Over time they have been standardized, simplified, and stylized to make them easier to write, and their derivation is therefore not always obvious. Examples include rì for "sun yuè for "moon and mù for "tree" or "wood". There is no concrete number for the proportion of modern characters that are pictographic in nature; however, xu shen placed approximately 4 of characters in this category. Simple ideograms edit zhǐshìzì also dream called simple indicatives, this small category contains characters that are direct iconic illustrations. Examples include shàng "up" and xià "down originally a dot above and below a line. Compound ideograms edit / huìyìzì also translated as logical aggregates or associative compounds, these characters have been interpreted as combining two or more pictographic or ideographic characters to suggest a third meaning. Commonly cited examples include "rest" (composed of the pictograms "person" and "tree and "good" (composed of "woman" and "child.
Principles of formation edit Excerpt from a 1436 primer on Chinese characters main article: Chinese character classification evolution of pictograms Chinese characters represent words of the language using several strategies. A few characters, including some of the most commonly used, were originally pictograms, which depicted the objects denoted, or ideograms, in which meaning was expressed iconically. The vast majority were written using the rebus principle, in which a character for a similarly sounding word was either simply borrowed or (more commonly) extended with a disambiguating semantic marker to form a phono-semantic compound character. The traditional six-fold classification ( liùshū / "six writings was first described by the scholar xu shen in the postface of his dictionary Shuowen jiezi in 100. While this analysis is sometimes problematic and arguably fails to reflect the complete nature of the Chinese writing system, it has been perpetuated by its long history and pervasive use. Pictograms edit xiàngxíngzì pictograms make up only a small portion of Chinese characters. Characters in this class derive from pictures of the objects they denote.
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For example, many additional readings have the middle Chinese departing tone, the major source of the 4th tone in modern Standard Chinese. Scholars now believe that this tone is the reflex of an Old Chinese *-s suffix, with a range of semantic functions. For example, / has readings oc *drjon mc drjwen mod. Chuán 'to transmit' and *drjons drjwenh zhuàn 'a record'. (Middle Chinese forms are given in Baxter's transcription, in which H denotes the departing tone.) has readings *maj ma mó 'to grind' and *majs mah mò 'grindstone'.
has readings *sjuk sjuwk sù 'to stay overnight' and *sjuks sjuwh xiù 'celestial "mansion. has readings *hljot sywet shuō 'speak' and *hljots sywejh shuì 'exhort'. Another common alternation is between voiced and voiceless initials (though the voicing distinction has disappeared on most modern varieties). This is believed to reflect an ancient prefix, but scholars disagree on whether the voiced or voiceless form is the original root. For example, / has readings *kens kenh jiàn 'to see' and *gens henh xiàn 'to appear'. has readings *prats pæjh bài reporter 'to defeat' and *brats bæjh bài 'to be defeated'. (In this case the pronunciations have converged in Standard Chinese, but not in some other varieties.) has readings *tjat tsyet zhé 'to bend' and *djat dzyet shé 'to break by word bending'.
It has been estimated that over two thirds of the 3,000 most common words in modern Standard Chinese are polysyllables, the vast majority of those being disyllables. The most common process has been to form compounds of existing words, written with the characters of the constituent words. Words have also been created by adding affixes, reduplication and borrowing from other languages. Polysyllabic words are generally written with one character per syllable. A in most cases the character denotes a morpheme descended from an Old Chinese word.
Many characters have multiple readings, with instances denoting different morphemes, sometimes with different pronunciations. In modern Standard Chinese, one fifth of the 2,400 most common characters have multiple pronunciations. For the 500 most common characters, the proportion rises. 17 Often these readings are similar in sound and related in meaning. In the Old Chinese period, affixes could be added to a word to form a new word, which was often written with the same character. In many cases the pronunciations diverged due to subsequent sound change.
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They typically have similar meanings, but often quite different essay pronunciations. In other languages, most significantly today in Japanese and sometimes in Korean, characters are used to represent Chinese loanwords, to represent native words independently of the Chinese pronunciation (e.g., kunyomi in Japanese and as purely phonetic elements based on their pronunciation in the historical variety. These foreign adaptations of Chinese pronunciation are known as Sino-xenic pronunciations and have been useful in the reconstruction of Middle Chinese. Contents Function edit When the script was first used in the late 2nd millennium bc, words of Old Chinese were generally monosyllabic, and each character denoted a single word. Increasing numbers of polysyllabic words have entered the language from the western Zhou period to the present homework day. It is estimated that about 2530 of the vocabulary of classic texts from the warring States period was polysyllabic, though these words were used far less commonly than monosyllables, which accounted for 8090 of occurrences in these texts. The process has accelerated over the centuries as phonetic change has increased the number of homophones.
Teaching of Chinese characters in south Korea starts in the 7th grade and continues until the 12th grade; a total of 1,800 characters are taught, though these characters are used only in certain cases (on names, signs, academic papers, historical writings, etc.) and are slowly. In Old Chinese (and Classical Chinese, which is based on it most words were monosyllabic and there was a close correspondence between characters and words. In modern Chinese (esp. Mandarin Chinese characters do not necessarily correspond to words; indeed the majority of Chinese words today consist of two or more characters because of the merging and loss of sounds in the Chinese language over time. 7 Rather, a character almost always corresponds to a single syllable that is also a morpheme. 8 However, there are a few exceptions to this general correspondence, including bisyllabic morphemes (written with two characters bimorphemic syllables (written with two characters) and cases where a single character represents a polysyllabic word or phrase. 9 Modern Chinese has many homophones ; thus the same spoken syllable may be represented by many characters, depending on meaning. A single character may also have a range of meanings, or sometimes quite distinct meanings; occasionally these correspond to different pronunciations. Cognates in the several varieties of Chinese are generally written with the same character.
of thousands, though most of them are minor graphic variants encountered only in historical texts. Studies in China have shown that functional literacy in written Chinese requires a knowledge of between three and four thousand characters. In Japan, 2,136 are taught through secondary school (the Jōyō kanji hundreds more are in everyday use. Due to post-wwii simplifications of Kanji in Japan, the Chinese characters used in Japan today are distinct from those used in China in several respects. There are various national standard lists of characters, forms, and pronunciations. Simplified forms of certain characters are used in mainland China, singapore, and Malaysia ; the corresponding traditional characters are used in taiwan, hong Kong, macau, and to a limited extent in south Korea. In Japan, common characters are written in post-wwii japan-specific simplified forms ( shinjitai which are closer to traditional forms than Chinese simplifications, while uncommon characters are written in Japanese traditional forms ( kyūjitai which are virtually identical to Chinese traditional forms. In south Korea, when Chinese characters are used, they are in traditional form, essentially identical to those used in taiwan and Hong Kong where the official writing system is traditional Chinese.
Japanese writing system, where they are known. They were formerly used in the writing. Korean (where they are known as, hanja vietnamese (in a system known as, chữ nôm ) and. Zhuang (in a system known as, sawndip ). Collectively, they are known as cjk characters. Vietnamese is sometimes also included, paperless making the abbreviation cjkv. Chinese characters constitute the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world.
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Logographic writing system used in the sinosphere region. Unless otherwise specified, Chinese text in this article is written in the format. Simplified Chinese traditional Chinese, pinyin. If the simplified and Traditional Chinese characters are identical, they are written only once. For the species of moth known as "Chinese Character see. Chinese characters ( simplified Chinese : ; traditional Chinese : ; pinyin : hànzì ; literally: "Han characters are logograms developed for the writing of, chinese. 2 3 4, they have been adapted to write a number of other Asian languages. They remain a key mom component of the.