चिनिया आखःया वर्गीकरण

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थ्यंमथ्यं ६०० चिनिया आखः पिक्तोग्राम ख। थन्यागु पिक्तोग्रामं प्रतिनिधि याइगु वस्तुयात अभिव्यक्त याइ। थ्व व्यवस्थाय् छुं वस्तुयात च्वेत उकिया अःपुगु किपा दयेकिगु या। थ्व आखः आपालं दकले पुलांगु आखः ख। क्वे बियातःगु छुं आखः १२गु शताब्दीया ओरेकल क्वें (oracle bones)या युगया आखः ख।

थ्व आखः च्वेगु शैली ईनापं हिलाववं वास्तविक पिक्तोग्रामीय वस्तुया किपा स्वया बाया वन। विशेषयाना पूर्वी झोउ ईले क्वें आखःया थासय् छाप आखः(Seal Script) अप्व छ्येलिगु जुवंबिले व लिपा हान वंशया ईले क्लेरिकल लिपिया विकास जुबिले आखःया पिक्तोग्राफिक सवा म्हो जुया वंगु खनेदु। क्वे बियातःगु बक्सय् छुं चिनिया आखःया विकासक्रम क्यनातःगु दु।


  • is a stylised drawing of a woman kneeling in profile. In the oracle bone, bronze and seal scripts, the torso vertically bisects the crossed arms; in the clerical and standard scripts, the graph is rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise so that the hands, not the feet, are pointed downward.
  • shuǐ "water" represents the lines of a flowing river.

Simple ideograms[सम्पादन]

Ideograms (指事 zhǐ shì, "indication") express an abstract idea through an iconic form, including iconic modification of pictographic characters. In the examples below, low numerals are represented by the appropriate number of strokes, directions by an iconic indication above and below a line, and the parts of a tree by marking the appropriate part of a pictogram of a tree.


Pinyin èr sān shàng xià běn
Gloss छि नसि स्व च्वे क्वे जरा च्वका


  • běn, "root" - a tree (木 ) with the base indicated by an extra stroke.
  • , "apex" - the reverse of 本 (běn), a tree with the top highlighted by an extra stroke.

Ideogrammatic compounds[सम्पादन]

In ideogrammatic compounds (會意 huì yì, "joined meaning"), also called associative compounds or logical aggregates, two or more pictographic or ideographic characters are combined to suggest a third meaning. For example, the character 各 originally meant "to arrive". (It was long ago borrowed for "each".) The oracle-bone form of this compound, very similar to the modern glyph, shows 夂 a foot (the inverted form of 止 zhǐ, originally a foot) at a 凵 or 口 walled object, perhaps a dwelling. The meaning of "arrive" is thus suggested jointly, as a footstep at the door.

As these characters became more stylized over time, one or more of the components was often compressed or abbreviated. For example, the character 人 "human" was reduced to 亻, 水 "water" to 氵, and 艸 "grass" to 艹.

It is unclear whether a logical link induces a character layout, or the opposite, the association being a mnemonic artifact of striking truth. Juxtaposition of "woman" and "child" could as well be interpreted as "maternal love" or "weakness".

A few further examples:

×2 =
×3 =
+ =
two trees
three trees
a man leaning against a tree

+ = 雧(集)
×2 +=
+ =
+ = 采 (採)
three birds on a tree*
gather together
two birds in the right hand
a woman with a child
a hand on a bush
×2+ =
+ = 秋(龝)
wood on a fire
grain and fire
*Early forms of the character 集 ("gather together") show three birds (隹) on a tree.

Rebus (phonetic loan) characters[सम्पादन]

Jiajie (假借 jiǎjiè, "borrowing; making use of") are characters that are "borrowed" to write another homophonous or near-homophonous morpheme, comparable with using "4" as a rebus for English "for" in "4ever". For example, the character was originally a pictogram of a wheat plant and meant *mlək "wheat". As this was pronounced similarly to the Old Chinese word *mlək "to come", 來 was also used to write this verb. Eventually the more common usage, the verb "to come", became established as the default reading of the character 來, and a new character was devised for "wheat". (The modern pronunciations are lái and mài.) When a character is used as a rebus this way, it is called a jiajiezi 假借字 (lit. "loaned and borrowed character") (in Wade-Giles "chia-chie" or "chia-chieh"), translatable as "phonetic loan character" or "rebus character".

As in Egyptian hieroglyphs and Sumerian cuneiform, early Chinese characters were used as rebuses to express abstract meanings that were not easily depicted. Thus many characters stood for more than one word. In some cases the extended use would take over completely, and a new character would be created for the original meaning, usually by modifying the original character with a radical (determinative). For instance, yòu originally meant "right hand; right" but was borrowed to write the abstract word yòu "again; moreover". In modern usage, the character 又 exclusively represents yòu "again" while , which adds the "mouth radical" to 又, represents yòu "right". This process of graphic disambiguation is a common source of phono-semantic compound characters.

Examples of jiajie
Pictograph or
New character for
original word
"four" "nostrils" (mucous; sniffle)
"flat, thin" "leaf"
běi "north" bèi "back (of the body)"
yào "to want" yāo "waist"
shǎo "few" shā "sand" and
yǒng "forever" yǒng "swim"

While this word jiajie dates from the Han Dynasty, the related term tongjia (通假 tōngjiǎ "interchangeable borrowing") is first attested from the Ming Dynasty. The two terms are commonly used as synonyms, but there is a linguistic distinction between jiajiezi being a phonetic loan character for a word that did not originally have a character, such as using "a bag tied at both ends" [१] for dōng "east", and tongjia being an interchangeable character used for an existing homophonous character, such as using zǎo "flea" for zǎo "early".

According to Bernhard Karlgren (1968:1), "One of the most dangerous stumbling-blocks in the interpretation of pre-Han texts is the frequent occurrence of [jiajie], loan characters."

Phono-semantic compound characters[सम्पादन]

  • 形聲 xíng shēng "form and sound"

These are often called radical-phonetic characters. They form the majority of Chinese characters by far—over 90%, and were created by combining a rebus with a determinative—that is, a character with approximately the correct pronunciation (the phonetic element, similar to a phonetic complement) with one of a limited number of determinative characters which supplied an element of meaning (the semantic element, called a "radical", which centuries later would be used to organize characters in a dictionary). As in ancient Egyptian writing, such compounds eliminated the ambiguity caused by phonetic loans (above). Phono-semantic compounds appeared prior to the first attested Chinese writing on Shang Dynasty oracle bones.

Most often, the radical is on one side (often the left), while the phonetic is on the other side (often the right), as in 沐 = 氵 "water" + 木 . Also common is for the semantic and phonetic elements to be stacked on top of each other, as in 菜 = 艹 "plant" + 采 cǎi. More rarely, the phonetic may be placed inside the semantic, as in 園 = 囗 "enclosure" + 袁, or 街 = 行 "go, movement" + 圭. More complicated combinations also exist, such as 勝 = 力 "strength" + 朕, where the semantic is in the lower-right quadrant, and the phonetic is the other three quadrants.

This process can be repeated, with a phono-semantic compound character itself being used as a phonetic in a further compound, which can result in quite complex characters, such as 劇 (豦 = 虍 + 豕, 劇 = 刂 + 豦).


As an example, a verb meaning "to wash oneself" is pronounced mù. Although difficult to draw, it happens to sound the same as the word "tree", which was written with the simple pictograph 木. The verb could simply have been written 木, like "tree", but to disambiguate, it was combined with the character for "water", giving some idea of the meaning. The resulting character eventually came to be written 沐 "to wash one's hair". Similarly, the water determinative was combined with 林 lín "woods" to produce the water-related homophone 淋 lín "to pour".

Determinative Rebus Compound


"to wash oneself"



lín "to pour"

However, the phonetic component is not always as meaningless as this example would suggest. Rebuses were sometimes chosen that were compatible semantically as well as phonetically. It was also often the case that the determinative merely constrained the meaning of a word which already had several. 菜 cài "vegetable" is a case in point. The determinative 艹 for plants was combined with 采 cǎi "harvest". However, 采 cǎi does not merely provide the pronunciation. In classical texts it was also used to mean "vegetable". That is, 采 underwent semantic extension from "harvest" to "vegetable", and the addition of 艹 merely specified that the latter meaning was to be understood.

Determinative Rebus Compound


"harvest, vegetable"

cài "vegetable"

Some additional examples:

Determinative Rebus Compound



pāi "to clap, to hit"

to dig into


jiū "to investigate"



yìng "reflection"