characters long. Nine shy of the Twitter's limit. After running it through Google Translate it becomes:

Recently, scientists found that the human ideal height is 168 cm, the upper and lower range of variation can be between 167-170 cm. Research indicates that tall people the blood circulation route is longer, it is also heavier burden on the heart, and therefore might affect life expectancy. Shorty body surface area is relatively small, less daily energy consumption, a corresponding reduction in the required nutrients, strong physical endurance.

That's 447 characters. More than 3x the length. I doubt the most efficient human translator/editor could get the same information across in English while staying under Twitter's 140 character limit.

It blew my mind a little to figure this out.

Debugging Stuff

I'm moving stuff around right now. All this below is helping me figure out where to put stuff

        -- title

The Density of CJK Writing


-- todo

[] Add note about what a CJK language is


-- p


Chinese writing is beautiful. 
It's a "logographic writing system^1^^". A fancy way of 
saying the written symbols primarily represent words 
(or parts of words) instead of sounds. That approach allows 
it to be much denser than English. Something I realized after 
picking up a new Twitter follower.

Take this Tweet^2^^ for example:

-- blockquote

 最近有科学家研究发现,人类最理想的身高是168厘米,
 上下变动的范围可在167厘米至170厘米之间。研究指出,
 身材高大的人血液循环路线较长,心脏负担也较重,
 因此可能会对寿命有影响。矮个子体表面积相对较小,
 日常的能量消耗较少,所需营养物质相应减少,
 身体的耐受力较强。

-- p

It's 131 characters long. Nine shy of the Twitter's limit. 
After running it through Google Translate it becomes:

-- blockquote

Recently, scientists found that the human ideal height 
is 168 cm, the upper and lower range of variation can 
be between 167-170 cm. Research indicates that tall 
people the blood circulation route is longer, it is 
also heavier burden on the heart, and therefore 
might affect life expectancy. Shorty body surface 
area is relatively small, less daily energy consumption, 
a corresponding reduction in the required nutrients, 
strong physical endurance.

-- p

That's 447 characters. More than 3x the length. 
I doubt the most efficient human translator/editor 
could get the same information across in English while 
staying under Twitter's 140 character limit.

It blew my mind a little to figure this out.


-- ref
-- url: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_writing_systems#Logographic_writing_systems
-- title: Wikipedia section on logographic writing systems

I used when writing this post.

-- ref
-- title: The original tweet
-- url: https://twitter.com/williamlong/status/572978037584752640

This is what got me thinking about all this.

-- ref
-- title: CJK Character
-- subtitle: Wikipedia
-- url: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CJK_characters


-- categories
-- Miscellaneous

-- metadata
-- date: 2015-09-04 00:00:00
-- id: 20en5n0o
-- status: draft 
-- type: post
-- site: aws