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In: Signs and Media
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In: Signs and Media

Abstract

This article aims to describe the synchronic system of Chinese characters by investigating its cognitive trait of signs. Unlike alphabetic writing systems in which letters represent sounds, Chinese characters convey their meaning in part through images, which makes its synchronic system unique and requires a reconfiguration of the Saussurean framework of signifier and signified. I argue that the Chinese system is instead comprised of three components: pattern, meaning, and formation. Through a close investigation of the historical development of the Chinese character system and drawing on Peirce’s classification of the sign, I propose a threefold adaptation of Saussure’s semiology to Chinese that challenges the arbitrary relationship between signifier and signified, reconfigures the signifier from sound-image to visual character pattern, and proposes a morphological view that takes account of aesthetic principles in the generation and function of meaning.

Open Access
In: Signs and Media
In: Signs and Media
In: Signs and Media
In: The Metaphysics of Chinese Moral Principles
In: The Metaphysics of Chinese Moral Principles
In: The Metaphysics of Chinese Moral Principles
In: The Metaphysics of Chinese Moral Principles