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Understanding Chinese Characters - History, Evolution & Classification

Chinese characters may look confusing, but they are organized and structured according to well-defined rules. Learning Chinese characters can enrich your understanding of the spoken language as well as opening the gateway to the rich treasure of Chinese literature. An understanding of Chinese characters will broaden your knowledge of Mandarin and Chinese culture.
  1. Character Profiles (46)

The Types Of Chinese Characters
There are six different types of Chinese characters, ranging from simple pictographs to more complex compound characters. Understanding how the types of Chinese characters have evolved can be an important tool in studying reading and writing Chinese characters.

The Importance of Strokes in Chinese Characters
Strokes are the fundamental building blocks of Chinese characters. All Chinese characters can be written with the 8 basic strokes, and many dictionaries use stroke count as a method of classifying Chinese characters.

Traditional Characters
Traditional characters have been in use for more than 2000 years. They originated during the Han Dynasty, and the traditional characters are based on even older forms of writing.

Simplified Chinese Characters
Simplified Chinese characters are used in Mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia. Simplified characters were introduced in the 1950s in an effort to reduce illiteracy.

Stroke Order for Chinese Characters
Chinese characters are written with specific stroke orders to minimize hand movement and make the characters more beautiful.

Chinese Character Profiles
Chinese characters have a long history, and have usually passed through several stages to the modern form. Understanding the history of Chinese characters can deepen our understanding of their meaning and their place in Chinese culture.

Clarifying Chinese Characters
Chinese characters have many homonyms, so it sometimes difficult to know which character a speaker is using. If there is confusion, a simple pattern can be used to clarify which Chinese character is being used.

Learning to Write Chinese Characters
The serious student of Mandarin Chinese should learn how to write Chinese characters. This knowledge will give greater understanding of the Mandarin language as well as Chinese culture. Knowing how Chinese characters are written also allows the student to use a Chinese dictionary.

Display Chinese Characters on Windows XP
If your web browser is not displaying Chinese characters, support for this feature must be installed. Here are the instructions for displaying Chinese characters on Windows XP.

Write Chinese Characters Using Pinyin
Pinyin can be used to write Chinese characters using Microsoft's New Phonetic Input Method.

Setting Up Windows XP for Mandarin Input
Before you can write Chinese characters on your computer you must set it up. These instructions will allow you to use Chinese as an input language on Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

The History Of Chinese Characters
This web-page explores the origins of Chinese characters. It provides a good overview of the development of Chinese writing, and links it to other forms of writing in the Asian world.

The Six Principals of Chinese Characters
Chinese characters can be divided into six categories: Pictographs, Indicatives, Ideatives, Harmonics, Transmissives, and Borrowed Words.

Learn to Read Chinese Characters
To the untrained eye, Chinese characters may seem like a random collection of lines, but characters have a logic of their own which can reveal clues to their meaning and pronunciation.

How to learn Chinese characters efficiently
How to learn Chinese characters efficiently: Learning and remembering words

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