Chinese Writing

Authored by: Mark Hansell

The Sino-Tibetan Languages

Print publication date:  December  2002
Online publication date:  May  2006

Print ISBN: 9780700711291
eBook ISBN: 9780203221051
Adobe ISBN: 9781135797188

10.4324/9780203221051.ch10

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Abstract

The Chinese written language is the vehicle for one of the world’s richest and oldest cultural traditions. With its combination of antiquity of origin, continuous vitality, and stability of graphic form and orthography, the Chinese writing system has no rival in the modern world. Like our own Roman alphabet, it spread geographically along with the empire that spoke it, and spread to other languages whose people fell under the cultural influence of the empire. It also inspired neighbouring peoples to invent indigenous writing systems that are structurally and visually similar to Chinese.

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