A Note About Chinese Character Radicals

Chinese characters have a history going back at least 4000 years. They began as pictorial logographs and then evolved to include phonetic characteristics. Modern Chinese script is very complex, but reflects the result of thousands of years of evolution.

One aspect of modern Chinese is the use of (approximately) 214 "radicals". radicals are mostly very ancient logographs and are often used as root characters in modern Chinese words, supplemented by additional characters that are phonographic in nature.

These radicals contain the depth of the ancient Chinese pictographs and thus a visual consonance and resonance not available form western written alphabetic scripts.

Alphabetic scripts have many obvious advantages, but the visual nature of Chinese characters are different and can be used to add depth to alphabetic writings, and furthermore the same Chinese characters can be used unchanged with various different alphabetic scripts.

The minimal suggested usage of Chinese radicals hinted at in this book represent only one very simple such use, with the hope that much more meaningful ideas will be developed in the future.