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date: 21 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The invention of the writing system in ancient China and the standardization of Chinese characters are essential to the transmission of the Chinese language and culture. Compared with Chinese characters, other types of scripts in China appear much later, and have less impact on the development of literacy in China. The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, the development and transmission of the Chinese characters, or hanzi, are introduced to show how they shape our understanding of literacy in the Chinese history. Second, Chinese characters, as a linguistic system, are studied for their historical value and unique cognitive principles.

Keywords: Chinese character, Chinese society, hanzi, literacy in China, linguistic system

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