Chinese alphabet: is it real or not?

Chinese Alphabets
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Chinese alphabet: is it real or not?

Chinese alphabet

A common question that we, as language school, are asked is if Chinese language does have an alphabet. Many students want to learn Chinese alphabet but this is the hard truth… is impossible learn Chinese alphabet because it doesn’t exist!

Chinese is all about characters and we don’t put them together like we do with letters in our alphabets to make a word because these characters actually make up words themselves. Each character is one syllable. One character on its own can be a word, but many words are made up of two, three or even more characters put together.

Chinese Alphabets

There is no Chinese Alphabet – just thousands upon thousands of characters. Some of the characters look very similar with each other’s!

In the past, there were attempts to Romanize Chinese and subsequently replace all the Chinese characters with alphabets called Pinyin which is the phonetic transcription of the characters.

In the early 20th century, some Chinese intellectuals proclaimed that the Chinese characters should be simplified, if not completely Romanized, due to the sheer complexity of the Chinese writing system. The literacy rate among the Chinese was extremely low then, as most people were unable to read or write, and only the elite of society could do so. This greatly hampered China’s development, as many people felt that the Chinese people’s lack of education was largely culpable for China’s plight at that time.

chinese language

Why chinese should not be alphabetized? The chinese language itself has a large number of words with the same pronunciation but completely different meanings. they are called homophones (同音字 tóng yīn zì.) these homophones can be a source of ambiguity when they are written in pinyin.

So you don’t have to worry to learn Chinese alphabet, what you really need to worry about is to start study thousands of characters in order to learn the language!

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