The simplest Chinese characters

By Fei Gao on Nov 07, 2023

Chinese characters are square characters, which are the unique recording symbols of the Chinese language. Chinese characters are one of the oldest writing systems in the world, with a history of over 6,000 years. They evolved from pictograms, which were originally represented in the form of pictures. As people continued to modify them, Chinese characters gradually changed from pictograms to strokes, from pictograms to symbols, and from complex to simple, reaching their simplest form today. Due to the long history of Chinese culture, neighboring countries such as Japan and Korea have been deeply influenced by Chinese culture, and they have continuously borrowed Chinese language and characters in literature.

The composition of Chinese characters is not always complex and diverse. There are four not-so-common Chinese characters with only one stroke. Let's take a look at what they are.

The first character is "丶", which is not only a Chinese character, but also one of the basic strokes of Chinese characters. Many friends often type this character as "dian" when they are typing online. Although it can also successfully type out this character, "丶" is pronounced as "zhǔ", which is the same as "zhǔ" and "zhǔ". It is not only a symbol used by ancient people to break words, but also a surname. The "Explanatory Notes on the Book of Writing" records: It is a symbol for something that is stopped. It is recognized by "丶".

"丨" is also a Chinese character, pronounced as "gǔn". "丨" looks like a symbol at first glance, but it is an ideogram. In addition, "丨'' is also a polyphone, pronounced as shù and gǔn. When pronounced as "shù", it means almost the same as "matchstick"; when pronounced as "yī", it is a surname; when it appears as "gǔn", it means that the upper and lower parts are connected, and the strokes are from top to bottom; on the contrary, it is from bottom to top. At this time, "丨" is pronounced as tuì, which is the same as "tui". Everyone must not make a mistake. The writing is different, the pronunciation is different, and the meaning is different.

The third one-stroke Chinese character is "亅". It looks like the uppercase letter "J" in English, but it is pronounced as "jué" and is a Chinese character. It is an ideogram. Do you think this character looks like the barb on a fish hook when you are fishing? Yes, this character represents the barb on a fish hook. In addition, it is also a Chinese stroke, namely the "hook stroke". There are descriptions of this character in "Guangyun" and "Shuowen Jiezi". You can take a look if you have time.

The last character is "乚". Although this character is also the stroke "vertical hook", when it appears as a Chinese character, it is pronounced as "háo". It is similar to the meaning of "millimeter", which is an ancient unit of length. "乚" means "ten silks" in the book "The Book of Dialects". It is also pronounced as "yǐ", which is similar to the character "乙". Therefore, these two characters were not distinguished in ancient times.

Chinese characters are really diverse. Not only is there no accurate number, but the total number has reached a terrifying 100,000. Although it is said that the characters were created by Cangjie, the earliest Chinese characters appeared in oracle bone inscriptions. After that, the number of characters in bronze inscriptions increased, but the overall shape did not change much. Therefore, it is impossible to recognize all Chinese characters. Friends who do not know them should not be discouraged. You should know that even the books we have are only explaining the Chinese characters that are known at present, not all of them. Maybe the Chinese characters in the future will be discovered by everyone. What do you think?

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