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date: 20 July 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The Chinese script is one of the major writing systems of the world and has over three thousand years of recorded history. Native accounts of its origin have been extremely influential and remain part of the general discourse, even though newly discovered archaeological materials in many cases challenge the traditional view. The earliest known examples of Chinese characters survive on oracle bones, and these are essentially ancestral to all modern forms of written Chinese, even though the script went through great changes during the following millennia. One of the most important such changes was the Qin-Han transition from the scripts of the Warring States period to that of the dynastic era. In the medieval period, the Chinese script was adopted for other languages in East and Central Asia, and in some cases was modified to create new Sinoform scripts (e.g., Khitan, Jurchen, and Tangut).

Keywords: Chinese writing, script, history of writing, orthography, literacy, ideograph

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