As you can imagine from other reviews, Hannas argue that (a) the Chinese writing system is ineffective and (b) it is an obstacle to genuine scientific creativity. I suspect that (a) is quite uncontroversial but (b) is an unsupported, biased claim. However, my primary complaint is not these points. Rather, I find out that his discussion on Hangul (the Korean writing system) is, sorry, quite ridiculous.
Here are his most problematic claims: (c) "... Hangul, while alphabetic, was like every other writing system in East Asia unable to escape the Sinistic paradigm that accords prominence to syllables and not words." (d) "Replacing Hangul with a Romanized Script would, moreover, solve certain problems associated with the former, such as (e) its non-use internationally; its (f) incompatibility with much foregin, alphabet-based computer software; (g) the relative inefficiency of Hangul computer input and output; and, (h) most important, the syllabic mentality that frustrates genuine writing reform and leaves the Korean language to the sinistic paradigm."
Let me focus on (c). I agree to Hannas' claim that the Chinese writing system is ineffective; for, you don't want to memorize tens of thousands of characters to write anything. However, this is mainly because it is not phonetic. Hannas claims that although phonetic, Hangul is somehow bad because it focuses upon syllables, not phonemes. But why? If there are too many syllables to memorize, then it can be ineffective for the same reason as the Chinese writing system is. But each Hangul syllable is parsed into phonetic characers, selected from only twenty four. Hannas seems to think that the syllabilistic structure itself is somehow intrinsically bad, for which he provides no argument.
His suggestion of replacig Hangul with a Roman system is even more laughable. Look at the reasons for his suggestion, (e)-(h). First, (e). It is true that Hangul is not used for any other language than Korean. However, it does a very good job for that langauge, and Hannas does not explain why we have to measure the efficiency of a writing system on the basis of anything other than its working for the intended language.
Second, (f). Hannas seems to have a reversed view about softwares: Rather than making them work for us, *we* should try to go along with them well. However, the truth is that nowadays, every widely used operating system was improved to support Hangul, and so the softwares came to serve the people, not the opposite.
Third, my last point also covers (g): In recent operaring systems, displaying a Hangul letter has become just as easy as displaying an English letter. And, typing Hangul texts is potentially more effective, because it is possible to design the system so that you can input the consonant and vowel at the same time.
Fourth, (h). Again, Hannas complains that somehow, syllabilistic writing system is intrinsically bad. My same objection: He provides no argument for that.
Finally, let me talk about (b), his claim that the Chinese writing system have kept the East Asian countries from scientific creativity. To defend this claim, he points out that historically, those countries have not made lots of contribution to science. But compare the following arguments:
Premise 1. Not many East Asian people have been good scientists.
Premise 2. If Premise 1, it is because of their poor writing system.
Conclusion. Not many East Asian people have been good scientists because of their poor writing system
Premise 1. Not many African Americans have been good scientists.
Premise 2. If Premise 1, it is because of their poor intelligence.
Conclusion. Not many African Americans have been good scientists because of their poor intelligence.
If you accept the first argument, why don't you accept the second?