Chinese is probably the oldest written script found today.
Chinese script originally used pictographs, a picture for a word (called a character in English), many still
recognizable such as wood 木, tree 树 or forest 森林.
The Japanese copied Chinese writing using the same meaning pictographs (characters) but their own words hundreds
of years ago. Japanese has evolved but its origins are still clear.
Many words these days in Chinese are compound, using two or more characters such as computer (electric brain).
Pinyin is the modern Western script of Chinese but is not very phonetic to English and so Chinese is a
hard language to learn for English speakers. Pinyin is so simplified that a same spelled word has many meanings, although in
Chinese characters they would be all different.
Chinese children learn Pinyin so they can write at the beginning, before the thousands
of characters necessary in Chinese script as they are so difficult to memorize.
Pinyin is here to stay with modern computers as one can use a standard Western keyboard to write Pinyin and
multiple choices of Chinese characters are automatically displayed for a mouse click choice.
Mainland China has adopted a simplified script, less complex than
the still classical characters of offshore Chinese speakers such as Singapore or Taiwan.
Surprisingly many expressions in English are similar in Chinese, but given the separated cultural histories
some are almost untranslatable. Imagine China is not China in Chinese and Taoism means logic! What would
Feng Shui be?
Chinese script has great character. Hong Kong at night would not be the
same without it.
John and Zoe 12/5/2009