A straightforward Explanation Of Chinese Characters.Variations of this post below were very very first published at Medium as well as on Quora because of the exact same author

A straightforward Explanation Of Chinese Characters.Variations of this post below were very very first published at Medium as well as on Quora because of the exact same author

It may possibly be apparent with a, less to others, nevertheless the Chinese writing system is maybe not predicated on an alphabet. An alphabet consist of a tiny quantity of letters. Letters represent sounds. They sexactly how how words should really be pronounced. Letters don’t have actually any meaning on their own.

A Chinese character on the other hand is an even more unit that is complex.

An indication is contained by it of pronunciation along with an illustration of meaning.

There are many more than 100,000 various characters that are chinese. It is in reality impractical to count all of them properly. How many helpful figures, for a literate person nonetheless, is “only” between 3,000 and 6,000. That is nevertheless a number that is huge into the 26 letters of our alphabet.

What is a character that is chinese?

Listed here is one method to view it: use the English term “unexpected” for instance.

Let’s split it into smaller devices of meaning: [UN]-[EXPECT]-[ED].

Chinese figures are just like those 3 components. In Chinese, UN will be a character, EXPECT will be another, and ED will be just one more.

The phrase “unexpected” would then be described as a 3-character term.

Let’s just simply take a real Chinese term as example to check out exactly how this works:

昨天 (zuó tiān) = yesterday that is

We’ve 2 characters right here: 昨 (zuГі) + 天 (tiДЃn).

Let’s imagine we are able to divide it in English the way that is same [YESTER] + [DAY].

The second character 天 (tiān), means day, and as in English, the first one is not a word if taken alone as in English. However it is adequately unique to offer the entire term its meaning.

Now, let’s invent a term in English and Chinese during the exact same time:

昨月 (zuó yuè) = yestermonth that is

You can easily you know what i am talking about with this particular term, and a person that is chinese probably you know what after all too, no matter if those terms don’t actually occur. This really is to demonstrate that yester and 昨 (zuó) carry a meaning of these very own, regardless of if they may not be terms. I really hope this provides you a feeling of exactly what Chinese characters are and exactly how they change from words and letters.

Presently there really are a differences that are few Chinese figures and English morphemes (a morpheme is exactly what those components like yester, time, un, expect, ed would be called with a linguist).

Once I see 天 (tiДЃn), we see a tiny icon which represents a person extending their hands beneath the sky. We view it this way, because that’s how it’s been explained in my experience, along with a little bit of imagination, it’s a good idea.

The initial meaning of 天 (tiān) is “sky” and by extension “day”. Therefore, Chinese figures are in a means, like tiny pictures that are abstract. And that’s a difference that is important English morphemes.

Another distinction is the fact that English morphemes change to suit the terms they donate to. Your message “morpheme” is an illustration for this trend. For example “day” becomes “dai” within the term “daily”. There are numerous terms in English which is why its difficult to find the morphemes, since they blend together. In addition, there are grammar rules like conjugation that further transform terms in order for their morphemes are not exactly noticeable.

In Chinese, there is absolutely no conjugation, as well as the morphemes never merge with their surrounding. Rather, terms are available by composing figures as if you would write Lego bricks.

Let me reveal an expressed word i discovered interesting once I studied Chinese:

共产主义 (gòng chǎn zhǔ yì) = communism that is

It’s interesting because it is possible to evaluate it at numerous amounts.

You can easily go on it as a word that is whole which means “communism”.

You’ll divide it in 2: е…±дє§ (gГІng chЗЋn) + 主义 (zhЗ” yГ¬): communist + ideology.

It is possible to separate it in 4: 共 (gòng) + 产 (chǎn) + 主 (zhǔ) + 义 (yì): shared + manufacturing + .

The final component we interpret as something similar to: “the conventional concept of provided production”, easily put, communism.

I find this quite interesting. The meaning of terms appears more transparent compared to English. Like Lego bricks, you can easily de-construct terms and re-assemble them http://www.besthookupwebsites.org/fuck-marry-kill-review more flexibly.

To date we now have looked over Chinese figures through the exterior. Let’s take a good look at what exactly is in a very character.

The Make-up of Chinese Characters

Characters are drawn inside an square that is invisible marks its edges. They can really be assembled like bricks so they all have roughly the same size, and. A chinese text is such as for instance a grid of figures. Chinese young ones, once they practice composing, usage grid paper. These are typically instructed to pay for careful awareness of the proportions and position for the figures in the square that is virtual.

A character just isn’t a random drawing. It really is made from strokes. You will find 6 basic shots.Some of these have actually a few variants, and shots could be combined to generate more shots. However the fundamental idea is the fact that most figures are made of a small number of shots.

Shots have actually names. By just naming the shots, I’m able to explain any character. In a real method, shots are nearer to the idea of letters than figures are. These are the unit that is smallest of Chinese writing.

Stroke purchase is important. Young ones learn which swing goes before which in school. It is necessary as a result of exactly how muscle mass memory works. Our brain has the capacity to immediately remember a complex sequence of motion. If shots had been written in an order that is random they might be more difficult to keep in mind. You will find only a rules that are few swing ordering. Characters that look highly complicated at very first, are actually merely a familiar sequence of shots.

Complex figures can be separated at a greater degree than shots.

The smoothness above: е›Ѕ (guГі), may be broken on to 2 components: е›— (wГ©i) and зЋ‰ (yГ№). The the greater part of figures in Chinese are compound characters. They could be broken on to 2 or maybe more elements, and these elements in turn could be divided.

There are many ways that figures could be broken on to elements.

A great number of characters that are chinese 2 elements, someone to indicate the pronunciation, and something to point this is.

Perhaps the most complex character that is chinese having its 56 strokes, could be broken on to familiar elements.


Elements and strokes will be the foundation on which all Chinese characters are built.

Once you master these foundations, you can easily evaluate and learn any character effectively.

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Adrien Grandemange

Adrien is a adding writer at TutorMing. He’s A french computer software engineer from Paris, that has been studying Chinese for a decade. Adrien is hitched to a woman that is chinese came across as he was getting a master’s degree in computer Software Engineering at Chongqing University. Their other passions include reading a number of books (mostly non-fiction) and creating video gaming.