Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Marty Blake


Chinese, Chinese character

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Asian History | Chinese Studies | East Asian Languages and Societies | History | Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Chinese characters are very unique. As one of the most widely used scripts in the world, its complex forms and large volume of characters make it always daunting for beginners, which is related to the long history of Chinese characters. This paper is divided into five parts, based on a definition of the nature of ancient Chinese characters. In the first part, it is argued that Chinese characters are made up of smaller elements. A single Chinese character, as a morpheme, is the smallest ideographic unit of the Chinese language, but a single character may also be formed by combining smaller component affixes. The second part mainly introduces 11 basic patterns by which Chinese characters can be made up of single or multiple elements. The third part lists different types of the formation of Chinese characters. The fourth part introduces the variants of one character that exist in the same time period. Finally, the evolution of a Chinese character over time is discussed.


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