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Chinese character (漢字, reading: “kanji” in Japanese, or “hàn zì” in Chinese).

Mini2:c7_chinese_character.jpg"Chinese character : | Ink rubbing of one of the variations of the standard script (楷書, かいしょ, kaisho) forms of the character学 (學), taken of the Jiucheng palace stele (九成宫碑, Chinese: Jiǔ chéng gong bēi), Tang dynasty (唐朝, 618 – 907)."

Also referred to as “Han" (漢, from “Han” dynasty) character (字, character). Chinese characters are linguistically classified as logographic ideograms (or sonographs) of a morphemic (or phonetic) nature and are considered to be the oldest continuously used writing system in the world. In great simplification, Chinese characters represent an abstract idea, a pictogram, or mixture of both. For this reason they cannot be considered an alphabet, symbol or a syllabary. Recent archaeological findings prove that origins of Chinese characters may go as far as 5000 B.C. (Yangshao culture (仰韶文化, Chinese: Yāng sháo wén huà, 5000-3000 B.C.) pottery markings;). The largest Chinese characters dictionary in the world, 中華字海 (Chinese: Zhōng huá zì hǎi), lists 85,568 character entries. Since not all of the discovered characters have been deciphered yet, one would not be mistaken if stated that there are approximately 90,000 Chinese characters out there.

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Page last modified on December 26, 2011, at 01:15 PM