Chinese writing system

System of symbols used to write the Chinese language.

Chinese writing is fundamentally logographic: there is an exact correspondence between a single symbol, or character, in the script and a morpheme. Each character, no matter how complex, is fit into a hypothetical rectangle of the same size. The Chinese script is first attested in divinatory inscriptions incised on bone or tortoise shells dating from the Shang dynasty. Early forms of characters were often clearly pictorial or iconic. Shared elements of characters, called radicals, provide a means of classifying Chinese writing. It is thought that an ordinary literate Chinese person can recognize 3,000–4,000 characters. Efforts have been made to reduce the number of characters and to simplify their form, though the fact that they can be read by a speaker of any Chinese language and their inextricable link with China's 3,000-year-old culture makes abandonment of the system unlikely. Chinese characters have also been adapted to write Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chinese writing — Introduction       basically logographic writing system, one of the world s great writing systems.       Like Semitic writing in the West, Chinese script was fundamental to the writing systems in the East. Until relatively recently, Chinese… …   Universalium

  • Writing system — Predominant scripts at the national level, with selected regional and minority scripts. Alphabet Latin Cyrillic Latin Greek …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese writing system — System of modified Chinese characters used for writing the Japanese language. The Japanese developed a mixed system, partly logographic (based on the Chinese writing system) and partly syllabic. In the 9th or 10th century two sets of syllabic… …   Universalium

  • Japanese writing system — Infobox Writing system name=Japanese languages=Japanese language type = Alternative typedesc = utilizes both Logographic (Kanji) and Syllabic (Hiragana, Katakana) characters time = 4th century AD to present fam1=Chinese fam2=Oracle Bone Script… …   Wikipedia

  • List of languages by writing system — This article is a list of languages sorted by writing system (by alphabetical order).Arabic alphabet*Arabic *Azeri (Iran) *Balochi *Berber *Fulani (on occasion) *Hausa (on occasion) *Kanuri (on occasion) *Kashmiri *Kazakh in China *Kurdish (Iran… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese character — Chinese pic=Hanzi.svg!200px picc Traditional Chinese (hanzi, kanji, hanja, and hán tự) Right: Chinese character in Simplified Chinese s=汉字 t=漢字 kanji=漢字 p=Audio|zh han4zi4.ogg|Hànzì j=hon3 zi6 poj=Hàn jī teo=hang3 ri7 lmz=IPA| [høz] hiragana=かんじ… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese character classification — Chinese characters Scripts Precursors · Oracle bone script · Bronze script · Seal script (large, small) · Clerical script · Cu …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese script styles — Chinese characters Scripts Precursors · Oracle bone script · Bronze script · Seal script (large, small) · Clerical script · …   Wikipedia

  • writing systems — Chinese characters (sinographs, logographs), have a known history of approximately 3,200 years, with the earliest forms visible on the so called oracle bones used by Shang diviners to query the future. At origin somewhat pictographic, this aspect …   Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture

  • writing — /ruy ting/, n. 1. the act of a person or thing that writes. 2. written form: to commit one s thoughts to writing. 3. that which is written; characters or matter written with a pen or the like: His writing is illegible. 4. such characters or… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.