Last Updated: February 5, References. This article was co-authored by Tian Zhou. He is the host of MandarinPod, an advanced Chinese language learning podcast. There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 5, times.
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Chinese characters do not constitute an alphabet or a compact syllabary. Rather, the writing system is roughly logosyllabic ; that is, a character generally represents one syllable of spoken Chinese and may be a word on its own or a part of a polysyllabic word. The characters themselves are often composed of parts that may represent physical objects, abstract notions,  or pronunciation. Various current Chinese characters have been traced back to the late Shang Dynasty about — BC,    but the process of creating characters is thought to have begun some centuries earlier.
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Last Updated: September 12, References. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.