The Chinese characters constitute one of mankind’s oldest systems of writing,and have the most users in the world. There are numerous Chinese characters,totaling about 60,000, with about 6 000 basic ones.
Chinese characters have a long history. It derived from the pictorial recording of events,known as hieroglyph. The earliest Chinse characters discovered up to now are jiaguwen( ancient Chinese characters inscribed on tortoise shells or animal bones),dating back 3 400 years,which were already mature characters.
Chinese characters have undergone tremendous changed over the ages. From the earliest form of hieroglyph to the more advanced symbo character composed of strokes,it has experenced a process of jiaguwem,jinwen( ancient language used in inscriptions on ancient bronze objects), xiaozhuan(small seal characters),lishu(offical script),and kaishu(regular script)
There are manily four ways of creating a word as follows:
Hieroglyph refers to the method by drawing the profile of the involved subject, such as 月,which looks like a curve moon
Self-explanatory characters are made up by adding self-explanatory symbols on pictographs,or totally made up of symbols,such as 刃(blade),which is made up by adding a point on the cutting edge of a knife(刀),pointing out the position of the blade
Associative compounds are combination of two ore more symbos to represent a new character with a new meaning. For instance, the character 明(bright) I composed by 日（sun） and 月(moon). Definitely, it will be bright when the sun and the moon appear in the same place
Picophonetic method is a word-formation method combining onc element of a character indicating meaning and the other,pronunciation,into a new word. Form element indicates the word’s meaning and characteristic. Phonetic element indicated the pronunciation of the word. For expample, 湖(lake) is composed of three dots indicating water,and 胡 indicating the pronunciation.
For thousands of years, Chinese people had been writing in Complex Chinese Characters(Traditional Chinese). However, the Complex Chinese Characters are difficult to identifly, memorize and write due to their complicated strokes. From 1949, for the sake of the popularization of education, the Chinese government simplified the Chinese Characters on a large scale. There were more than 2 000 Complex Chinese Characters that were simplified to today’s appearance. Nowadays in the Simplified Chinese Character is one of the official characters used by the UN.