A SAGE Journal


On the cognitive strategy of ideographic writing: Taking the semanto-phonetic structure of Chu bamboo-strip scripts as an example

Kehe Zang臧克和

发布时间:2020-02-27    点击次数:

【摘要】Ideographic writings, such as Chinese characters, do not lay stress on the pronunciation of characters. However, the so-called function of indicating meaning has been reduced in the long history of evolution. A question then arises as to whether it is necessary to maintain such complex structures for modern writings. The main structural type of Chinese character system became the ‘semanto-phonetic structure’ long ago. Shuowen jiezi is the earliest extant compilation of Chinese characters, in which semanto-phonetic characters account for about 81% of the total characters. In fact, the Chu bamboo-strip scripts of the Warring States, which are much earlier than Shuowen jiezi of the Han Dynasty, had demonstrated such a tendency. Its primary reason is to differentiate new meanings from the extant meanings, and to create orthographs. The preference of semanto-phonetic structure in the development of Chinese writing is more convenient in terms of the cognitive classification of Chinese characters than in emphasizing the phonetic function of phonetics.

【关键词】Chu bamboo-strip scripts, semanto-phonetic structure, cognitive classification

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