Talk:Chinese characters

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Question[edit]

When a Chinese Man hear a spoken Mandarin word that he don't know, he can write it by Pinyin writing. But when he see a written glyph word, then, in what reading can he say it?

הראש (talk) 22:51, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

You are more likely to get an answer to this at the reference desk: Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language. This page is meant for discussing change and improvements to the article Chinese characters, and your question is broader, relating the characters to how they are said and Romanized, so is outside the scope of this article anyway.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 23:53, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Han characters[edit]

I'm not sure why everyone is so insistent on removing reference to the alternative term "Han characters", except that it's being added by a newbie who is perhaps felt to need putting in his place a bit. Both Google Books and Google Scholar show it to be in common-ish use (though an order of magnitude less common than "Chinese characters"). It ought to be noted somehow. W. P. Uzer (talk) 18:07, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Not in the first sentence of the lead though; it is not a common alternate name, or even an uncommon one. I can see why it might be used in some contexts, in particular when considering their use in languages other than Chinese, or in all CJK languages, but even then they are generally just called Chinese characters, such as in the first sentences of Kanji and Hanja.— Preceding unsigned comment added by JohnBlackburne (talkcontribs) 18:34, 24 June 2015‎ (UTC)
Indeed. One could also supply examples of them being called "Chinese ideographs", "Han ideographs" or "Sinographs", but none of these names are common enough to justify cluttering the introductory sentence with them. Kanguole 19:19, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks to W. P. Uzer for opening the discussion.
First, the edit did not contain Chinese ideographs, Han ideographs or Sinographs. What do they have to do with the edit?
If you google these terms, the number of results differs greatly:
"Han character" : 175,000
"Chinese ideograph" : 6,890
"sinograph" : 7,510
"Han ideograph" : 656
If it is not a common alternative name, why would there be 175,000 search results? Why would it appear in the publication of World Health Organization? Note that it is not only used in articles on languages other than Chinese. (Btw, could JohnBlackburne provide evidence for the assertion "but even then they are generally just called Chinese characters"?) In the other two citations provided in the edit, "Han characters" is used in the context of the Chinese language.
Back to the examples "Chinese ideographs", "Han ideographs" or "Sinographs", I want to stress that the edit had nothing to do with characters vs. -graphs or other alternatives, which is very obvious. If we look at the redirects to this page:
Other than a few too specific terms like:
Polysyllabic character (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Semantic-phonetic compound (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Sinograph (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Sinography (redirect page) ‎ (links)
List of Frequently Used Characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Sawgun (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chữ Trung Quốc (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chu Trung Quoc (redirect page) ‎ (links)
the terms basically contain either 'Chinese':
Chinese letters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese ideography (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese script (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese system of writing (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Ancient Chinese characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Number of Chinese characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Number of characters in Chinese (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Number of characters in the Chinese language (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese symbol (redirect page) ‎ (links)
List of common Chinese characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Five Hundred Most Commonly Used Chinese Characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese Symbols (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese Character (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese Characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Origins of Chinese Characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Origins of Chinese characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Chinese character (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Polysyllabic Chinese character (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Polysyllabic Chinese morpheme (redirect page) ‎ (links)
or 'Han':
Han character (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han graphs (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han characters (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hànzì (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hán tu (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han Tu (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hán Tự (redirect page) ‎ (links)
汉字 (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hántự (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hanzi (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han-Tu (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han-tu (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hán-Tự (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hán-tự (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han ideographs (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han Character (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han script (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han tự (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Hani (script) (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han (script) (redirect page) ‎ (links)
Han-tzu (redirect page) ‎ (links)
WP:R#PLA: we should try to make sure "variants of the article title are mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs of the article or section to which the redirect goes. It will often be appropriate to bold the redirected term." Of course, we can't put all of them into the first couple of paragraphs only to show terms like script/symbol/ideograph/character/graph..., which are better explained by other articles. But the two main alternatives should be mentioned. When not in the first sentence, where should it be put? Lysimachi (talk) 23:02, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Here is an ngram comparing the frequency of the various terms in English-language books over the last century. It is clear that usage of the other terms is tiny compared with "Chinese characters". Kanguole 23:35, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Lysimachi (talk · contribs) doesn't seem to have much understanding of Google searches, as 175,000 hits is indeed a very small result, especially when compared to the 26.9 million hits for "Chinese characters" (over 150 times higher); Kanguole (talk · contribs)'s ngram shows this convincingly over a large period of time. The term "Han characters" is only used in English in its Japanese form kanji. To add "Han characters" to the lead (other than in the "l=" field of {{infobox Chinese}}) would be silly.  White Whirlwind  咨  00:30, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

According to the much understanding of Google searches and Wikipedia guidelines/policies, how many hits does a term need to have to be mentioned in the lead? It should be noted that, as you said, the Ngram corpus contains only books, a selection of books. Now "Han character" occurs only in the infobox as the "literal meaning" of 汉字. But it is not just some "literal meaning", it is a term. The question is: why should we prevent the readers from knowing this alternative name? After all, it is Wikipedia's policy/guideline (WP:AT, WP:R#PLA) that alternative names should be mentioned in the article, usually in the first sentence or paragraph. Based on the number of search results and redirected pages, Han (characters) is the most significant alternative name.

White Whirlwind: "The term "Han characters" is only used in English in its Japanese form kanji." Here are examples where "Han characters" are used in context not limited to Japanese:

"In multilingual systems designed only for languages sharing the roman alphabet, such names pose no problem as they can simply be included unaltered in output texts in any of the languages. They cannot, however, be included in a Chinese text, as the roman characters cannot standardly be realized in the Han character set."
"As mentioned above, most technical terms used in TRM come from ancient Chinese medical literature. Consequently, translation of these terms into any other language without Han characters is extremely challenging, as the original meanings of Han characters and the unique nuances of concepts in TRM must be incorporated."
"Various and independent phonetic transcriptions have been thus developed to be as the mapping mechanisms between Chinese mother tongue languages and Han characters."
" In this paper, the author makes a deep study on Kunlun site and the four rivers, which are recorded in 《Shan Hai Jing》 etc, by combining the physical geography of the Qinghai-xizang plateau, and also by comparing Tibetan words with Han characters according to etymology."
"Finally, the Group considered that using the Chinese phonetic alphabet (Pinyin) for the names of meridians and acupuncture points would facilitate pronunciation of the Han character names and enable an alphabetic index to be drawn up."
"We identify the problem of sharing Han character font across incompatible bitmap file formats and discuss the related issues. The ideal solution should meet the requirements including independence of character code schemes, such as GB2312-80, Big5, and Unicode, no conversion of existing bitmap font files, storage efficiency, flexibility, extensibility, platform independence, as well as simplicity."
"This suggests a new way of framing the linguistic analogy to proteins. Instead of viewing the letters in alphabetic strings as being analogous to the amino-acid residues in a protein chain, the new approach views the Han characters as being analogous to whole protein folds"
"Han characters and Han writing were first employed in the writing system of Vietnam when Vietnam was under China’s direct domination. Later on, a domestic script Chu Nom (字字喃), which has similar structure as Han characters, was documented in the tenth century."
"The illiteracy and semi-illiteracy rates used in this paper are from the 1990 census; see State Statistical Bureau, Population Census Office, Zhongguo disici renkou pucha de zhuyao shuju (Major Figures of the Fourth National Population Census of China) (Beijing: Zhongguo tongji chubanshe, 1993). For those aged 15 and above, the official definition of illiterate and semi-illiterate population includes peasants recognizing fewer than 1,500 Han characters, and workers in enterprises and administrative units, and urban residents recognizing fewer than 2,000 Han characters."

The term is not restricted to Japanese. It's used in texts in a variety of fields including linguistics, sociology, geography, informatics, medicine and biology. Lysimachi (talk) 14:30, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

@Lysimachi: If you're going to give quotes, please provide citations for them so other editors can consult and appraise them for themselves. In this case it's ultimately irrelevant, though.
Let me rephrase, since apparently my earlier post wasn't sufficiently clear. There is no "minimum number" of Google hits that a term needs to be included: those numbers are used in conjunction and comparison with the numbers of results of other terms to help get a sense of how commonly used a term is. A search for "Chinese characters" brings 26,900,000 hits, while "Han characters" produces only 175,000, which is lesser by a factor of over 150. This numerical assessment is used to augment the judgment of editors, such as myself and Kanguole (talk · contribs), who have knowledge and expertise in this field. It would be utterly ridiculous to add "Han characters" to the lead (as was previously being done: "Chinese characters or Han characters..."), as it would imply that the latter term is in some way as commonly used as the former, or that "Han characters" is anything other than an alternative term that is rarely, if ever, used in English. It would, however, be entirely appropriate to include "Han characters" along with the list of other alternative terms for "Chinese characters" at whatever later point in the body of the article that they are addressed. I hope this makes things more clear, feel free to post any continuing concerns you have.  White Whirlwind  咨  20:43, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I would suggest doing this: after the second sentence (which introduces the native-language terms for these characters) add a sentence "Other names used in English include..." and then list the top two or three alternative names (based on searches of books or scholarly articles rather than the whole Internet), with possibly a footnote listing more. After that we should start a new paragraph for the next sentence, which just says that they are "the oldest ... system in the world": this requires a little expansion, even in the lead (how old? where did they originate?) It seems to be normal for Wikipedia to get alternative names out of the way in the lead, even if they're relatively uncommon - often there's no natural place in the rest of the article for them, and we perhaps want to confirm to readers arriving via a redirect that the term they've found is indeed a synonym (not all redirects are). W. P. Uzer (talk) 06:55, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

The above quotes are all Google-searchable, including many taken from academic articles. As White Whirlwind said and to my knowledge, there is no Wikipedia guideline or policy that sets the minimum number of Google hits that a term needs to be included. There is also no policy that alternative terms for a page can't be listed in the first sentence of the lead if they differ 100-fold in the number of Google search results (e.g., Occitan: 26,700,000, lenga d'òc: 274,000). There are, however, Wikipedia policy/guideline (WP:AT, WP:R#PLA) that alternative names should be mentioned in bold in the lead. White Whirlwind thinks it's "utterly ridiculous" to say in the lead "Chinese characters or Han characters...", "as it would imply that the latter term is in some way as commonly used as the former." Could White Whirlwind provide references for the assertion that the conjunction 'or', in addition to combining two alternatives, also implies equal frequencies of occurrence for the alternatives? This doesn't seem to be mentioned in dictionaries, I'm rather curious whence White Whirlwind had this idea. Until evidence is shown that 'or' implies equal frequencies of occurrence, I would stick to the original edit, which simply states Han character is an alternative name. However, I also appreciate W. P. Uzer's suggestion and think it is a reasonable option. I'm not interested in adding other alternative names, which are not found in the original edit. But if someone wants to add other alternative names from the list of redirects (see above), there are in fact very few that can be added. Many of the redirects are variants with regard to capitalization, noun numbers and wording of "character". Most others are names in non-English languages or are not equivalents of 'Chinese characters' at all (e.g., 'Origins of ...', 'List of ...', 'Polysyllabic ...'). There are only two alternative names: Han characters and Sinograph. In addition to that "sinograph" only has 7,510 Google search results, it should be noted that the term (or its variant 'sinogram') is also used in medicine to refer to visual representation in CT scan, such as in this article or this book. Lysimachi (talk) 16:12, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

It's not a common alternative name. They are obviously called Chinese characters when e.g. talking about the writing system for Chinese. But it is also commonly used in other contexts, such as Kanji and Hanja. Your search results prove nothing. That a handful of people chose to call them something different, for whatever reason, is not relevant. It’s especially not useful to add as it’s just another way of saying the same thing – "Han" being another word for Chinese, the Chinese language (漢語), etc. – much like the more common but archaic "Chinese ideographs".--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 16:32, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
That it's another way of saying the same thing is surely an argument in favour of adding it? It's not as if it would be obvious (to anyone who didn't already know) that "Han" and "Chinese" are being used as synonyms here. W. P. Uzer (talk) 17:44, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, JohnBlackburne, Han character is another way of saying the same thing, it is an alternative name. It is Wikipedia's policy/guideline (WP:AT, WP:R#PLA) that alternative names, especially those that are redirects, should be mentioned in bold in the lead. Lysimachi (talk) 14:02, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
And as you listed above there are dozens of redirects to this article; so all should be mentioned in the first sentence? That would render it unreadable, just a long list of bolded terms. So no, names should not be added just as they are used for a redirect. Is it a common alternative name then? No, we have already established that it isn't, it is far less common than the rarely used and archaic "Chinese ideographs".--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 14:50, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Are you saying that you want to add all redirects as alternative names? Please go ahead. This is what I have said previously: I'm not interested in adding other alternative names, which are not found in the original edit. But if someone wants to add other alternative names from the list of redirects (see above), there are in fact very few that can be added. Many of the redirects are variants with regard to capitalization, noun numbers and wording of "character". Most others are names in non-English languages or are not equivalents of 'Chinese characters' at all (e.g., 'Origins of ...', 'List of ...', 'Polysyllabic ...'). There are only two alternative names: Han characters and Sinograph. In addition to that "sinograph" only has 7,510 Google search results, it should be noted that the term (or its variant 'sinogram') is also used in medicine to refer to visual representation in CT scan, such as in this article or this book. Lysimachi (talk) 19:49, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Although no references have been provided for the assertion that the conjunction 'or', in addition to combining two alternatives, implies equal frequencies of occurrence for the alternatives, I would follow W. P. Uzer's suggestion to reduce some editor's concern. That is, instead of writing "Chinese characters or Han characters" in the introductory sentence, the first paragraph would read: "Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and some other Asian languages. In Standard Chinese they are called hanzi (simplified Chinese: 汉字; traditional Chinese: 漢字).[2] They have been adapted to write a number of other languages including: Japanese, where they are known as kanji, Korean, where they are known as hanja, and Vietnamese in a system known as chữ Nôm. In English, they are also known as Han characters. Chinese characters constitute the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world.[3] By virtue of their widespread current use in East Asia, and historic use throughout the Sinosphere, Chinese characters are among the most widely adopted writing systems in the world." For those who want to add other redirects that are alternative English names of Chinese characters, that sentence could be later changed to "In English, they are also known as Han characters, XXXX and YYYY" or, as W. P. Uzer originally suggested, "Other names used in English include Han characters, XXXX and YYYY". If there are more than three, the rest could be listed in a footnote. Lysimachi (talk) 16:11, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

128 stroke character[edit]

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Han_character_8_Dragons.svg/240px-Han_character_8_Dragons.svg.png

TheGrassGuy (talk) 22:50, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
A better link to the file is commons:File:Han character 8 Dragons.svg. This character is not encoded in Unicode but you can use instead, or if you write simplified Chinese, if you write contemporary Japanese. Love —LiliCharlie (talk) 08:02, 10 July 2016 (UTC)