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Chinese Characters Decoded
Posted 11/03/2017 11:28AM

On October 31, following a solo performance by Keystone grade 6 pianist Song Yoyo Yuhan, Professor Zhang Yiqin met with the keystone community and shed light on the magnificence of the Chinese character writing system. He offered a glimpse into these logograms’ origins, meaning and evolution to the present day during this season’s second Education Salon.

Chinese characters constitute the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world. They convey linguistic meaning and are the manifestation of a rich cultural and historical legacy. Each character exists in relation to others and often they overlap forming a myriad of different connections between them as part of a complex web.

Using the examples of ‘Keystone’ or ‘Ding Shi’ and ‘respect for teachers’ or ‘Zun Shi’ in four Chinese characters, Professor Zhang dissected the pictorials’ origins and evolution and provided several insightful interpretations for each character and in combination with one another.  “For Keystone, or Ding Shi,” he offered, “the characters in combination refer to, among several possibilities, an institution that prepares its scholars to make meaningful contributions to their communities and country.”

Zhang Yiqin is the Director of the Department of Standard Chinese and Linguistics at the Ministry of Education Institute of Applied Linguistics, and Associate Professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Zhang graduated from Peking University’s Department of Linguistics and has spent the past 20 years researching the origins and development of Chinese characters and promoting traditional culture.

Keystone’s Education Salons provide a space to engage with the best minds in education, literature and the arts that share their views on traditional and modern aspects of education. Discussions between our prominent guests and the community spark creativity and lively conversation around each topic. Keystone uses these salons to highlight contemporary themes in education and other disciplines, and as opportunities to discuss, rethink, and revision current practices in education.

The Keystone Magazine

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