the Chinese writing (abbreviation 汉字, long characters 漢字, chin. hànzì, kor. hanja, jap. kanji ) is the writing system used in China. It consists of logograms, i.e. that each indication of a word or a meaning elementstands. The writing was taken over also by other East Asian peoples.
table of contents
history up to the People's Republic of China
the Chinese writing is old over 3,000 years. The oldest found Chinese characters are in cattle bones (particularly into the Schulterblatt, so-called Orakelknochen) and turtle tank (to pointing legends of the hunt etc.) scratched symbols from the time around 1400 v. Chr., which were discovered 1899 in Anyang. One assumes at the time at that time already 5,000 different indications existed.
In the middle of of thefirst pre-Christian millenium developed the picture writing to a negotiable writing, which was able to illustrate syntax and semantics some of the languages at that time in the area of the today's People's Republic of China completely. With the Chinese realm agreement under the first emperor Qin Shihuangdi (秦始皇帝) approx. 200 v. Chr. a large writing standardization took place.
In interaction with since the realm agreement (Qin dynasty) 200 v. Chr. established official state became the Chinese writing language by its use in the entire catchment area of the Chinese empireto the Lingua franca, which interconnected the different Chinese language communities and made a relative unanimity possible of the Chinese culture area.
In China had politicians and officials to in 20. Century inside good man of letters its, if they wanted to win influence - andnot, as in the west, good speakers. In many places one describes, how large the disappointment was with many Chinese, when they heard politicians speak such as Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping for the first time.
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writing reform in the People's Republic of China
major item: Abbreviation
in the year 1955 found in the People's RepublicChina a disputed writing reform instead of, to whose process the writing direction was introduced from left to right (instead of from top to bottom) and a strong simplification was made at most used character. Became also on a large number ofPostings fallen back, which were already used with handwritten written texts. Examples of these simplifications are 图 for 圖 (tú, map), 龙 for 龍 (lóng, Drache) and 单 for 單 (dān, individually).Methods of the simplification were for example the connection from points to lines (馬 mǎ, horse, became too 马), omitting lines and/or. Points (爲 and/or. 為 wèi, do, became too 为) or a summarizingfrom two or three long characters to an abbreviation (復 and 複 fù combined into the simplified indication 复).
Also in Singapore with abbreviations one writes.
To the simplified indications the traditional long characters become parallel however until today partlyused and ever more return to the everyday life since the increasing loosening in the People's Republic. It is not possible nevertheless for on the average educated Chinese, the long characters of old texts, which did not become to transfer, to read.
On Taiwan as well as in Hong Kong and Macao the tradition of the letter with long characters until today was maintained, because the reforms were not accomplished there by 1958/1959. It is common also with overseas Chinese. Thus the symbolic meaning of the indications and radicals remained recognizably. In handwrittenTexts are however traditionally a whole set of short postings usual, which correspond partially to the abbreviations of the People's Republic of China.
Chinese writing outside of China
In Japan, where also today still Chinese characters, kanji are called, used, partially. in Japanese simplified variants of the long characters, the Chinese indications became, throughSelf-developments (so-called. 国字) and the out Chinese indications developed Silbenschriften hiragana and katakana supplements.
In Korea first only with Chinese indications one wrote. In the year 1446 one led parallel to it the again developed, phoneme - writing Hangeul was based in. In South Korea becomes to today a system mixed in some printing elements from Chinese indications (there Hanja called) and Hangeul used, in North Korea were again abolished in the context of a writing reform the Chinese indications.
Also in Viet Nam one did without to that starting from the endFrench colonial rule on the Chinese writing; here it was replaced by one around various diacritical indications supplemented latin writing. See in addition: Vietnamesi language.
the oldest encyclopedia for Chinese characters is the Shuowen Jiezi (说文解字/說文解字, dt. Explanation of the simple indications and explanation of the compound indications) from the year 121 n. Chr.. There the characters are after a system of elementary character, the so-called. Radical one, divided.
This classification thatCharacter after radicals kept until today. The number of radicals, which amounted to in the Shuowen jiezi still 512, was however continued to reduce ever, so that today the furthest common list of traditional radicals uses 214 Klassenzeichen. This organization becameparticularly by the Kangxi Zidian (康熙字典, Kangxi dictionary) from the year 1716 supports, that already approx. 49,000 characters contains. Dictionaries for simplified characters use another number of radicals, often are it 227 radicals.
For a systematic arrangementthe Chinese words in directories and general encyclopedias (contrary to special character encyclopedias) today usually the arrangement becomes according to that pinyin - transcription uses. (In the Korean one and Japanese the words are arranged against it according to their transcription into the syllable alphabets.)
Are divided the writing
] for organization
of the characters characters in China in six categories (六书/ 六書 liùshū):
- 象形 (Xiàngxíng, dt. Symbol) - pictograms, which show the designated according to the manifestation (z.B. 山 for mountain).
- 指事 (Zhǐshì, dt. to facts point) - symbols, ideograms.
- 会意/會意 (Huìyì, dt. Combination of the meanings) - indication, those compound from two or more indications with different meaningsare and their contents with the new total content is connected.
- 形声/形聲 (Xíngshēng, dt. Form and clay/tone) - indications, which are compound for a meaning-suggesting indication from one loud and (Phonogramme). An example of it is the indication 媽(mā, nut/mother). The right component 馬 (mǎ, horse) indicates the discussion, while the left component gives 女 (nǚ , woman) the reference to the meaning. The meaning-basic component is often alsothe radical, after which the indications in dictionaries are arranged.
- 转注/轉注 (Zhuǎnzhù, dt. turn and pour) - synonyms.
- 假借 (Jiǎjiè, dt. under wrong name) - indication, those because of same sound for oneother meaning to be used.
About 90% per cent of all Chinese characters fall as Phonogramme into the group 4 (形聲 Xingsheng).
characters a whole number of different meanings took meaning of individual characters in their long developing history.For this two examples:
傳 (chuán, zhuàn):
- pass on, further-send (chuán)
- teach, inform, teach (chuán)
- to spread, spread (chuán)
- to transfer, lead (electricity, warmth) (chuán)
- to call, cite (chuán)
- comment to classicalWorks, Biografie, historical novel (zhuàn)
- Away, road
- truth, doctrine, teachings, principle
- governmental district, political subsection of a prefecture
- counting unit word, z. B. 一道光 (yī dào guāng, dt. a ray of light)
- lead, lead
- speak,say, words
- purely phonetic use (z. B. with the Transkription dt. City Landau as long dao)
this represents one of the large difficulties with the reading and translation of old texts. There the Chinese language over a great many Homophoneordered, the indications are better referring to the meaning as a purely phonetic rendition in many cases. An antique text in the classical style of font only due to a phonetic rendition to understand, is practically impossible, and was from the antique authors alsonot at all intended; the style of font differed noticeably from the language spoken at that time.
Chinese words consist mostly of several indications. Originally existed in the classical antique Chinese, particularly in the writing language, most wordsfrom only one or two indications. The increasing extension of the words has itself in 20. Century since the establishment of the republic however ever more strengthens.
number of characters
an average Chinese dictionary lists about 10,000 indications.For the daily use, e.g. to newspaper vintages hand however 5000-6000 indications. The most extensive dictionary Zhōnghuá Zìhǎi 中华字海 from the year 1994 contains approximately 87,000 different characters and variants. The majority of these indications comes only in old literature, into geographicalDesignations or in dialects forwards or this concerns variants. The indication 浬 left, nautical mile, for example is today usually replaced through 海里 hǎili. Some characters occur in only one context. The character 崁 kan z.B. only for the fortress Chikanlou is used 赤崁樓 in Tainan on Taiwan, the indication 壢 lì only in the name of the taiwanischen city 中壢 Zhongli.
The list of the common Chinese characters of the taiwanischen ministry of education (常用國字標準字體表) specifies 4808 indications.
ThatRequirement level “Chinese vocabulary and Chinese characters” (汉语水平词汇与汉字等级大纲) for Chinese as foreign language registers 800 indications, of the stage B further 804 indications, for the stage C further 601 and of stage A 700 indications further for the stage D. That makesin the sum 2905 indications.
The list of the Japanese ministry of education covers 1945 common kanji (常用漢字 jōyō kanji), which are informed in the reason and middle school. Besides there is a national list of the indications of geographical names and family names (jinmeiyō kanji人名用漢字), the 2928 indications covers.
The pupils at the central and high schools in Korea learn 1800-2000 Chinese indications.
the Chinese use brushes and black and red india ink, around their characters on paper and silk too kalligrafieren. Seal castings were for a long time before that 14. Century admits. The four treasures of the traditional scholar room were brushes, india ink, Reibstein and paper.
In the modern everyday life use with also the recorders usual in the west one writes; in write instructionin the primary schools Taiwans usually with pencil in special writing books with square write fields.
with the pressure of Chinese textsall indications, including the punctuation marks, are set into equivalent large, approximately squarely thought small boxes. Indication of different run width - see. for instance latin m in relation to the i - it does not give thus. Around also the details of the most complicated indications with 20or more lines to still recognize to be able, the type face may be selected altogether not too small. For rarer indications beside it or over it very small the discussion is often indicated (by Zhuyin, in the VR China until 1956 and in Taiwan until today, or by Furigana in Japan).
Blanks between words are uncommon in the Chinese writing. Thus there is no clear demarcation of the term “word” in the languages, which use the Chinese writing. Often are itself even native speakersdo not unite on whether a certain element in a sentence z. B. ending or its own word is.
A text line becomes, as soon as it is full, in any place umbrochen; There are not separation rules. Only directly before a punctuation mark, is not transferred in this case an indication is not separated to the next line.
the writing direction of the Chinese writing was in the before-modern time usually perpendicularly from top to bottom, and thosedaraus entstehenden Spalten waren von rechts nach links angeordnet.
Seit der Schriftreform wird in der VR China in Büchern meistens wie bei europäischen Büchern in Zeilen von links nach rechts und mit von oben nach unten angeordneten Zeilen geschrieben.
InTaiwan printed books of literary contents are however from top to bottom read still. To newspapers and magazines as well as special texts and specialized books applies however only conditionally. In announcements, and more frequently also in the advertisement, becomes, if in the textalso western (mark) names emerge, which use way of writing from left to right. With Kalligraphie and poems there is nearly only the writing direction from top to bottom.
In Japan one finds both variants, whereby literary texts rather in columns, special texts rather inLines to be printed. In newspapers both is mixed used, whereby itself more possibilities for a responding layout without extremely short lines (and/or. Columns) result in.
From top to bottom printed books, thus in Taiwan printed and most Japanese, become outEuropean view on the “wrong” side, thus “in the back” opened. If one looks on the title page, then the backbone is thus right and not as left in Europe. Books, with which the characters are from left to right arranged, have the title pageon the side used for us and like European books are opened and read.
Inscriptions over portals and doors are more frequently from right to left written in the VR China. In Japan portal headings are rather - like that as in Europe- in lines from left to right, with temples and shrines however almost exclusively traditionally from right to left written. In Taiwan the inscriptions over temple gates and altars run from right to left.
the pointing (标点/標點 biāodiǎn) in its current form became by the contact with the west only gradually in 20. Century imported. However scratched lines are to be recognized with the earlyhistorical bone inscriptions, which probably served for the demarcation of semantic units. Inantiken chinesischen Texten war Interpunktion unüblich, die Leser konnten die Pausen (读/讀dòu) selbst in die Texte schreiben. This consisted mostly of a small circle “.“(圈 quān) or from one point (点/點 diǎn). The procedurewriting the pointing into the text becomes since the Han time as 句读/句讀 (jùdòu, dt. Sentence break) designates. One could recognize large scholars by sovereigns the kind of its pointing setting. This very day one finds z. B. in taiwanesischen bookshopsExpenditures of classical authors, in whom the punctuation famous scholar is noted.
Since September 1951 the pointing is officially regulated in the People's Republic of China. After the conditions of 1990 there are 16 punctuation characters, those in the west the common predominantly corresponds andsimilarly to be used. Particularly is the sentence locking point “.“(句号/句號 jùhào, see also “the circle” above) as well as enumerating the arranging “lying” comma”、 “(顿号/頓號 dùnhào).
major item: Chinese Kalligrafie
the Kalligrafie is an art of high repute in China. Here with a brush the indications are brought momentumful to paper. These signatures are considered exactly the same as art objects such as z. B. Painting. It is even usual in the Chinese painting,To integrate character into the picture;buddhistische Mandalas is arranged in the Chinese culture area, differently as in south Asia, rather with characters than with figurative representations.
In Japan Wabi Sabi often did not become in the classical contrary to China after the basic principleSenses beautiful, but consciously “raw” and incomplete appearance desired.
Kalligrafi works of art zieren frequently as senkrechte in pairs writing boards and horizontal name plates the typical Chinese garden. They are not to be separated from horticulture nearly and form important decorative fixtures in the ChineseLandscape garden. Contents of the boards and describe is generally related to the environment of the buildings. Frequently it concerns lines out of famous poems, in which characteristics of the scenery are suggested.
Achieved their artistic high point the Kalligrafie as well asother art forms in the seaweed dynasty (618 - 907). The works of art of the famous Kalligrafen at that time - for instance of Wang Xizhi, Yan Zhenqing, Ou Yangxun and Liu Zongyuan - are regarded until today as priceless treasures.
The valuethe “beautiful letter” in China very highly one sets. One recognizes that about by the fact that the Republic of China in Taiwan indicates kalligrafische work of these for the official Biografien of its past presidents also (here z. B. for Sun Yat sen).
for the better handling of the Chinese characters were developed several sound transcriptions. Apart from some special forms oriented at the language of the respective translator (particularly in the other East Asian languages) are today common for high-Chinese above all three systems:At the beginning 20. Century developed latin transcription of calf Giles, not latin transcription Zhuyin, which is still usual in Taiwan, and which with the simplification of the indications into the VR China imported latin-based pinyin, itself internationallyincreasingly as standard intersperses. By the various systems the partial existing non-uniformness of the sound transcription comes off, z. B.Mao Zedong and Mao Tse Tung or Beijing and Peking. The moreover one the German Duden does not adhere consistent to a transcription systemand about Tsingtau uses partial transcriptions, which occur in none of the systems.
For other Chinese languages, as for example Cantonese, likewise sound transcriptions are developed, these however so far developed less than the Mandarin systems.
- Eugen Feifel: History of the Chinese literature. George Olms, Hildesheim Zurich new York 1982. ISBN 3-487-00094-6
- Endymion Wilkinson: Chinese History - A manual. Harvard Yenching of institutes mono graph Series. Bd 52. Harvard University press, Cambridge mA London 2000. ISBN 0-674-00247-4
- left Leyi: Development of the Chinese writing by the example of 500 characters. University for language and culture Beijing, Peking 1993. ISBN 7-5619-0206-9
- Edoardo Fazzioli: Painted words. 214 Chinese characters - from the picture to the term. Marix, Wiesbaden 2004. ISBN 3-937715-34-7
- Bernhard Karlgren: Writing and language of the Chinese. Springer, Berlin 2001 (2. Aufl.). ISBN 3-540-42138-6
- Wang Hongyuan: Of the origin of the Chinese writing. Sinolingua, Beijing 1997. ISBN 7-80052-328-4
- Muhammad Wolfgang G. A. Schmidt: Introduction to the Chinese writingand indication customer. Limited special expenditure. Buske, Hamburg 2005 (2. erw. Aufl.). ISBN 3-87548-389-8
Web on the left of
- data and left for the study of the Chinese writing (Sinographemik) and its didactics for alphabet-written Lerner (German)
- Chinese indications and the Chinese writing
- articleon Chinaknowledge (English)
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