What is unique about the Chinese written language system compared with those of the West?Look at the oracle bone and Chinese writing example and then answer the questions on the discussion board....

What is unique about the Chinese written language system compared with those of the West?

Look at the oracle bone and Chinese writing example and then answer the questions on the discussion board.

An Inscribed Oracle Bone and Chinese Characters

(1600-1100 BCE)

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not a linguist or scholar of Chinese, but my understanding is that many Chinese characters are pictorial symbols of the words they represent.  Most alphabets, while they might have begun with pictorial symbols, are no longer that way, being representative of sounds, rather than words.

Another difference is that the Chinese system of characters is infinite, unlike most other alphabets.  Modern alphabets are confined to a definite number of characters and are fixed at that number.  The same is not true of Chinese.

I have provided a link to a site that has an interesting discussion of Chinese and its history.

lalala2998 | Student

Chinese characters are all symbol of what it represents. In the ancient time, if we want to write the word turtle we draw a turtle on the bones of a dead animal (甲骨文)but during the progress of the time and the world the words get simplyfied so right now their is chinese symplified (简体中文)and a bit more ancient but now used in some province in China we have traditionnal chinese(繁体中文). Normal chinese people doesn't learn chinese by characters because we can't list them all on a piece of paper. But we still have a sound system where we use letter and characters (汉语拼音)to be able to read the words out loud. And the little kids used this methode ti learn the easiest vocabulary and to be able to read them.