Celebrating UN Chinese Language Day — Get to Know The Charms of Chinese Characters
On April 20th, it’s UN Chinese Language Day. It is the 13th United Nations Chinese Language Day.
In 2010, the United Nations Department of Public Information designated the annual Grain Rain in the lunar calendar as the “United Nations Chinese Language Day” to commemorate the contribution of Cangjie, “the ancestor of Chinese characters,” in creating Chinese characters.
Characters are the crystallization of human wisdom and an important witness to the inheritance of civilization. As one of the oldest characters in the world — Chinese characters, it has been continuous since its birth. For thousands of years, the cultural accumulation of the Chinese nation has continued to this day, and it has always been stand out in the forest of world culture.
According to incomplete statistics, around 20 billion people are using Chinese. More and more people are speaking Chinese and studying the culture of Chinese characters. The beauty and wisdom of the Chinese is becoming well-known to the world.
On this special day, let’s dig out the wonders of Chinese characters.
The development history of Chinese characters:
Chinese characters are ideographic characters that are closely combined in form and meaning. In the beginning, the characters were pictographic pictures. With the shape of the characters, you can know the specific things it refers to.
Later, with the improvement of people’s understanding level, the increase of knowledge, the popularization of culture, and the change in Chinese writing materials, the shape of Chinese characters has undergone significant changes. The structure of strokes is getting more straightforward, the figures tend to be more abstract and more regular, and the form of squares is gradually fixed.
From the Yin and Shang Dynasties to the end of the Qing Dynasty, the evolution of Chinese characters has gone through stages such as oracle bone script, bronze script, Dazhuan script, Xiaozhuan script, official script, regular script, cursive script, running script, and Song script.
Let’s Learn Chinese Characters
The most important thing in learning Chinese is to learn Chinese characters. Chinese characters are divided into four categories: pictogram, referring, meaning, and pictophonetic character. Learn Pinyin while learning Chinese characters. It is not to learn Pinyin first, then know Chinese characters. Chinese characters are the basis.
All Chinese characters are derived from the development of pictographs. There are about 150 pictographs, and each pictograph is a simple picture. Unlike phonetic symbols, Chinese characters are ideographic. The key to learning Chinese is to know Chinese characters, words, phrases, and sentences.
Take the word ‘again’ as example.
The word “again” is pronounced yòu, which is intended to be a hand and mostly refers to the right hand. The extended meaning is “again”
The earliest is to draw that a person extended his right hand and raised three fingers. Hold one finger up, hold up one finger, and hold up another finger. So it means “again” . But is it troublesome to draw three fingers each time. So it became easier and more convenient, and it was written as “又” as it is now. This is how the character “又” was written during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, and it was called Zhuanshu. This is writing in the evolution history of Chinese characters.
Chinese characters are the treasures of the Chinese nation and an essential part of world culture. And they are a unique creation and cultural heritage of the Chinese country. From their birth, to their gradual development, and to being accepted and learned by people worldwide, Chinese characters have gone through an indescribable glorious road. It’s always a pleasure to see that so many people in the world are getting interested in Chinese, it’s even more amazing to see more and more people learning Chinese.
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