Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chinese Letters

Photo -gift of my friend Footiam

In a documentary about the first Chinese Emperor great part was dedicated to the art of Chinese calligraphy and a professor told that there are from 16 000 to 28 000 letters in it.

Because I know, that every letter, every symbol (I could not understand at the end, they call them letters or symbols) means an other word, I was very surprised.

First of all, we know that a 3-years old child knows about 3- 5000 words, an adult can arrive till 15 000 words, Shakespeare used 24 000 words in his works. Chinese alphabet uses 28 000 letters...

Now I understand why Chinese industry is growing with this speed. If you are able to remember 28 000 letters you have to be very-very-very clever.


  1. Wow! 28,000! It blows my mind :O)

  2. Now I think, maybe he told about all together types of caligraphical symbols of all types of caligraphy. It could be that translation was not very precise from Chinese to English and than other translation to Italian... Or maybe I listened not very good.

    In any case, I found in an article that most common to use are 3000 symbols. And in Japanese there are 16 000 symbols. So, more or less has to be right information.

  3. Chinese is a very difficult language but it is important to the Chinese because it unites the people - every one may speak in a different dialect but the script used is the same. I think that's very unlike Europe where the languages spoken and the script used are different.

  4. I thnk in every European country is more or less the same. I know Germans and Italians have many dialects and one do not understand other if they speak (Italians sure).

  5. I used to take chinese course (about 2 years). I only remember few words. But I never use chinese because no one at my home can speak chinese.

    If you want to learn chinese, you should be very very patient and don't give up easily.

  6. Sometimes we do things only to demonstrate to ourselves that I CAN. It's true spcially for languages.

    I live in Italy now and had not possibility to speaK russian for different years. Imagine, I had problems to speak than, when became this possibility.

    With lituanian was more interesting. I did not speak it about 30 years. Than, when I could read lituanian in internet, I remembered the words and can read now pratically without dictionary. My friends write me in lituanian now and I understand them without problems.


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