Chinese characters

ChineseChinese characterChinese:characterscharacterHanziChinese scriptHan charactersHanhànzì
Unless otherwise specified, Chinese text in this article is written in the format Simplified Chinese / Traditional Chinese, Pinyin.wikipedia
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Written Chinese

ChineseChinese writingChinese writing system
Chinese characters are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese.
Written Chinese comprises Chinese characters used to represent the Chinese language.

Japanese writing system

JapaneseJapanese charactersJapanese writing
They remain a key component of the Japanese writing system where they are known as kanji.
The modern Japanese writing system uses a combination of logographic kanji, which are adopted Chinese characters, and syllabic kana.

Sino-Xenic pronunciations

Sino-XenicSinoxenicpronunciations of Chinese characters
These foreign adaptations of Chinese pronunciation are known as Sino-Xenic pronunciations and have been useful in the reconstruction of Middle Chinese.
Sino-Xenic or Sinoxenic pronunciations are regular systems for reading Chinese characters in Japan, Korea and Vietnam, originating in medieval times and the source of large-scale borrowings of Chinese words into the Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese languages, none of which are genetically related to Chinese.

Adoption of Chinese literary culture

adopted Chinese literary cultureSinosphere3,000-year-old ancient Han Chinese writing system
By virtue of their widespread current use in East Asia, and historic use throughout the Sinosphere, Chinese characters are among the most widely adopted writing systems in the world by number of users.
At the beginning of the current era, the Chinese script was the only writing system available in East Asia.

Kyūjitai

Kyujitaiarchaic versions of characterscontemporaneous script
In Japan, common characters are written in post-WWII Japan-specific simplified forms, while uncommon characters are written in Japanese traditional forms, which are virtually identical to Chinese traditional forms.
Kyūjitai are the traditional forms of kanji, Chinese written characters used in Japanese.

Old Chinese

OCancient ChineseArchaic Chinese
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.
Old Chinese was written with several early forms of Chinese characters, including Oracle Bone, Bronze, and Seal scripts.

Shuowen Jiezi

ShuowenExplaining Unitary Characters and Analyzing Compound CharactersShuo Wen Jie Zi
The traditional six-fold classification (liùshū 六书 / 六書 "six writings") was first described by the scholar Xu Shen in the postface of his dictionary Shuowen Jiezi in 100 AD. Meanwhile, other scripts had evolved, especially in the eastern and southern areas during the late Zhou dynasty, including regional forms, such as the gǔwén ("ancient forms") of the eastern Warring States preserved as variant forms in the Han dynasty character dictionary Shuowen Jiezi, as well as decorative forms such as bird and insect scripts.
Although not the first comprehensive Chinese character dictionary (the Erya predates it), it was the first to analyze the structure of the characters and to give the rationale behind them, as well as the first to use the principle of organization by sections with shared components, called radicals (bùshǒu 部首, lit. "section headers").

Peter A. Boodberg

Peter BoodbergPeter Alexis BoodbergBudberg, P. A.
Peter Boodberg and William Boltz go so far as to deny that any of the compound characters devised in ancient times were of this type, maintaining that now-lost "secondary readings" are responsible for the apparent absence of phonetic indicators, but their arguments have been rejected by other scholars.
Boodberg was influential in 20th century developments in the studies of the development of Chinese characters, Chinese philology, and Chinese historical phonology.

Chemical elements in East Asian languages

characters for gaseous chemical elementscharacters for the chemical elementsChinese characters for chemical elements
Also, a few characters coined in China in modern times, such as 鉑 platinum, "white metal" (see chemical elements in East Asian languages) belong to this category. Many Chinese names of elements in the periodic table and many other chemistry-related characters were formed this way.
While most East Asian languages use—or have used—the Chinese script, only the Chinese language uses the characters as the predominant way of naming elements.

Organic nomenclature in Chinese

chemistry-related characters
Many Chinese names of elements in the periodic table and many other chemistry-related characters were formed this way.
The majority of the Chinese characters used for this purpose are phonosemantic compounds, with part of the character giving a general semantic category and the other part providing a pronunciation, usually based on the international (European) pronunciation.

Xu Shen

Shu Shen
The traditional six-fold classification (liùshū 六书 / 六書 "six writings") was first described by the scholar Xu Shen in the postface of his dictionary Shuowen Jiezi in 100 AD.
He was the author of Shuowen Jiezi, which was the first comprehensive dictionary of Chinese characters, as well as the first to organize entries by radical.

Cangjie

Cang JieCāngjiémythical inventor
According to legend, Chinese characters were invented by Cangjie, a bureaucrat under the legendary Yellow Emperor.
2650 BCE), claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters.

Han dynasty

Eastern Han dynastyHanWestern Han dynasty
Meanwhile, other scripts had evolved, especially in the eastern and southern areas during the late Zhou dynasty, including regional forms, such as the gǔwén ("ancient forms") of the eastern Warring States preserved as variant forms in the Han dynasty character dictionary Shuowen Jiezi, as well as decorative forms such as bird and insect scripts.
To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" (Han Zu) and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters".

Ideogram

ideographicideogramsideograph
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 term "ideogram" is often used to describe symbols of writing systems such as Egyptian hieroglyphs, Sumerian cuneiform and Chinese characters.

Bird-worm seal script

bird seal scriptbird and insect scriptsBird Script
Meanwhile, other scripts had evolved, especially in the eastern and southern areas during the late Zhou dynasty, including regional forms, such as the gǔwén ("ancient forms") of the eastern Warring States preserved as variant forms in the Han dynasty character dictionary Shuowen Jiezi, as well as decorative forms such as bird and insect scripts.
The Chinese character 鸟 (鳥 in traditional Chinese; ' in Pinyin) means "bird'''".

Han unification

UnihanUnihan DatabaseCJK Unified Ideographs
"Han unification" was an effort by the authors of Unicode and the Universal Character Set to map multiple character sets of the so-called CJK languages (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) into a single set of unified characters and was completed for the purposes of Unicode in 1991 (Unicode 1.0).
Han characters are a common feature of written Chinese (hanzi), Japanese (kanji), and Korean (hanja).

Unicode

Unicode StandardUnicode Transformation FormatThe Unicode Standard
"Han unification" was an effort by the authors of Unicode and the Universal Character Set to map multiple character sets of the so-called CJK languages (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) into a single set of unified characters and was completed for the purposes of Unicode in 1991 (Unicode 1.0).
In the case of Chinese characters, this sometimes leads to controversies over distinguishing the underlying character from its variant glyphs (see Han unification).

Kana

Japanese syllabaryJapanese KanaJapanese syllabaries
Written Japanese also includes a pair of syllabaries known as kana, derived by simplifying Chinese characters selected to represent syllables of Japanese.
Kana are the three syllabic that form parts of the Japanese writing system, contrasted with the logographic Chinese characters known in Japan as kanji : modern cursive hiragana ; modern angular katakana ; and the ancient syllabic use of kanji known as man'yōgana, which was ancestral to both hiragana and katakana.

Tang dynasty

TangTang ChinaTang Empire
During that period, regular script continued evolving stylistically, reaching full maturity in the early Tang dynasty.
She even introduced numerous revised written characters to the written language, which reverted to the originals after her death.

Sawndip

Zhuang logogramcharactersChinese character script
The most extensive is the sawndip script for the Zhuang language of Guangxi which is still used to this day.
Zhuang characters or Sawndip, are logograms derived from Chinese characters and used by the Zhuang people of Guangxi and Yunnan, China to write the Zhuang languages for more than one thousand years.

Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary

Sino-VietnameseVietnameseHán Việt
The script used Chinese characters to represent both borrowed Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary and native words with similar pronunciation or meaning.
This vocabulary was originally written with Chinese characters that were used in the Vietnamese writing system, but like all written Vietnamese, is now written with the Latin-based Vietnamese alphabet that was adopted in the early 20th century.

Sino-Korean vocabulary

Sino-KoreanSino-Korean wordSino-Korean words
Hanja is also extensively used in situations where ambiguity must be avoided, such as academic papers, high-level corporate reports, government documents, and newspapers; this is due to the large number of homonyms that have resulted from extensive borrowing of Chinese words.
Sino-Korean vocabulary includes words borrowed directly from Chinese, new Korean words created from Chinese characters.

Japanese language

JapaneseJapanese-languageJp
Chinese characters adapted to write Japanese words are known as kanji.
Japanese has no genetic relationship with Chinese, but it makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji, in its writing system, and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese.

Small seal script

XiaozhuanscriptSeal script
The coexistence of the three scripts – small seal, vulgar and proto-clerical, with the latter evolving gradually in the Qin to early Han dynasties into clerical script – runs counter to the traditional belief that the Qin dynasty had one script only, and that clerical script was suddenly invented in the early Han dynasty from the small seal script.
Before the Qin conquest of the six other major warring states of Zhou China, local styles of characters had evolved independently of one another for centuries, producing what are called the "Scripts of the Six States", all of which are included under the general term "Great Seal Script".

Calligraphy

calligraphercalligraphiccalligraphers
Hanja are still used to some extent, particularly in newspapers, weddings, place names and calligraphy (although it is nowhere near the extent of kanji use in day-to-day Japanese society).
Traditional East Asian writing uses the Four Treasures of the Study : the ink brushes known as máobǐ to write Chinese characters, Chinese ink, paper, and inkstone, known as the Four Friends of the Study in Korea.