A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme . This stands in contrast to phonograms, which represent phonemes or combinations of phonemes, and determinatives, which mark semantic categories.Logograms are often commonly known also as "ideograms"...
s derived from Han characters and used by the Zhuang people of Guangxi
Guangxi, formerly romanized Kwangsi, is a province of southern China along its border with Vietnam. In 1958, it became the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, a region with special privileges created specifically for the Zhuang people.Guangxi's location, in...
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...
to write the Zhuang languages. In Mandarin Chinese
Standard Chinese, or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....
, these are called Gǔ Zhuàngzì
or Fāngkuài Zhuàngzì
(Sawndip: ) is a Zhuang
The standard Zhuang language is the variety of Zhuang spoken in Wuming County in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, where it is an official language.-Classification:...
word that means "immature character". The Zhuang word for Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...
s used in the Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...
(Sawndip: 倱; lit. "original writing system") (saw
meaning character or book, and gun
meaning the Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...
ethnicity, cognate to 漢), whilst sawndip
refers to the characters used exclusively in the Zhuang language.
The age of the script is unclear. Several "vernacular characters" (Tǔsú zì
土俗字) from Guangxi are recorded in two Song dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...
books, Zhou Qufei's Lǐngwài dàidá
(嶺外代) and Fan Chengda
Fan Chengda , courtesy name Zhineng , was one of the best-known Chinese poets of the Song Dynasty , a government official, and an academic authority in geography , especially the southern provinces of China...
's Guìhǎi yúhéng zhì
(桂海虞衡志). Some trace them back to the Tang dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...
, citing a stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...
from 689 entitled Zhì chéng bēi
(智城碑), which, though written in Chinese, contains a number of non-standard characters. The fact that Zhuang readings of borrowed Chinese characters often match Early Middle Chinese also suggests an early date, but these could also be explained as later borrowings from conservative Pinghua varieties. In contrast, scholars studying the similar script used for the closely related Bouyei language
The Bouyei language , is a language spoken by the Bouyei ethnic group of southern Guizhou Province in mainland China...
' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. Its provincial capital city is Guiyang.- History :...
associate the origin of that script with the introduction of Chinese officials in the early Qing dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....
The script been used for centuries, mainly by Zhuang singers and shamans, to record poems, scriptures, folktales, myths, songs, play scripts, medical prescriptions, family genealogies and contracts. After the Chinese Revolution in 1949, even communist revolutionary propaganda was written using sawndip. Following the promotion of official romanized Zhuang scripts since 1957, literacy amongst Zhuang speakers has increased. However there are major phonetic and lexical differences between Zhuang dialects, and the Latin-based system is based on the Wuming dialect; as a result, there still are Zhuang speakers that prefer to write Zhuang using sawndip.
After five years in preparation, the Sawndip Sawdenj
(Sawndip Dictionary; , Dictionary of Ancient Zhuang Characters) was published in 1989 with over 10,000 characters, and is the first and only dictionary of Zhuang characters published to date. In 2008 it was announced that work was to begin on a new dictionary called "The Large Chinese Dictionary of Ancient Zhuang Characters", 《中华古壮字大字典》.
Sawndip is made up of a combination of Chinese characters, Chinese-like characters, and other symbols. The script has never been standardized; some morphosyllables have more than a dozen associated variant glyphs
Variant Chinese characters are Chinese characters that are homophones and synonyms. Almost all variants are allographs in most circumstances, such as casual handwriting...
According to Zhāng Yuánshēng (张元生), non-Chinese characters usually make up about 20% of Sawndip texts, although some texts may be composed almost entirely of Chinese characters.
Sawndip characters can be categorized using a more complex system than the six traditional classification principles:
- Symbols that do not resemble Chinese characters, and are borrowed from non-Chinese writing systems such as the Latin alphabet and (possibly) Burmese
- Non-standard Chinese-like characters created via Ideogrammatic compounds
- Non-standard Chinese-like characters created via Phono-semantic compounds
- Standard Chinese characters borrowed solely for their pronunciations, and do not share the same original meaning in Chinese (in accordance with the phonetic loan principle)
- Non-standard Chinese-like characters created specifically for Zhuang to indicate the meaning of certain morphosyllables (in accordance with Indicative ideograms)
- Standard Chinese characters representing loanwords or etymologically-related morphosyllables from Chinese
- Standard Chinese characters borrowed solely for their meanings and do not have a matching reading in Zhuang with Chinese
- Glyphs that are made of two Chinese characters combining to form one character, with each "spelling out" the pronunciation of the character, where one part may represent an initial consonant and the other the rime
A rime table or rhyme table is a syllable chart of the Chinese language, a significant advance on the fǎnqiè analysis used in earlier rime dictionaries...
Some of these logograms are used in the Chinese names for places in Guangxi, such as meaning mountain or ndoeng
meaning forest, and are therefore included in Chinese dictionaries, and hence also in Chinese character sets.
So far the only Zhuang square characters encoded in Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...
An ideogram or ideograph is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept. Some ideograms are comprehensible only by familiarity with prior convention; others convey their meaning through pictorial resemblance to a physical object, and thus may also be referred to as pictograms.Examples of...
s that are also present in non-Zhuang character sets, which means that thousands of common Zhuang characters have yet to be encoded.
From Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...
- Latin transcription (1982 orthography): "Boux boux ma daengz lajmbwn couh miz cwyouz, cinhyenz caeuq genzli bouxboux bingzdaengj. Gyoengq vunz miz lijsing caeuq liengzsim, wngdang daih gyoengq de lumj beixnuengx ityiengh."
- Latin transcription (1957 orthography): "Bouч bouч ma dəŋƨ laзƃɯn couƅ miƨ cɯyouƨ, cinƅyenƨ cəuƽ genƨli bouчbouч biŋƨdəŋз. Gyɵŋƽ vunƨ miƨ liзsiŋ cəuƽ lieŋƨsim, ɯŋdaŋ daiƅ gyɵngƽ de lumз beiчnueŋч ityieŋƅ."
- Liáng Tíngwàng 梁庭望 (ed.): Gǔ Zhuàngzì wénxiàn xuǎnzhù 古壮字文献选注 (Tiānjīn gǔjí chūbǎnshè 天津古籍出版社 1992).
- Lín Yì 林亦: Tán lìyòng gǔ Zhuàngzì yánjiū Guǎngxī Yuèyǔ fāngyán 谈利用古壮字研究广西粤语方言. In: Mínzú yǔwén 民族语文 2004.3:16–26.
- Gǔ Zhuàngzì zìdiǎn 古壮字字典 Sawndip Sawdenj (Nanning, Guǎngxī mínzú chūbǎnshè 广西民族出版社 1989). ISBN ISBN 7536306148 / 9787536306141. Dictionary of Old Zhuang characters; contains 4,900 entries and more than 10,000 characters.
- Holm, David (2008). "The Old Zhuang script", in Diller, Anthony (ed.) The Tai-Kadai languages, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-7007-1457-5, pp. 415–428.