Chinese Character

Why are Chinese Characters So Fascinating?


Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese. It is the oldest system of writing in continuous use in the world. Unlike western alphabet, which represents only sounds, each Chinese character is pronounced as a single syllable with a unique and profound meaning. Most interestingly, it started with pictures and evolved over three thousands years from pictographs and ideographs into its present simplified form. The following illustrations show how the Chinese character comes form the pictures.

For example, the Chinese character[rì] is the word for ‘Sun’.

Chinese lessons - Chinese character for Sun

Depending on context, this character can mean Sunshine or Sunlight, and also means day, and can refer to the day of the month when expressing the date.

The Chinese character [yuè] is the word for ‘Moon’.

Chinese lessons - Chinese character for Moon

This character is also used to refer to the month, becauseChinatraditionally uses a lunar calendar, so “next moon” represents “next month”.

The Sun and Moon together constitutes the Chinese word 明[míng], meaning ‘bright’.

Chinese lessons - Chinese character for Bright

明míng, the combination of Sun and Moon represents the combination of Yin and Yang in Chinese. In the beginning of the world, everything is chaos and limitless; intercourse of Yin (moon) and Yang (sun) generates vast universe of all things. Things can not survive without Sun and Moon, and the balance of Sun (yin) and Moon (yang) sustains our lives on earth. Thus, the word 明míng, derived respectively with two meanings: it first means bright, clear, transparent, perspicacious, knowingly, and wise. That is to say, keeping balance of Yin and Yang is 明 (wise and bright). In other words, yin and yang, among/within the 明, the destiny is certain. Second it means the future, the meaning of time, such as tomorrow, next year and so on. Sun and Moon turned to a day which represents the time where the future is countless months and years, from the sun and the moon interaction.

The fascinating Chinese characters makes the learning written Chinese such a fun and rewarding activity, which gives you a great sense of achievement.

For  your interest, we outlined the Chinese character traditional classification, character structure, and writing strokes and stroke orders in this section. You can also learn the most commonly used 100 Chinese characters (Flash) through 40 most commonly used Chinese phrases, or download 2500 Chinese Characters Flash and study at your own convenience via our website resources. Another great way for self-directed learning is that learning through interactive Chinese movies, with active participation in watching, listening, speaking, reading, and even writing simultaneously.