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Chinese Writing DECODED!

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FC: Ancient China's Writing Decoded By: Jesse Brown

1: WARNING! the following info is absolutely correct... We hope. Also, this is a project for my grade 6 S.S.

2: China was a great empire in the ancient times. So what about its writing? It will be revealed in, Ancient China DECODED

4: The legendary emperor Fuxi was credited for inventing the Chinese alphabet. But it really started when some Chinese people were on a walk, and found some footprints in the mud. They immediately thought that it was a sign, or symbol for the animal that had made the track. Thus, creating the simplest form of their writing, a symbol that stood for an animal.

5: What is a logograph? Written Chinese has no alphabet. Instead, it consists of about 50,000 characters. The Chinese writing system is logographic, meaning that each character stands for a word or part of a word. A person who knows about 4,000 of the most frequently used characters can read a Chinese newspaper or modern novel. Scholars who read ancient Chinese literature and documents must learn many more characters. They are drawn with a brush in a number of strokes ranging from 1-24, and most often used the color red. But they weren’t letters; they were pictures or symbols to represent words.

6: The people on the walk might not have thought of it as a big deal, but for the first time in china, a picture represented an object! Later on, Fuxi, our legendary emperor, designed a set of simple logographs for all of china. The people on the walk might not have thought of it as a big deal, but for the first time in china, a picture represented an object! Later on, Fuxi, our legendary emperor, designed a set of simple logographs for all of china.

8: What is a logograph? Written Chinese has no alphabet. Instead, it consists of about 50,000 characters. The Chinese writing system is logographic, meaning that each character stands for a word or part of a word. A person who knows about 4,000 of the most frequently used characters can read a Chinese newspaper or modern novel. Scholars who read ancient Chinese literature and documents must learn many more characters. They are drawn with a brush in a number of strokes ranging from 1-24, and most often used the color red. But they weren’t letters; they were pictures or symbols to represent words.

9: They also used describing words like “10 arrows” to represent a persons name or his or her job, which in this case, would be an archer. The Chinese also developed a technique called character borrowing. It involves "borrowing" the character of one word to represent another word that has a similar pronunciation. For example, one character means burn, but it also is used to represent yes. But, as the years passed, the logographs became very complicated symbols because there is one symbol for every word. Remember, there are over 50,000 logographs! Chinese symbols for chaos

10: So, if the Chinese had writing, did they write books? Yes, and the oldest books found were scratched into tortoise shells. The first book scientists believe was printed and produced multiple copies, was the Diamond Sutra. They carved each page of the Diamond Sutra on wood, spread ink on the raised parts, and pressed it on to paper. Then the Chinese invented the movable type, which was a bunch of little clay blocks with logographs on them. It was an early form of the printing press! A dictionary called “The Explication of Writing” (Shou Wen) classified written characters by their “radicals”, or basic pictures that convoy meaning. Altogether, the Chinese had 214 radicals like man, child, or woman. And finally we have the wonderful (to the Chinese), I Ching.

11: The I Ching is the earliest and most important book of the ancient Chinese world. The I Ching was a special book used to predict the future and was also called the Book of Changes, Five Classics and also spelled “Yijing” in China! There was a special ritual, which involves tossing special sticks or coins to select a picture. The picture is then interpreted by referring to the appropriate comments in the I Ching. Only a person who has extensive knowledge of the I Ching can successfully interpret the picture. Believe it or not, the wonderful teacher and religious leader, Confucius used it in his teachings!

12: Chinese writing can take up to 64 strokes for 1 word!

14: What are the basics of writing in ancient china? Well it was quite simple and was much easier than the modern day! For example, “the king killed the lion” would contain a drawing of a man with his insignia (like a crown) holding a spear, and a lion. The “man” with the crown stood for the king, the “spear” stood for kill, and the “lion” stood for a lion. Now, what if you changed the sentence to “the king killed 3 lions”? The new sentence would contain the symbols for a man, the spear, a lion, and the number three.

15: Sometimes, they would short cut and only show part of the whole logograph. For example, a crown could represent king, instead of a man with a crown. There was one little detail that might make Chinas logographs a bit harder than you think. To get the word “telephone” for example, you would have to combine the logographs for listen and electricity, which is also made of 2 logographs. So for 1 word, you might have up to four logographs!

16: We are all used to letters, but are symbols that represent words more efficient? Now days, Chinese have developed their logographs into a more complicated (but more modern) set of words. Learning Chinese is very difficult, especially if you learned another language first.

18: Well now were running out of paper, which means that this is a farewell, and I will hope that you will look forward to the next edition of Ancient China DECODED!

19: THE END! | Already?!?!?!

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Jesse Brown
  • By: Jesse B.
  • Joined: over 6 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 1
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  • Title: Chinese Writing DECODED!
  • Chinese writing in a nutshell
  • Tags: china, chinese, writing, decoded
  • Published: over 6 years ago

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