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TEMPORAL ORDER IN THE COMPOSITION OF ARCHAIC CHINESE IDEOGRAMS

YAU Shun-chiu
Journal of Chinese Linguistics
Vol. 11, No. 2 (JUNE 1983), pp. 187-213
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23754177
Page Count: 28
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TEMPORAL ORDER IN THE COMPOSITION OF ARCHAIC CHINESE IDEOGRAMS
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Abstract

In my previous studies I have contended that there is a universal natural order in the arrangement of linguistic elements in human communications systems, and that this order is governed by cognito-perceptive constraints proper to our species. My arguments are based on my observations in sign languages and oral languages (notably among children). This article is the report of an investigation into the temporal arrangement of the components of archaic Chinese ideograms between the 14th Century B.C. and the 2nd Century A.D., that is, from the oracle bone scripts (jiaguwen, hereafter abbreviated as JGW) to the seal characters (xiaozhuan). It will be shown that, despite the radical morphological modification that these ideograms underwent during this period, the temporal order in the components of both the oracle bone scripts and the seal characters remained subject to constraints of the kind observed in oral and sign languages. 近年来我在好几篇拙作中论证人类的语言讯息系统里存在着一个自然的,遍性的成分排列程序,而这个程序是决定于人类本身的感官认识制约。这个论据是基于我对手语和口语,特别是儿语的观察。本文是有关从公元前十四世纪(甲骨文)到公元二世纪初(小篆)的中国古文字结构时序研究的一个报告。从甲骨文到小篆,中国古文字形体虽然经历了一个重大的变化,可是这两种字体在结构时序上仍然受到上述那种制约的影响。

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