Independent characters and combined characters
• Chinese characters can be divided into two categories:
independent characters and combined characters.
• Independent characters can subdivided into two kinds:
pictograms and Simple ideograms.
• Combined characters can be subdivided into two kinds:
Compound ideograms and pictophonetic characters.
• In fact, there are two other categories of Chinese
• They are small categories and less important.
Rebus characters - 假 借 (phonetic loan)
Derivative cognate - 转 注(reciprocal meaning)
• Pictograms (象 形 – form imitation) represent in
stylized form the things they refer to (such as animals,
a person, or objects, etc.)
• Only 5% (about 500) of all Chinese characters belong
to the pictographic kind - stylized drawings of the
objects they represent.
• They are of crucial importance to the mastery of the
structure of Chinese characters.
Changes of Pictograms Pronunciation Meaning
What’s the difference between the pictographic
characters and their modern version?
• -- The characters are no longer imitations of things
they refer to, but in square forms;
• -- The soft lines have been turned into solid strokes.