The system was not intended to replace the logographic script but to indicate the sounds of graphs in dictionaries and to supplement graphs on such things as road signs and posters. Simplification, however, tends to make the characters more similar in appearance; thus they are more easily confused and the value of the reform is limited.
The Chinese writing system is non-alphabetic. A second reform simplified the characters by reducing the number of strokes used in writing them.
This acrophonic principle played a similar role in the development of hieroglyphic and cuneiform writing.
The relation between the written Chinese language and its oral form is very different from the analogous relation between written and spoken English. The Chinese language has clearly distinguished syllables that are easily recognized in speech and hence easily represented by a sign.
The earliest writing consisted of carved inscriptions. In English, by contrast, writing is often thought of as a reflection, albeit imperfect, of speech. Consequently, as the relations between the characters and what they represent are largely unknown to readers and writers of the language, the graphs are seen as groups of lines and angles that make up repeated visual units, just as readers of English recognize Chinese word writing words without analyzing them into their constituent letters.
But, of course, such a large number of graphs imposes a major obstacle to learning to read and write.
The earliest known inscriptions, each of which contains between 10 and 60 characters incised on pieces of bone and tortoiseshell that Chinese word writing used for oracular divination, date from the Shang or Yin dynasty 18th—12th century bcbut, by then it was already a highly developed system, essentially similar to its present form.
First, they may double as loanwords. A piece of written text read orally is often quite incomprehensible to a listener because of the large number of homophones.
Yet there is no similarity in the way they are written. However, because of the enormous number of Chinese words that sound the same, to have carried through the phonographic principle would have resulted in a writing system in which many of the words could be read in more than one way.
The phonetic element is usually a contracted form of another character with the same pronunciation as that of the word intended. Moreover, one morpheme in Chinese is more or less equivalent to a word. The second use of the basic characters was in combination with other characters to make up complex characters.
The problem is intensified by the fact that neither the sound property nor the semantic property of the characters is of much help in the recognition of a character. The earliest graphs were schematic pictures of what they represented; the graph for man resembled a standing figure, that for woman depicted a kneeling figure.
The limitation is that a language that has thousands of morphemes would require thousands of characters, and, as the characters are formed from simple lines in various orientations and arrangements, they came to possess great complexity.
That is, a written character would be extremely ambiguous. Chinese characters are arranged in dictionaries according to the radicals of which they are composed or with which they are traditionally associated.
Assessment Most scholars now believe that neither the logographic Chinese writing system nor the alphabetic Indo-European writing system possesses any overall advantage.
One part represents the sound of the syllable, the other the semantic category of the morpheme; e. The Chinese writing system requires more memorization, while the Latin alphabet requires more analysis and synthesis; both appear to be relatively optimal devices for the transcription of their respective, very different, languages.
Chinese script, as mentioned above, is logographic; it differs from phonographic writing systems—whose characters or graphs represent units of sound—in using one character or graph to represent a morpheme.Chinese Character Tutorial If you're interested in reading and writing Chinese characters, there's no better place to get started than with the numbers They are quite simple to write, useful to know, and are exactly the same in both the traditional and simplified writing systems.
The Chinese writing system is non-alphabetic. It applies a specific character to write each meaningful syllable or each nonmeaningful syllabic that is part of a polysyllabic word.
You have the opportunity to contribute ways that you remember Chinese characters and photos of your Chinese writing as you learn from other students of Chinese.
Click the “Learn More” button next to any character to see. Making words from Chinese characters you already know is easy and really fun. This is where you get to start snapping the lego blocks together and build that Pirate Island!
The Logic of Chinese Writing. Here are some wonderful examples of the simplicity and logic of Chinese using the character 车 which roughly translates as “vehicle”. to write 中国, enter "z h o n g g u o (space)".
to write 我要桂林, enter "w o (space) y a o (space) g u i l i n (space)". to write 美女, enter "m e i (5) n v (space)". English to Chinese dictionary with Mandarin pinyin - learn Chinese faster with MDBG! Dictionary content from CC-CEDICT Simple Tip: In the word dictionary, the Chinese sentence lookup can lookup whole Chinese sentences, automatically splitting it into separate words.Download