Evolution of Chinese characters
The images below illustrates how a number of Chinese characters have
changed over time from their earliest known pictographic forms, to the
versions used today.
The Large Seal and Small Seal scripts are still used to write names
on personal name chops, and are also occasionally used to write company
names on buildings, stationery, namecards, etc.
The Draft or cursive script (草書) is used mainly
for Chinese calligraphy. This script can be written very quickly and
uses a number of method to achieve this: omitting part of a character,
merging strokes together, replacing portions with abbreviated forms
(such as one stroke to replace four dots), or modifying stroke style.
The Simplified script (a.k.a. Simplified
Chinese), was officially adopted in the People's Republic of China in
1949 in an effort to eradicate illiteracy. It is also used in Singapore.
Small Seal Script (小篆)
Clerical Script (隸書)
Standard Script with zhùyīn fúhào (楷書)
Running script (行書)
Draft script (草書)
Simplified characters (简体字)
Hànyǔ pīnyīn (汉语拼音)
Rénrén shēng ér zìyóu, zài zūnyán hé quánlì shàng yīlǜ píngdĕng. Tāmen fùyŏu lĭxìng hé liángxīn, bìng yīng yĭ xīongdì guānxì de jīngshén hùxiāng duìdài.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with
reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
of names and phrases
Further information about the Chinese script
Books about Chinese characters and calligraphy
Mandarin, Shanghainese, Hokkien, Taiwanese and
language learning materials
Learn to speak Mandarin Chinese confidently and naturally with Rocket Chinese
Learn Chinese online with ChineseClass101
Omniglot Chinese - learn to read and write the hundred most commonly-used characters. Available for Android & iPhone
chinEASE is an eBook that helps language learners to successfully tackle the complexities of Chinese writing by showing them how to systematically break complicated characters down into simpler parts.