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adam2073

Modern Chinese Character Classifications

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adam2073

I believe according to holistic learning (see hackingchinese), the best way to learn writing hanzi is to connect all the important information.

 

- Character meaning(s)

- Character pronunciations (s)

- Stroke order

- Strokes (including obscure ones, Unicode standard list given here: http://www.unicode.org/versions/Unicode6.1.0/appF.pdf)

- Semantic radical meanings

- Phonetic radical pronunciations

- Structure (eg. left right, top, bottom, surround from upper left)

- Category (phonosemantic, pictorial representation etc.)

 

According to this wiki article, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_character_classification) there are 6 traditional categories of Chinese categories  It also states that modern scholarship disagrees with the traditional categories, critiquing them and proposing refined ones. However it doesn't specify what these new categories are.

 

The closest I have come to finding out is this research paper abstract. (http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-CZXB201106014.htm) Unfortuneately, it's locked unless I feed it Chinese money. It seems there is nothing in terms of English language results. The 3 major Western works on Chinese Paleography (Findable for free if you're interested http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199920082/obo-9780199920082-0043.xml) don't go into the newer three categories as their Eastern counterparts do. Could someone with better Chinese help out?

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OneEye

Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as there being three modern categories that everyone uses. Different people have different systems. Probably the most common is the one proposed by 裘錫圭 in 《文字學概要》 (available in English as Chinese Writing). His three categories are 表意 (semantographs), 假借 (loangraphs), and 形聲 (phonograms). He also talks about characters that don't fit neatly into this system.

 

However, I don't really see the point of knowing which category the character is classified under. I don't see any reason that it would be more helpful than simply knowing the role each component plays in the character you're learning (meaning or sound?). That's a more functional way of approaching it, without having to add another abstract category name on top of it.

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