A Description and Comment on William G. Boltz’s Study on the Origin and Early Development of the Chinese Writing System

  • Juyi Ren 任居易 北京师范大学文学院

Abstract

William G. Boltz has made a comparative analysis on the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, the Sumerian cuneiform script and the Chinese writing. Under the principle of “every Chinese character must have a phonetic component”, Boltz prefers characterizing-Chinese characters as “logograph” or “lexigraph” to “ideograph”. In Boltz’s opinion, a Chinese character is self-in- itiated script, rather than other-initiated. In the early development of the Chinese writing system, it is a sudden and instantaneous process when the “forerunners of writing” turns out to be “writing”. The Chinese writing system has three progression stages: the zodiographic stage, the graphic multivalence and the S/P determinatives stages. The Chinese script does not evolve into an alphabet, not only because of the Chinese language itself, but also Chinese people’s ideology. Besides, Boltz also has discussed some legends of the origin of the Chinese characters, the Liu shu and the Shuo wen chich tzu, and orthographic standardization.

Key words : William G. Boltz, Chinese writing system, Nature, Origin, Development

 

鲍则岳将汉字与圣书字、楔形文字进行对比研究,在坚持“每一个汉字都必须有表音构件”的大原则下,更倾向于将汉字定性为“表词文字”而不是“表意文字”。鲍则岳认为汉字是自源文字,汉字起源于图画,从“前文字”到“文字”的转变是一个突变的、瞬间完成的过程,汉字在进入“文字”阶段之后经历了从“图画文字阶段”到“字符多价阶段”再到“语音/语义限定成分阶段”三个发展阶段。但是,汉字最终没有走向拼音化的道路,这主要是受到汉语本身的制约,同时也受到中国人的思想观念的影响。在这一总体思路的阐述过程中,鲍则岳还谈到了汉字起源的相关传说、“六书”与《说文解字》、早期汉字的规范化与标准化等问题。

关键词:鲍则岳  汉字性质  汉字起源  汉字发展

Author Biography

Juyi Ren 任居易, 北京师范大学文学院

任居易(1989—), 男, 山东菏泽人, 北京师范大学文学院2017级博士研究生, 主要研究方向 是汉字学, 训诂学。

Published
2020-04-30