The Chinese Language

  • Clay WilliamsEmail author
Part of the Springer Texts in Education book series (SPTE)


This chapter presents an overview of the Chinese language and character system and attempts to dispel many of the myths and erroneous beliefs about the language which are commonly held among peoples with no first-hand knowledge of Chinese. Concepts such as distinguishing the various Chinese languages and dialects, how tones differentiate words, and common grammatical features (which may be puzzling to students from European language L1-backgrounds) are discussed before focusing attention on the character system. The major classifications of characters by type are discussed (e.g., pictorial, indicatives, ideographs, and semantic-phonetic compounds) along with the organizational principles which enabled their invention and how characters and their pronunciations have changed during the thousands of years of their continuous use.


Chinese Character Chinese Language Writing System Semantic Radical Chinese Script 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Akita International UniversityAkitaJapan

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