Chinese, Japanese, and Korean

History origins of Chinese writing are now lost to us, but obviously this system of writing is of great antiquity. Beginning as pictographic, the signs became ideographic and quite complex, but very well suited to a largely monosyllabic language and actually served to unite a peopel speaking many different dialects, but using a common ideographic writing.

Japan adopted Chinese ideographs in the 6th century CE, but later added to them two systems of syllabic writing, Hiragana and Katakana (together: Kana), since Japanese, unlike Chinese, is polysyllabic and highly inflected. Japanese now uses a combination of charagers (Kanji) and Kana.

Korean, likewise, adopted Chinese characters and then added a syllabary to them; but now, unlike Japanese, uses the syllabary alone.

[click thumbnail for large view]

Japanese Gospels and Acts
Japanese Gospels and Acts;
Yokohama, British
and Foreign Bible Society,
1882 [60]

Chinese Bible
Chinese Bible;
Hong Kong, Bible Societies,
1964 [885]
Korean [in mixed script]
Korean [in mixed script]
New Testament; Yokohama,
Fukin Printing Co.,
1906 [58]
Korean [in Hankul]
Korean [in Hankul]
Bible; Seoul, Korean Bible Society,
1956 [108]

 

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