0

I'm wondering which is a common name for logographic Chinese characters in English-speaking countries, especially among the people who have no background in Eastern Asian languages considering that:

  • The word "Hieroglyphs" appears to be more associated with ancient Egypt writings rather than with Chinese characters
  • "Hanzi" or "Kanji" looks a bit specific, so I'm wondering if most of non-CJK learners can understand that
  • The word "Logograms" is too generic and doesn't appears to be strongly associated with Chinese glyphs
1

Maybe Chinese characters or Chinese symbols.

Chinese characters are logograms primarily used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese.
Chinese characters Wikipedia article

Chinese character
n.
1. Any of the set of symbols used to write Chinese, each of which represents a single, usually monosyllabic word or morpheme.
American Heritage Dictionary

If I had to explain the concept to a child, I'd say "They're kind of like our alphabet", even though it's not an alphabet.

  • I would definitely go with Chinese Characters. When I was learning the tiny amount of Chinese I actually know my (British) teacher always referred to them as "characters" unless he was speaking Chinese. Knowing a little Chinese I can now usually distinguish Japanese and Korean from Chinese and would refer to the non-Chinese characters in those sets as "Japanese" or "Korean" characters even though I don't know either language. This is unlike Arabic, Urdu, Greek, Russan and Sanskrit which I would refer to as 'script', 'letters' or 'alphabet' since they are sound based like Latin letters. – BoldBen Mar 24 '18 at 15:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.