HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Chinese Characters by T.C. Lai
Loading...

Chinese Characters (1980)

by T.C. Lai

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
212,551,640 (2.5)None
Recently added byjoririchardson, boning

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

I have always loved the exotic, beautiful symbols that make up the written Chinese language, and I love the fact that all of them have their own story. It must make for a very rich, layered language. Though I cannot speak Chinese, I found this book in a used bookstore and bought it.

The layout of the book was a bit confusing. There is a modern Chinese character on the left of the page (about 2 or 3 per page), with a short explanation. That's clear enough. But then there are characters in red, which show what appear to be other earlier versions of the modern character, and its origins. At least that is what I assumed. However, some of these gave me the impression that perhaps the author was simply trying to make up possible interpretations. I wanted to know: are they real? Or just a visual aide?
I laughed a bit when the author says of one character "the modern word doesn't look like the original concept any more." Because really, almost none of them did, so I don't know why he felt he had to note this on that particular example.

Overall, this book was dry and did not make the topic very interesting to me. Besides the layout being confusing, it was also very drab. The text was in something like an italic Courier, a font I can't stand. To open the book and flip through it, no one would be impressed.

Once you begin reading it, the book isn't much better. The author doesn't give a story for any of the characters. It wouldn't have been hard to make things a bit more theatrical. And I'm sure that he could have chosen other characters that are more interesting, or that at least have more interesting histories.
I mean, one of his words was broom. His explanation of its origin? "Shape of a broom."
Other words sound intriguing, but he doesn't elaborate. The sign for "immortality" is a combination of person, mountain, and recluse put together. That sounds like a story to me.
The character for "demon," the author only vaguely explains as "a creature with a strange head - a demon." Oh, so that's how you recognize a demon.
For the word "swallow," (as in the bird), the author apparently could find no history to comment about, so he simply says weakly "What a life-like sketch of a swallow."

I found it amusing that the characters "person" and "others" linked together made the word for "kindness." The Chinese are such optimistic people. ( )
1 vote joririchardson | Oct 5, 2011 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
It was visual rather than aural experience that first inspired the creation of words in the Chinese language.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio

Popular covers

None

Rating

Average: (2.5)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5 1
3
3.5
4
4.5
5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,637,425 books! | Top bar: Always visible