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Dictionary compiled by Taiwan, China talents released in Beijing

2012/02/09 14:34:00

Beijing, Feb. 8 (CNA) A new dictionary jointly compiled by scholars and experts from Taiwan and China made its first public appearance in Beijing Wednesday, highlighting the expansion of cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The dictionary, which includes common Mandarin Chinese words and phrases used in Taiwan and China, is part of a cross-strait cooperation project aimed at compiling and publishing Chinese language reference books and setting up a website that incorporates a database in the languages used in Taiwan and China.

The cooperation project was formed after Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou initiated the idea in 2008 that the two sides work together to compile a Chinese language dictionary.

Discussing the new book, the Chinese chief editor, Li Xingjian, acknowledged that there had been many different opinions between the Taiwanese and Chinese talents who cooperated on the compilation.

However, the differences were resolved through negotiations on an equal basis, he said. "We dropped those things that we couldn't reach an agreement on," he said.

Xu Jialu, the project's chief adviser, said though the two sides share the same language, after nearly six decades of little direct contact, the shared language now has many differences regarding the sound, form and meaning of the characters.

In Taiwan, people learn and use traditional Chinese characters, while people in China use simplified forms of the characters.

For example, Xu pointed out that computer software is called "Juan Jian" in China but "Juan Ti" in Taiwan.

By cooperating on the compilation of Chinese dictionaries, the two sides can eliminate their differences step by step, he said, touting the cooperation project as being significantly important in the promotion of cross-strait exchanges in the fields of economics, trade and culture.

The China version of the dictionary, which is already in print, contains more than 7,000 words and over 35,000 phrases. It is scheduled to be officially launched by the China High Education Press in June.

During the Beijing event, the Chinese side also launched a website, named the Databank of Chinese Language and Cultural Knowledge, that shares a database with the identically named website that Taiwan launched the same day.

There have been no direct, official links between Taiwan and China since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Since Ma assumed the presidency in 2008, he has been advocating closer cross-strait ties, which he regards as the only way to achieve lasting peace in the strait region.

(By Charles Kang and Elizabeth Hsu)