You might find it surprising that the most widely used written language in use today utilizes no alphabet. Made up of characters that evolved from pictographs rather than an alphabet, the written Chinese language poses some unique challenges for beginning learners.
Unlike the majority of the world’s written languages, Chinese cannot be read phonetically. Each character has a unique pronunciation and meaning. Though challenging, Chinese reading and writing can be learned and even mastered.
Chinese writing has ancient roots, dating back to thousands of years. The earliest evidence of Chinese writing consist of pictographic characters inscribed on cattle bones, tortoise shells, and bronze vessels.
Through thousands of years of continuous use, the characters have been formalized, stylized, or otherwise simplified, so what was once pure picture writing is now more representative.
Generally, ancient characters were curved and more flowing becoming more upright and straight over the centuries. http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/blog/?p=157 http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/blog/?p=157 http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/blog/?p=157Though not the same, it is interesting to note that the majority of modern Chinese script retains much of the original character of the ancient form.