The Cultural Identity Within Asian Writing Systems Essay

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The Cultural Identity Within Asian Writing Systems

The style of Asian writing seems to be completely different from that of the western writing systems. For starters, many western languages are phonetic: words are spelled out with symbols that represent sounds. The way that a word looks has nothing to do with the meaning of the word. On the other hand, the most recognized form of Asian writing, Chinese characters, are completely pictographic. A single character is correlated to one sound or meaning. To convey more complicated meanings, pictographs are either combined into new pictographs, or multiple characters are simply used in succession. The meaning of words is depicted through pictographs, but for the most part, there is no
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The obvious reason for the divergence of these three languages seems to be completely out of necessity: no matter how similar the spoken languages are, the three languages still are in fact, three different languages belonging to three different countries that have spoken languages that have evolved three different ways. However, an underlying issue of national pride and identity may be partially responsible for the differences as well. Cultures often identify strongly with their languages, and the Japanese and Koreans may have been simply searching for a sense of cultural identity while the Chinese are proud of their writing system. Cultural identity may not be the primary reason that the languages have evolved differently, but it definitely is a factor.

The spoken language for each culture had also been in place long before any written language had been developed. To the outside listener, the three spoken languages may seem similar at first sight, but a speaker of one of the languages will agree that Chinese is completely different from Korean and Japanese. There is good reason for this too, as Chinese belongs to a family of languages known as the Sino-Tibetan family. Sino-Tibetan languages are all monosyllabic and tonal. This means that every spoken word only consists of a single syllable: more complex words are created by stringing together multiple words.
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