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The Key to Chinese Civilization

The Key to Chinese Civilization
The Explication and Exploration of Chinese Characters

First Edition
  • Dekuan Huang - Professor, School of Humanities, Tsinghua University, Beijing

April 2019 | 428 pages | SAGE India

The Key to Chinese Civilization: The Explication and Exploration of Chinese Characters is a fascinating guide to the history of the Chinese civilization, which has been recorded not just by means of the Chinese characters but also in the characters themselves. It studies the long history of Chinese characters, the laws of their construction and development, and what their correct interpretation can mean for contemporary communication. The Chinese writing system, vastly different from phonetic alphabet systems and the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world, is dynamic and its evolution reveals much about the historical and sociocultural development of China. 

The book shows how the interpretation of the cultural connotation of Chinese characters is necessary, even crucial, though it is a daunting task. It proposes a scientific method for this kind of interpretation and gives elaborate examples. Authored by an expert in philology and palaeography, the book is written in simple language and will be of great help to Chinese language enthusiasts.


Part 1: Formation and Evolution
The Formation and Evolution of Chinese Characters
The Main Body of Chinese Characters: The Pictophonetic Structure
Part 2: Textual Analysis and Interpretation
Method and Practice: The Explication of Ancient Chinese Characters
The Cultural Interpretation of Chinese Characters
Part 3: Norm and Research
The Normalization of Chinese Characters and Philological Life
The Research of Chinese Characters: Past and Future
Key features

·         This is a book about the only classic word system in the world—Chinese characters and culture.

·         It also relates to contemporary Chinese language policy, Chinese character norms, Chinese characters education and research and other issues, which can provide a reference to the Chinese language research and learners.

·         The author proposes that the Chinese character construction method is a dynamic evolution system, and uses this theory as a guide to study the historical development of Chinese character configuration, which is a creative contribution to the theory of Chinese character structure.

·         The theory and practice on interpreting Chinese characters is very new and innovative, which is very fascinating to the cultural interpretation and research of Chinese characters.


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ISBN: 9789352806744