Decompisition of Chinese Characters

We would like to trace the evolution of the components of any modern character back to its original logical components. We wish to creat a standard formal linguistic form for describing any character.


Every character has a standard name so it is referenced exactly the same nomatter where it is used. The character name should describe what the character means in general and what the original pictograph was and the basic pronunciation. The words are separated by “-“ so they appere to the computer to be one word.


金 = metal-bell-jin

This tells the basic meaning, the original pictograph, a bell which represents metal, and its basic pronunciation, “jin”.

土 = potters-clay-tu

A lump of clay on a potters wheel originally represented any dirt, earth, or land.


All character components are referenced by three parts. A character-standard-name, character(s), pinying pronunciation.


metal-bell-jin 钅釒金 jīn

In this example I have three characters 钅釒金 which I consider to be “exact equivalents”

#Compound and #Component

If in the modern character, you can draw a line between two or more logical parts it is called a compound. If the modern character can not be broken into two or more parts then it is a component. By components, I mean basic modern components, not primitive components.


Compound 菇

because it can be broken into 艹 and 姑

Component 先

I call this a component, because, without knowledge of its older forms, you can not draw a line between two or more logical components.

I have analyzed about 15,000 different characters and come up with about 900 modern basic modern components. Many of these modern components are actually compounds if you look at earlier versions.

Rennants #rem- and #rem+

A large percentage of modern characters have aparent components that are actually logically wrong representations of earlier logically corredt components. They are in fact mistakes. I refere to these as rem-.


Compound 肚

from (rem- 月 yuè) from

ribs-rou ⺼肉 ròu and

phonetic potters-clay-tu 土 tǔ.

Some remnants are not mistakin characters, but indicate some meaningful part of the original pictograph. I represent this with a rem+


Component 天

from person-stand-da 大 dà and

(rem+ 一 yī sky-above-man).

(name- sky-heaven-tian 天 tiān)

#phonetic and #related phonetic

Sometimes a character component acts as a phonetic.

Compound 肚

from (rem- 月 yuè) from

ribs-rou ⺼肉 ròu and

phonetic potters-clay-tu 土 tǔ.

Sometimes the phonetic may also be related in meaning.

Compound 葉

from grass-cao 艹艸 cǎo and

related phonetic leaf-ye 枼 yè.

etymogical equivalents #older

报報𡙈 are in fact evolved forms of a single character. I use the key word #older


Compound 報 older 𡙈

from (rem- 扌 shǒu) from

(rem- 幸 xìng) from

hand-cuffs-nie 㚔 niè and

to-regulate-fu 𠬝 fú

new-char 报.

logical equivalents #variant

Simplification #std-var #new-char #simp

Simplifying a traditional character may involve 4 steps 1) apply any vairint character rule. This may result in a standard variant that is



Compound 篾

from bamboo-zhu 𥫗竹 zhú and

reduced phonetic disdain-mie 蔑 miè.

Written on April 23, 2018