Mysterious writing of China: how many hieroglyphs in Chinese?

Asian culture is permeated with the spirit of mysticism and mystery. One can imagine how difficult it is to penetrate the essence of all Chinese legends and stories, but only through them can one understand the subtle mental organization of the inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom. Best of all, the Chinese mentality is reflected in their writing. Have you ever wondered how many characters in Chinese there are?

How many Chinese characters

The Legend of the Origin of Chinese Writing

Those who study the history of China, or often in this country, probably noticed that the population speaks different dialects. In some cases, residents of one province may not understand the speech of their neighbors from another territorial district. This oddity is even more pronounced on the background of a single writing. No matter where you live, you will always write in exactly the same way, indicating a huge difference between writing and speaking in China.

If you are wondering how many Chinese characters there are, then you should carefully study the ancient legend about the origin of writing in the Middle Kingdom. The father of the Chinese hieroglyphic letter is considered to be the great Tsang Jie. He lived in the twenty-sixth century BC and was a court historian at the court of the emperor. During this period on earth, the Chinese sided with spirits, constantly deceiving ordinary people. But the wise Zang Jie managed to penetrate into the plan of Heaven and sketched the outlines of all the objects familiar to him, turning them into hieroglyphs. From this moment, evil spirits are in great sadness. They ceased to influence the lives of the Chinese, who have acquired great knowledge.

How many characters do you need to know in Chinese?

How did Chinese writing evolve?

From the moment of the appearance of the first hieroglyphs (it is believed that there were only twelve), the writing system in the country began to develop rapidly. Then no one thought about how many Chinese characters there are. New periodically supplemented the existing ones, forming the language base. During the Han dynasty, a lot of work was done on counting the hieroglyphs, at that time there were just over nine thousand.

Over time, not only did the number of hieroglyphs in Chinese increase, but their writing became more complicated. Quite a few characters were not available to ordinary people who could not write them correctly. This significantly affected the literacy of the Chinese population. Therefore, since the middle of the last century, the country has been reforming to simplify the writing of hieroglyphs. This program helps to increase the number of educated citizens.

How many Chinese characters, what are hieroglyphs and how are they classified

We all imagine what a hieroglyph is, but from a scientific point of view it can be described as a written sign that carries a meaning. It can mean a sound, syllable or whole word. Many scientists draw a parallel between the hieroglyph and the pentagram, since both signs have some figurativeness. This fact makes it difficult to learn Chinese, because the Europeans perceive the hieroglyph as a carrier of direct information. And for the Chinese, it is most often just a direction for thought, a peculiar boundary into which it is necessary to contain a certain image.

Before answering the question of how many Chinese hieroglyphs, you need to find out how they are formed. According to the method of education, they can be divided into the following categories:

  • pictographic;
  • ideographic;
  • phonographic.

Each group has its own characteristics of education and writing. For example, the simplest are pictographic hieroglyphs - they are repelled from the shape and appearance of the depicted object. Ideographic are formed from two different hieroglyphs. Can symbolize a whole word or phenomenon. But the phonographic hieroglyphs, which in Chinese are more than eighty percent, represent a complex symbiosis of phonetics and key, where the latter is responsible for the meaning, and the second conveys the sound.

To read each character correctly, you need to know all the keys. Now there are more than 214.

Number of Chinese Hieroglyphs

Chinese writing. How many hieroglyphs are displayed in dictionaries?

It is difficult to determine the correct number of Chinese characters, because some of them have a narrow focus and are not used in everyday life. Many are applicable only when reading ancient texts, and only historians know them.According to the latest data, Chinese contains from 50 to 84 thousand hieroglyphs.

But the Chinese themselves can never learn them all. Dictionaries usually contain no more than seven thousand hieroglyphs required for competent writing.

How many characters do you need to know in Chinese?

If you plan to learn the language of the Middle Kingdom, then keep in mind that you do not have to spend years to memorize the masses of difficult-to-write characters. The average Chinese, having a higher education, knows no more than two thousand hieroglyphs. The same amount will be enough for you.

How many hieroglyphs in Chinese

Note that in modern literature a greater number of characters are used. Therefore, if you want to read Chinese authors freely, you will need to learn about three thousand hieroglyphs. With such a knowledge base, you can feel absolutely confident and comfortable in China.

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